Loving the life onstage

This Belgium native belts out songs at some 50 rock concerts a year. That’s in addition to being a social worker and mother of three.
Ozaukee Press staff

That girl who was always singing around her house in Belgium or along with whatever was blasting in her car has realized her lifelong dream.

Melissa Prom-Majewski wanted to perform onstage for years, and she got her wish in a big way.

She is the lead singer of Star Six Nine, the band that won the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Cover Artist of the Year in 2019 and entertains its legion of fans with a jam-packed schedule of concerts.

The band has played at Summerfest, Wisconsin State Fair and a host of festivals across the state.

“We play almost every weekend. We’re probably off four to six weekends a year,” Prom-Majewski said, adding that sometimes they play during the week and once performed at a total of more than 70 shows in a single year.

That’s just fine with Prom-Majewski, who makes the schedule of late nights and early mornings work with her husband Troy, three stepchildren, two Corgis and three cats.

She grew up singing in church and playing lead parts in Disney musicals at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Lake Church, where teacher Irene Skarban helped her build confidence.

Prom-Majewski came to the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District in seventh grade with plans to join the school band and play drums like her father, but the percussion section was full. She settled on clarinet.

She comes from a musical family. Her two brothers played trumpet and tuba, her sister played trumpet and her mother played accordion on radio polka shows.

Prom-Majewski sang the national anthem at sporting events throughout high school, but took a break from performing after graduating in 1998.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in human services and a master’s degree in social work. She returned to the music scene when she turned 21 and was old enough to get into the beer tent at area festivals.

“You’ve got all the different firemen’s picnics every weekend and you get great bands playing and I saw them all the time,” she said. “I just love live music.”

Before long, Prom-Majewski got the urge to get up on stage herself.

Despite growing up singing, getting on stage to belt out tunes didn’t come easily for her.

“You’d have to pull me out of the back. I was so nervous I could just puke. I’d try to hide behind that microphone stand,” she said.

But with time and “just doing it every weekend,” Prom-Majewski became more comfortable.

She performed with multiple bands before Star Six Nine was formed in 2008. She got to know drummer Chad Weston Gardner when they both worked at Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services in Oshkosh, and he came up with the band name that refers to the buttons to hit on a phone to call someone back. Today’s generation, Prom-Majewski said, wouldn’t understand it.

“They don’t know life before caller ID,” she said. “They don’t even call people any more.”

But Star Six Nine gets plenty of calls to play its 1980s, 1990s and current pop, rock and country songs. Among Prom-Majewski’s favorites are the Journey tunes “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Separate Ways” and “Any Way You Want It.”

She is the lead vocalist and only female in the seven-member group. She has forged relationships with female members of other bands.

“It’s nice to have these girls to lean on and have a support. It takes a lot to stand in front of that many people and do your thing. You judge yourself from all different angles,” she said.

“But it’s so rewarding, and I’m so thankful for the relationships that I’ve made and the experiences that I’ve been able to have because of the band.”

Prom-Majewski is touched when she inspires future female leads.

“There’s something powerful when you have little kids, especially little girls, come up to you and just watch you when you sing, and the awe in their face and they want to meet you and they give you a little wave and a little smile and they give you a little hug. It’s so endearing because I was that person who wanted to be up on stage,” she said. “It’s very humbling, and you feel like you’re a rock star then.”

Plenty of support comes from her own band members, who she said are like family. They’re so close that before getting married, she told her would-be husband Troy he had to meet the band.

“If they didn’t like him, it wasn’t going to work,” Prom-Majewski said.

Star Six Nine even performed at their wedding, and Troy had a surprise for his bride.

“I was like, What are you doing? Get off stage,” Prom-Majewski said. “He put the bass guitar on and started playing. He practiced after work and hid the bass from me somehow.”

Troy played “What’s Going On” by 4 Non Blondes.

The couple met after Troy saw Prom-Majewski at a show. He became her biggest fan.

Her family and friends have traveled to see Star Six Nine play, and Prom-Majewski said, she was thrilled to play at her hometown for Luxembourg Fest last weekend. She lives in De Pere and works as a hospice social worker ­— the last 18 months were heart-wrenching due to the pandemic, and the band’s schedule slowed as well — and tries to come home twice a month to see her parents.

Regardless of location or venue, Prom-Majewski gets a rush from being on stage. After a four-hour show with a couple of breaks mixed in, she is exhausted but happy.

“You have a feeling of yeah, look what I did,” she said. “It’s a proud moment. You’re getting to do something you love that’s a passion for you. And here people are coming to watch you. It’s just crazy I get to do this.”

Prom-Majewski said she is not ready to stop.

“It’s been a whirlwind, roller coaster of so much fun and excitement, and I’m not ready to get off yet,” she said.

For more information, visit star69online.com.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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