The Music by the Lake festival appeals to music-lovers of all ages, weaving together engaging events and breathtaking natural beauty, offering an unparalleled outdoor summer experience. The open-air setting of the Ferro Pavilion, which expands to pristine lawn picnic areas, takes patrons on a journey of sight and sound on Wisconsin’s Geneva Lake. Summer concerts offered on the campus of George Williams College of Aurora University (GWC) feature big band, family programming, classical, musical theatre and contemporary entertainment. Music by the Lake is part of GWC’s ongoing commitment to year-round cultural presentations, connecting campus and community.


To present and create excellent musical programs for the enrichment, education and entertainment of our friends neighbors and visitors in the Geneva Lake community.

As a program offered by George Williams College of Aurora University, Music by the Lake embodies the following values:

  • A belief in the transformative potential of the arts to elevate the human spirit and to change individuals and societies for the better
  • A commitment to enhancing the cultural and intellectual life of the Geneva Lake community
  • A dedication to providing varied, accessible and affordable musical experiences to participants of all ages and traditions


The 2008 season brought an exciting new chapter in the history of the campus and Music by the Lake. Thanks to the generous support of leadership donors, $1.5 million was raised for a new home for Music by the Lake at George Williams College of Aurora University.

Because of this initial success, patrons and artists now enjoy the intimate open-air performance space. The Ferro Pavilion recognizes the $500,000 leadership gift to the project from the Ferro Family Foundation, established by lake residents Michael and Jacky Ferro of Chicago.

The design, in the same footprint as the previous Allyn Pavilion, celebrates the beautiful surroundings of the campus and Geneva Lake while increasing the number of seats under cover. The seasonal venue is a tensile structure inspired by the famous Benedict Music Tent at the Aspen Music Festival.

The pavilion provides:
  • Improved experience for patrons and artists
  • Increased seating capacity in the pavilion
  • Improved site lines for audiences
  • A permanent stage with enhanced acoustical and technical capability
  • Expanded terrace seating around the perimeter of the pavilion


George Williams College was founded in 1884 by YMCA leaders who sought to educate students for lives of service, with a focus on body, mind and spirit. Today, GWC operates as a campus of Aurora University, offering undergraduate and graduate programs. GWC’s degree programs are fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission through Aurora University.