MusicConnect is a community building initiative started by cellist, Peter J Thomas and drummer, Steve Vorass. MusiConnect strives to bring people together during the Covid-19 pandemic by creating a safe performance space in different communities around the greater Milwaukee area. MusiConnect performs free concerts on the driveways of volunteers’ houses that feature a diversity of artists and music genres. By building community, MusiConnect can help bring peace and cameradarie to a world that is so divided due to social injustice. Simply, music heals, connects us, and is one of the greatest gifts of humanity.
Peter J Thomas has been a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra since 2008 and has performed around the world as a multi-genre soloist, clinician, educator, and chamber musician. Peter frequently performs with the 414 Quartet, Frankly Music, Present Music, and the Carthage Trio. Peter was also the electric cellist of the award winning classical cross-over indie-rock band, I’m Not A Pilot, that toured extensively across the Midwest at colleges, performing art centers, music festivals and in educational collaboration concerts with high school orchestras from 2009-2016. Mr. Thomas has presented clinics and workshops across the country through his innovative use of the electric cello and has recorded, arranged, and edited music for numerous artists including 2Cellos and The Piano Guys through Hal Leonard Music. He was the winner of the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI)’s String Player of the Year award in 2012 and 2015 and has been nominated for the award five times. As a songwriter, Peter’s original song Only in Dreams featuring vocalist Amanda Huff took home the 2019 WAMI award for Song of the Year as well as being recognized in the same category by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As an educator, Mr. Thomas holds the position of Adjunct Cello Professor at Carthage College and he also maintains a private cello studio of gifted musicians. During the summer, Peter teaches on faculty at CLAZZ, a multi-genre music festival in Arcidosso, Italy. He has also served on the faculty of the American Suzuki Institute each summer since 2013. Peter is the recipient of Civic Music Milwaukee’s 2018 Educator Award for Certificate of Excellence in Studio Music.
Drummer, Steve Vorass saved up three years of his weekly allowance to buy his first drum kit at the age of 9. As a self-taught drummer, it was Steve’s love of visiting the local music stores with his mom that built the foundation for his lifelong passion of music. Watching and listening to other drummers of all genres inspired Steve to start his own band at the age of 15 in his hometown of Beloit, Wisconsin. Steve has extensively toured North America as a member in over a dozen bands most notably including I’m Not A Pilot, OAMI, Trapper Schoepp and the Shades, Rocket Cat, Mixtape, The Zach Pietrini Band, and Brett Newski. As a stage performer and session drummer in recording studios, Steve always strives to “play what’s right for each song” with precision, accuracy, and dynamic control. He practices daily to develop his style and versatility as a musician. Currently residing in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Steve plays regularly at local venues and festivals and picks up a variety of gigs along the way. He works independently as a web developer and graphic designer and offers custom drum tracks to producers and musicians around the world from the comfort of his basement studio. When not playing music or sitting in front of a computer at work, you will find Steve making a strong cup of coffee, hitting the gym, or most likely spending time with his wife and two children.