This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield Hall 218
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
Michael Andrew Mechelke
To Receive Alumni Award
phone (715) 836-4741
fax (715) 836-2900

MAILED: Sept. 22, 1999

EAU CLAIRE — Michael Andrew Mechelke, more commonly known in the swing music world as Michael Andrew — the leader-singer-songwriter of the swing band Swingerhead — will be the recipient of the Outstanding Recent Alumni award given out by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association Oct. 2.
"Michael is an extremely talented musician," said Suzie Slota, director of Alumni Relations. "The committee (that selected Andrew) was impressed with the level of success he's had in this highly competitive music industry."
The award recognizes graduates within 15 years of their commencement from UW-Eau Claire and acknowledges special achievements and great promise.
A reception and dinner honoring Andrew will be held Saturday, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. in the Dulany Inn, Davies Center. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased from the Alumni Association, (715) 836-3266.
Andrew graduated from the university in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in theater. Upon graduation Andrew developed an act for Carnival Cruise Lines and became one of the company's top entertainers. He is considered a world-class entertainer on cruises for Holland America, Crystal and American Hawaii.
In 1990, he formed the Michael Andrew Orchestras with the goal of providing timeless music in the style of the big bands of the '40s. He was a headliner at Merv Griffin's Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. He even has been a featured guest artist with the Florida Symphony Orchestra.
In 1992, the world-famous Rainbow Room in New York City invited Andrew to become their headlining singer and bandleader. Audiences and critics raved about his "hi-fi, sci-fi" musical comedy, "Mickey Swingerhead and The Earthgirls," which was produced in Orlando, Fla.
In light of pop culture's rising interest in the "cocktail culture" and "lounge lifestyle," Andrew and his various musical projects are getting exposed to more diverse audiences and dance floors.
Andrew and his band Swingerhead produced a new CD, "She Could Be a Spy." It is a collection of original tunes written by Andrew himself.
Andrew will be on campus the week before homecoming. While he is here he will be in the classroom working as a clinician with the Jazz Ensemble I and Vocal Jazz Ensemble classes.
"It's exciting to see Michael's enthusiasm about coming back to UW-Eau Claire and his willingness to get in the classroom to work with students," Slota said.
Dan Newman, associate professor of music and theatre arts, who teaches the vocal jazz class, said Andrew was just beginning his performing career in clubs around Eau Claire when he joined the faculty.
"He came to me for voice lessons and advice about musical arrangements and keys," Newman said. "At that time I was very impressed with his musical abilities and thought that he had a chance to make a name for himself on the music scene."
Newman has listened to Andrew's tape and was impressed.
"His theater and music background have provided him with the necessary skills for success," Newman said. "His creativity and drive are good examples for everyone of what it takes to make it.'

UWEC [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 218
(715) 836-4741

Updated: Sept. 22, 1999