Songa Duo

Musical Roots

Mario Friedel

Mario was produced and published by Buzz Cason, Creative Workshop Studio, Nashville, TN and signed to Universal Records in 1971 as a member of White Duck, Jimmy Buffet’s first Coral Reefer Band, in the “way back days.”

In addition to Jimmy Buffet, Mario has shared the stage with John Hiatt, the Allman Brothers, Dr. John, Don Kloetzke, Nashville songwriters Keith Duke, Phillip Russell, Wisconsin blues great, Howard “Guitar” Luedtke, and award-winning Wisconsin jazz artists Janet Planet and Tom Washatka.

Sherry is a performer, vocal music educator, church music director, and co-producer of children’s recordings Cancionetas and Wisconsin Integrated Student Creations, Volumes 1 and 2. Mario and Sherry’s cd The Gift is a collection of original Christian songs released in 2004.

Sherry Friedel


Mario and Sherry have been fortunate to play and record with a number of talented musicians. The pictures here are a sample of the various bands, combos, and recordings that took place in the 2000s. Musicians include Richard Mekdeci, Dan Baker, Luke Rekve, Jeff Lemiesz, Tony Hernandez, Dennis Thompson, Vincent Friedel, Brad Stoughton, Jonny Boom, and Howard “Guitar” Luedkte, Jim Schuh, Ken Rogers, and the Billy Shears Band. 

Mario was honored in 2006 with a Distinguished Administrator award from the Wisconsin School Music Association. He served as an administrator on the Board of Directors for Wisconsin School Music Association as well as serving a term as a Trustee on the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music. Mario served as a judge for the Chippewa Valley Launchpad Garage Band competition.


Mario produced “Living in the Rain” CD and cassette tape recording of original music. Living in the Rain featured the vocals of Don Kloetzke and Janet Planet along with musical arrangements by Mario, Tom Washatka, and Tom Theabo.

Sherry produced a cassette recording “Tis Love That’s Born Tonight” with a group called “Serenity” which consisted of 3 alums of Ripon College. “Tis Love That’s Born Tonight” was a Christmas album performed in the classical genre by the vocal trio.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Sherry was active as a church organist/pianist, choir director, and private music teacher. Mario and Sherry produced WISC 1, a supplemental children’s curriculum teaching Wisconsin history through music, art, and social studies in 1992. WISC 2 was written and recorded in Nashville and produced in 1996 with more songs and a workbook related to Wisconsin history. This curriculum was purchased by over 1,500 public school classrooms in the state of Wisconsin.

This recording featured a new song written by Sherry, “New Promise in Me,” recorded with students at the Ladysmith School District, and was performed in conjunction with Elizabeth Burmeister, the State Superintendent at the time. Her initiative “New Promise Schools” was the inspiration for the song. Four of these songs were included on the State Superintendent’s web page for the remainder of her term.

Mario and Sherry lived in Nashville from 1994-1998, where their son, Vincent, was born. During this time, they were inspired to write many of the songs that they perform today. Mario and Keith Duke (our co-writer and singer/songwriter in Nashville) had a duo that wrote and performed original music in and around Nashville. They moved to Ladysmith in the summer of 1998.


In the 1970s and into the 80s, Mario performed, produced, and recorded original music with Fox Valley bands: Bumpin’ Lucky (Rob Griffith, Glenn Peterson, and Dan “Lumpy” Ewald), Fond du Lac Band (Paul Tabet, Glenn Peterson, Dan “Lumpy” Ewald and Linda Sams), Gangbusters (with Marc Maga and Linda Sams), Janet Planet and the Valley Boys, Billy Shears, and Milwaukee-based band “The Heaters.” Mario toured the country with Fond du Lac band. Both Mario and Sherry were members of The Heaters band along with Dan “Lumpy” Ewald, Tim Taylor, Gerry Cain, and Jim “Kono” Dowidat..

Mario went to college and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree and began teaching elementary and middle school. 


Mario played in the first Coral Reefer Band with Jimmy Buffet. Mario performed and recorded with John Hiatt, Don Kloetzke, Doug Yankus and others in a group called White Duck, which appeared with such acts as Neil Diamond, the Allman Brothers, and Dr. John. White Duck toured the country in the early 1970s.

White Duck had a major recording contract with Universal Records and recorded with Nashville producer Buzz Cason.

Exit Inn
Tribute to John Hiatt

1950s and 60s

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