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July 27 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm CDT
Brent Bel is an entertainer, singer, and actor.
He grew-up in the country, outside a 500-person village in southeastern Wisconsin.
Growing up as an athlete, Brent was always active. From baseball in the summer, to football in the fall, to basketball and wrestling during winter, his dedicated parents were always shuffling the four kids to and from activities, sometime simultaneously and in different cities.
It was during this time that music took hold in Brent’s life. Although he sang in church and listened to/sang along with whatever his parents played on the stereo, his first public performance was singing “The National Anthem” with his two little brothers for a community baseball game. Shortly before that event, Brent began piano lessons at age 6 at the insistence of his mother. In fifth grade, he picked up a saxophone and developed a talent that lead to him neglecting the piano. By seventh grade, Brent auditioned and was selected for the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, a collection of some of the finest youth musicians in southeast Wisconsin and directed by a professor who Brent would eventually re-meet in college.
High school in a “big school” of 650 students for Brent meant a sport in every season: football in fall, wrestling in winter, track in spring, and baseball in summer. During this grueling practice schedule the “chubby kid” began to look like an athlete instead of the family garbage disposal. From one after-school activity to the next, often not returning home until after 10pm, Brent was still a dedicated student and excelled in the classroom.
High school also became a highly musical time for Brent. He won numerous music competition awards and was in the marching, pep, jazz, and concert bands and even made time for the spring musical (before/after/during track practice). Brent had his first career acting credit as “Henri”, the French butler, in “South Pacific” as a sophomore. During all of this time, his love for music, especially country music, continued growing, and he sang whenever a spare breath allowed.
Upon graduation, Brent attended The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to study architecture, baseball, and music. Academic scholarships helped him focus more on school than work, but Brent was informed by one of his professors that the architecture program was one of the country’s elite and that he would have to choose between it and baseball. Refusing to accept those words, Brent managed to successfully walk-on to the university’s baseball team in his second year and help the Panthers reach the NCAA Tournament while maintaining the grades necessary to be selected for the university’s honors program. He even managed to begin working with the university and city’s chapters of Habitat for Humanity during this time. After five years, Brent graduated from the honors program and with a degree in architecture and a certificate in urban planning.
Music became somewhat of a backseat driver during Brent’s college career. It was never the top priority, but it was never far from in-control. In order to manage two demanding full-time jobs (architecture and college baseball), music had to fill-in the gaps whenever scheduling allowed. Whether it was one of the collegiate bands, the gospel choir, an acting course, or a spare dance class, an artistically expressive outlet usually kept him sane. It was during these years when Brent began taking guitar lessons and managed to pad his acting resumé with lead credits in “Oklahoma!” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Even the long bus trips to and from baseball games were creative times; Brent would sing during the day (at times, for the team) and write song lyrics at night.
It was those baseball bus trips and a subsequent end-of-college summer study abroad that ignited Brent’s travel passion. He returned from Europe and realized that a job in architecture wouldn’t allow the freedom to audition and travel as frequently as he wanted. He soon began bartending at an upscale hotel in downtown Milwaukee and auditioning for shows. After nine months, he landed a role that took him away from behind the bar, and he’s been making a living in music and acting ever since.
Today, Brent travels from gig to gig depending on the contract and lives/works all over the world…and loves every bit of it.