By Colleen Jurkiewicz Reporter Published Aug 28, 2013 at 12:41 PM

BMO Harris Bank will bring some Christmas cheer to Milwaukee audiences this December. The bank announced today that it will sponsor the Milwaukee Ballet Company’s annual production of "The Nutcracker."

The announcement was made at noon in Red Arrow Park, with students from the Milwaukee Ballet School in attendance wearing costumes from "The Nutcracker."

Kara Kaiser, regional president at BMO Harris Bank, said that this sponsorship will ensure that "this important holiday tradition for many Milwaukee families will continue on," calling the production "the premier family-friendly holiday tradition in Milwaukee."

Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director Michael Pink told that BMO Harris’ support, "is the difference between us being able to maintain the performances in terms of the price of tickets."

He said that ticket revenue covers at 50 percent of the expense of staging "The Nutcracker" but that for the rest, the company must rely on philanthropic giving and corporate sponsorship.

"Our main objective, as a family production, we've got to make sure it still fits within people’s wallets. Because it is our single largest production and we perform 16 performances over two and a half weeks, so the overheads are astronomical," he said.

"We hope many other organizations will follow in BMO Harris’ example and come and join us, because we don’t just have to have one sponsor for one performance. We need as many people as we can to help us reach larger numbers of people."

"The Nutcracker" has been performed at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts for over 35 years. It was previously sponsored by MillerCoors, which announced last month that it would withdraw financial support. It runs Dec. 14-27. For more information, visit

Colleen Jurkiewicz Reporter

Colleen Jurkiewicz is a Milwaukee native with a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and she loves having a job where she learns something new about the Cream City every day. Her previous incarnations have included stints as a waitress, a barista, a writing tutor, a medical transcriptionist, a freelance journalist, and now this lovely gig at the best online magazine in Milwaukee.