By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Ten years ago Brian Sauer started the Vox Concert Series as a way to bring accomplished musicians to an area of the country that they might otherwise neglect.
When Vox was just getting started, Sauer had no idea what it would become. Prior to launching Vox, Sauer lived in
Milwaukee with no intention of coming to Marshfield. Life has a way of laughing at best laid plans.
“When I started doing this there were so many people that told me, ‘That’ll never work,’” Sauer said.
But it has worked. Instead of only local residents attending like in Vox’s early days, now people from California, Tennessee, Washington, North and South Dakota, and all over the Midwest have purchased tickets to a show.
The concert series has evolved to the point that it consistently brings in musicians that are known on a national level.
Gina Venier will perform in Marshfield in April, and she can currently be seen auditioning on Fox’s “American Idol.” Nicholas David, who was a finalist on season three of NBC’s “The Voice,” performed for Vox in November of 2014 and will be back again this year. Gabe Dixon, performing for Vox at the end of this month, has played with major acts like O.A.R. and Paul McCartney.
Sauer used a baseball analogy to describe the musicians Vox is able to bring to Marshfield.
“The level of musicians that we’re at right now, we’re kind of in the minor league baseball realm of musicians. They could be called up to those major labels at any time,” Sauer said. “They’re developing their base, and they’re just honing their skill sets still.”
Vox has experienced considerable growth in 10 years, and Sauer looks for ways to give back to the community that has supported that progression.
Vox will work with a number of area organizations this year, including Shirley’s House of Hope, the local Kiwanis Club, and Marshfield High School’s music program. Sauer aligns a concert date with these organizations and then donates a portion of the ticket sales from that evening to them.
In conjunction with Marshfield’s Rotary Club, Vox collects non-perishable food items at summer concerts staged at Columbia Park and donates them to local food pantries.
“It’s important to for me to try to be involved with organizations and try to give back to the community,” Sauer said. “That’s a phase of what we want to do.”
Sauer’s mission with Vox is not only to bring high-level entertainment to Marshfield but also to help those in need and create a positive economic impact for the community. He estimates that in 2014, 150 nights in local hotel rooms were purchased by those traveling to Marshfield too see a Vox concert.
Sauer said that if Vox does eventually acquire a full-time venue, he would like it to be in downtown Marshfield so that its concerts help create more foot traffic for neighboring businesses.
“There are some cool opportunities here if we execute this right,” Sauer said.
For more information on The Vox Concert Series, visit voxconcertseries.com.