Local Music

Hear interviews with guests on music programs produced here at WMUK, as well as program news.

Laura Sky Brown

Max Brown, who grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, called Kalamazoo home until recently: he studied jazz at Western Michigan University from 2011-16. One night after a jazz jam at the Union Cabaret and Grille in downtown Kalamazoo, he was approached by Michael and Tanya Trotter, whose band, The War and Treaty, was earning a big reputation with their electrifying, soulful songs. They invited Max to Nashville to audition for their upcoming tour. Upon arrival, he finished the guitar audition, then auditioned on bass as well, when the invited player failed to appear. Max Brown became the War and Treaty's guitarist and bassist.

The last few months have been a whirlwind of festivals and tour dates around the country. Recently the War and Treaty toured with the Indigo Girls, and tomorrow at 6 pm on public radio stations around the country, the War and Treaty will be featured guests of Live From Here with Chris Thile.  The show airs on WMUK at 6 pm EST, on 102.1 FM and www.wmuk.org. Cara Lieurance spoke with Max Brown about his recent experiences.

Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Kalamazoo Concert Band opens its new season on Saturday with a 100th anniversary tribute to the great American conductor, composer, educator and performer Leonard Bernstein. Director Tom Evans and Cara Lieurance take a look at the program and the man who inspired it. 

Some of the music, like selections from West Side Story, will be very familiar, but there will be plenty of new material for the average listener, including the rarely-heard Dance Suite for Brass, which was his final composition. The Western Brass Quintet will also appear with the KCB in a suite from Bernstein's Mass.

Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Actor Rob Johansen and Kalamazoo Bach Festival artistic director Chris Ludwa each weigh in separately on "The Cole Porter Radio Hour," an afternoon of music and story focusing on the life and wittily sublime songs of the great American songwriter. It will be held on Sunday, Oct 28 at 4 pm at Kalamazoo College.


Billy Hart always wants to learn more about music, even though he's been performing professionally since the 1950s, beginning with R&B acts like Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, while being mentored by jazz leaders Shirley Horn and Buck Hill. Originally from Washington, DC, Hart moved to New York in 1968 and became a fixture in a scene that included McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul. Hart has performed as a sideman and a leader on over 600 albums, and continues to record, with his own quartet and with big band projects. 

Hart talks about some of his experiences and lessons learned over the years, as he previews his performance on Western Michigan University's Jazz Masters Series with fellow musicians Keith Hall (professor of jazz drums) and Tom Knific (professor of bass).

PhotoBobil, via Flickr. All creative commons license

Ron Nelson's celebration of the Colorado landscape, Aspen Jubilee, Holst's First Suite in E-flat for Military Band, plus works by up-and-coming Michigan composers Andrew David Perkins and Paul Dooley are on the program for Sunday at 3 pm in Miller Auditorium, when the newly-named University Wind Symphony (formerly “Symphonic Band”) performs its first concert of the season.  Dr. Scott Boerma, director of bands at Western, tells Cara Lieurance about the newly formed ensemble as they preview the music.