Local Music

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

Carrie Phillips

"Oh, helloooo, Dolly, well hellooo, Dolly, It's so nice to have you back where you belong..."  The song itself may never leave our mental playlist, but the show it originated from sometimes does, for years and even decades. The Kalamazoo Civic Theater will mount the Jerry Herman classic for the first time since the 1970s, in a fresh production that opens Friday, Sep 21. Three stars of the cast - Lori Moore as Dolly Gallagher Levi, Hal Hobson as Horace Vandergelder, and Ken Holda as Cornelius Hackl - plus director Tony Humrichouser and Civic marketing director Janet Gover join Cara Lieurance in the studio for a refresher on this classic.


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The "Rob Clearfield sound" is hard to pin down. A natural improviser, he's able to create music with ideas like, "I think I'll start in D major." At the piano in WMUK's Takeda Studio, he tells Keith Hall about his musical development, which began at home with his mother, a classically-trained pianist/church organist. Another step forward came when she brought home a battered guitar, inspiring him to get the hang of popular music styles, which he then transferred back to the keyboard. Jazz became his dominant pursuit when his teacher randomly grabbed an album to play at the end of class. It was Wayne Shorter's "Witch Hunt," from Speak No Evil.

In the studio with Keith Hall, Clearfield begins with a piece he makes up on the spot. Then, he and Hall talk about his process of writing and improvising, centered around his newest collection of tunes, newly recorded on the album Wherever You're Starting From.


For the opening concert of the 98th season of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, new music director Julian Kuerti will conduct two perrenial French favorites: the Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz, and the Piano Concerto in G by Maurice Ravel, which will feature soloist Di Wu. Wu and concertmaster Jun-Ching Lin have an animated discussion about their experiences as musicians, their affinity for Ravel, and how performing on stage can give life meaning.


Last March, Western Michigan University's acclaimed vocal jazz ensemble Gold Company won its division at the prestigious Next Generation Jazz Festival. Later this month, they'll jet back to California be featured at the 61st annual Monterey Jazz Festival, a world-famous gathering of over 500 jazz artists. Closer to home, in Grand Rapids, MI on Thursday, Sep 20 at 7:30 pm, Gold Company will perform on the Great American Voices series presented by historic Park Church, one of the oldest churches in the city of Grand Rapids.

Greg Jasperse, director of Gold Company, and Patrick Colye, music director at Park Church, joined Cara Lieurance to preview the concert and sing the praises of the always-polished ensemble.


spamalotontour.com

Writer and theater critic Gordon Bolar (and a former general manager of WMUK) finds much to be hopeful and excited about in the rich world of West Michigan live theater. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance about the 2018-19 season, Bolar says we live an unusually supportive theater community that offers opportunities to participate at all age levels. Here are the productions he picked as his most-anticipated shows of the fall.


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