kalamazoo valley museum

C. Lieurance

A new composition that lasts as long as the drive to Lake Michigan from Kalamazoo. A nature walk with musicians along the trail.  16 new music pieces inspired by art works to be exhibited at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. An installation of sculptures that activate sounds, at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. These are some of the creative ways the Connecting Chords Music Festival is moving forward in an era of COVID-19 cancellations. Cara Lieurance spoke with executive director Elizabeth Start about the events.

20 musical acts, nine workshops, and 25 vendors will fill the halls and stages of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Kalamazoo Valley Community College's downtown campus this Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7 for the 15th annual Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival. Museum director Bill McElhone and festival curator Bryan Heany share the details with Cara Lieurance, highlighting the solo and group acts, pop-up concerts, beginner and intermediate workshops, and kid-friendly fun that makes this free festival draw over 4,000 people each year. 

Courtesy of Jim Lommasson

An exhibit coming to Kalamazoo features photos of the items refugees brought to the United States. Photographer Jim Lommasson says it’s also a story about what people left behind.

1944 Photo by Margaret Hart

In 2013, the book Kalamazoo Galsby professor and music journalist John Thomas, became a hit across the globe. The work told the unique story of women stepping into the Gibson Guitar plant during World War II and building instruments themselves. There were a lot of fascinating details -- of hardship, social justice and industrial cover-up. Now, three years later, some of the Kalamazoo Gals mysteries still remain -- and some are only getting stranger.


The U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state laws banning “miscegenation” or bi-racial marriage in 1967. Michigan rescinded its own law that banned mixed-race marriage in 1883. The Kalamazoo Valley Museum will present Bi-racial Marriages: Narratives from Kalamazoo Sunday afternoon at 1:30.