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‘Artists are 1st to step up:’ Local musician makes a difference with Givesong

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Keith Pulvermacher

NEW BERLIN -- A local program combining music and giving back is gaining a lot of momentum and the attention of music fans spanning all genres.

Keith Pulvermacher can pick any guitar off of any shelf and make it sound like they've been making music together for years.

The son of a musician, he never really wanted to do anything else and knew he could change the world by song.

"Really, it's just up to us to do everything we can to make this a better place to live," said Pulvermacher.

A long-time member of the popular band, "The LoveMonkeys," Pulvermacher released a couple of albums on his own.

The latest, '45 Story,' looks not only where he is as he approaches mid-life, but what more he has to give.

"My two passions are giving back and making sure I'm doing everything I can with my ability and making music," said Pulvermacher. "I think this is a good idea and it's the perfect marriage for me personally."

The 'it' is a music platform called Givesong and it's very much what the name implies.

It's a fundraising platform that allows artists to make money through their music as well as supporting a charity.

The artist donates a song to a charity of their choosing and gives them a song to sell. It literally costs the charity nothing.

"The artist puts it out to their audience, it's all donation-based," said Pulvermacher. "They can give a $1, $10, $20."

Money donated is split three ways: A third goes to the artist, a third goes to the charity, and a third comes back to Givesong.

Sarah Bartosz, Gold in September

Sarah Bartosz knows how hard charities compete for donation dollars, so she very much welcomes the song Pulvermacher is donating to her charity, a non-profit born of personal tragedy.

"Jack was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when he was five and passed away just before his 11th birthday," said Bartosz. "He battled for six years and 11 months."

Her son, Jack, passed away in 2012.

Heartbroken, Jack's twin sister, Annie -- just 11 at the time -- started Gold in September or G9.

You may remember Annie from the ads with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

G9 has helped fund important clinical trials.

"Treatment that we helped to fund received breakthrough therapy designation by the FDA and that`s a wonderful achievement," said Bartosz. "Children are served, children are getting treatment and that makes my heart so happy."

A platform that celebrates an artist while donating to a cause is an idea Bartosz is an idea she fully supports.

Wise Jennings plays in their Lake Geneva studio

In their studio in Lake Geneva, the band Wise Jennings plays the song they've donated to Just Live, a charity that supports mental health and suicide prevention.

The song is about Melissa Weishaar's brother, Mike.

Melissa Weishaar, Wise Jennings

"Suicide prevention and awareness are very important to us," said Weishaar.  "I lost my brothers ten years ago to suicide."

"To have Just Live out there actually showing people what to do, how to talk to somebody who`s feeling suicidal, it's a great organization and a great resource," said Jeff Weishaar, Melissa's husband.

The song, Jumpin' River, is about happier times growing up in northern Wisconsin, where her brother was also her best friend.

"It only seemed right that we'd choose that particular song because I wanted it to be something would connect to that charity as well," said Melissa Weishaar.

At the same time Pulvermacher was coming up with a way to help kids with cancer, that dreaded disease hit way too close to home.

His father, a man Pulvermacher called his rock, passed away from colon cancer.

A few months later, doctors found a malignant tumor on Pulvermacher's spine.

Sad irony or a scary coincidence? Neither, he said.

"Or is it a gift?" said Pulvermacher. "Is there something I'm supposed to do with it and use it to do more work for others?"

His diagnosis only amplifies his desire to help others and perhaps, with a bit more urgency.

In this story

"I mean, there are kids coming out of the womb swinging harder than I've had to swing with this and they're just trying to get to five," said Pulvermacher.

He knows many more musicians are coming on board.

Pulvermacher says artists are the first ones to step up.

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