MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS)-- Most musicians in Milwaukee refer to Denny Rauen as “the Doctor," because he’s the one who takes care of their babies.
In musician terms-- that means their instruments.
“These instruments are important to them as anything, and I get it because that’s how I feel about mine,” Rauen says.
Building and restoring guitars is just one of the many talents of Rauen who owns Rauen Guitars on Milwaukee's east side. He started his own business almost 40 years ago. Before that, he ran Dean Guitars and SD Curlee, two of the biggest guitar manufacturers in Chicago.
“Taking the pieces of wood, carving them, stretching them, making them sing. It’s exciting,” he says.
Although it’s been nearly 50 years since Rauen first started in the guitar business, he still gets excited and loves being part of the process He will be the first to tell you he is the man behind the scenes however, he’s also an accomplished musician who creates original melodies.
For the past 30 years, minus a few, Rauen joins thousands of Wisconsinites center stage at Lake Michigan for the Annual New Years Polar Plunge.
Why would a man with so much excitement in his life choose to jump in an ice-cold and sometimes ice-covered lake?
“It all comes together, it's that feeling of the world around you. I like being outside. I like to actually do things. When you do the Polar Plunge, it's not on a screen or the internet. Believe me, when you jump into that lake you just did something and you know it,” Rauen says.
The Polar Plunge makes his year.
“It’s better than my birthday. It's that ability to dive in the water and go wow-- we made it another year."