The South Campus site on Monday. The university cut down about 60 trees there over Thanksgiving break, according to the Facilities department (Photo by WMUK/Sehvilla Mann)
Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Enrollment has fallen at public universities across Michigan, for the seventh year in a row. Mattawan is considering starting school early in the next academic year. Gretchen Whitmer will attend the Detroit Auto Show. WMU is still considering applying for “Tree Campus USA” status. The family of a Michigan man held in a Russian prison plans to meet with officials from other countries this week. The K-Wings get their first win in six games. 

Kalamazoo School District Superintendent Michael Rice - Official photo, courtesy of Kalamazoo Public Schools
Courtesy Photo / Kalamazoo Public Schools

Kalamazoo Schools Superintendent Michael Rice says he thinks a different school calendar with a shorter summer break is likely the way of the future. Two schools in the Kalamazoo district started this academic year in July as part of an improvement plan required by the state to stay open.

The Sunflower, Wichita State University, 2016

Soprano Renee Macdonald, a rising star who recently earned her master's degree from Wichita State University, will present a concert of American songs with pianist Gunta Laukmane and saxophonist Jarad Selner in a free concert, Sunday at 2:30 pm at First Congregational Church. At WMUK, Macdonald described how she was given early encouragement by her teachers, including Marie Kerstetter (Loy Norrix High School) and Fred Sang (Kalamazoo Children's Chorus) She says her undergraduate years at Western Michigan University were transformative, as she worked to bring her powerful voice under control. Last year, she entered the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and came in first in her district. Now, as an adjunct voice professor at Wichita State, she helps young voice students master their instruments with a variety of techniques she learned along the way.

WestSouthwest logo

Kalamazoo Schools Superintendent Michael Rice says the Kalamazoo Promise helped boost enrollment. But he says other programs have helped drive up the graduation rate. Rice says the increase in graduation has outpaced the rate of growth in enrollment. 

Two Kalamazoo schools started their academic year in July. Rice says he believes a different school calendar is likely the way of the future. He says both schools have the same number of days and hours of instruction, but don’t have the long summer break in the traditional school calendar. But Rice says any large scale change is still many years away.

Emil Matveev

Pianist Nikita Mndoyants, the winner of the 2016 Cleveland International Piano Competition, is the next artist to perform on the Gilmore Keyboard Festival's Rising Stars Series, Sunday at 4 pm in the Wellspring Theater of the Epic Center, Kalamazoo. Born and trained in Russia, he talks to Cara Lieurance about how his teachers, including his father, Alexander Mndoyants, placed the highest emphasis on beautiful sound and touch at the keyboard. Mndoyants will perform three sonatas by Germanic composers Haydn, Beethoven, and Brahms, which he says almost amounts to the story of the progression of the sonata form. 

Mndoyants will also perform one of his own solo pieces, Intermezzo. He tries to write pieces that remain interesting to work on --  if he is bored, then others will be too, Mndoyants says. A number of his chamber works, as well as a violin concerto, have been premiered at international festivals and concerts in the last few years.