Local Music

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

Maundy Mitchell

Velvet Brown, a top concert tubist and educator in the US., could easily make her recitals "by-the-book" affairs for tuba and piano. But for years, Brown has crafted her concerts to open up in several ways. On Wednesday, Oct 9, she will bring her project MOJATUBA to the Dalton Center Recital Hall for a concert at 7:30 pm. 

Professional dancer Briana Bunkley will dance to Brown's playing on several pieces, from the mournful spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," to the ecstatic "Mambo-Cha" by Alice Gomez. Percussionist Jimmy Finnie will add color to the program, as will pianist Anthony Leach and audio-visual artist Daniel Burdick. Brown will also celebrate Black American music in her program. These pieces include her transcription of William Grant Still's Suite for Violin and Piano, Roger Kellaway's Dr. Martin Luther King, In Memoriam, and "Take My Mother Home,a song written for soprano Kathleen Battle by jazz/classical composer/conductor Andre Previn.

Mike Marchak says he thinks the essence of film boils down to the relationships on screen, regardless of the language, culture, or geographical location of the story. As president of the Kalamazoo Film Society, Marchak's main task has been to help select which films to bring to west Michigan each month. His tenure will be ending in December, and Dhera Strauss, a documentary filmmaker and professor emerita of Kalamazoo College, will become the Society's president. For her, the essence of film is story.

To illustrate, Strauss and Marchak talk about the four films presented by the KFS in October. They are the documentary For Sama, featuring the personal footage of a Syrian filmaker as she grappled with documenting war in Aleppo and her own pregnancy; the Milwaukee-set comedy of misfits Give Me Liberty, helmed by a self-referencing Russian-American director; the comedy Tel Aviv on Fire, a cross-border story of an Israeli man who finds himself working on the set of a Palestinian soap opera; and Monos (opens Oct 18), a thriller in which a child guerilla group armed with maching guns abducts an American tourist.

The Kalamazoo Film Society and Crossroads Cinema Celebration in Portage partner to present at least one showing a day. For tickets and more information, visit the Kalamazoo Film Society website or the theater's website.

WMU School of Music

Two weeks before school starts in the fall, Western Michigan University music students start marching band practice for the football season. When classes begin, it's also time to work on concert repertoire for the University Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, and Concert Bands. The three directors - Dr. Scott Boerma, (Wind Symphony); Dr. Mary Land (Concert Band) and Dr. Trey Harris (Symphonic Band & Bronco Marching Band) - joined Cara Lieurance to let listeners know about two upcoming concerts and their repertoire. 

First up is the Wind Symphony on Sunday, Oct 13 at 3 pm, then the Concert and University bands will hold a joint concert on Monday, Oct 14 at 7:30 pm. Both concerts are free, and will be held in Miller Auditorium. 


Nathan Le is the silver medal winner of the 2019 Stulberg International String Competition. Le and conductor Bruce Uchimura joined Cara Lieurance to preview the free season-opening concert at Miller Auditorium on Sunday, Oct 6 at 3 pm. Le will perform the Symphonia Concertante for Cello and Orchestra by Sergei Prokofiev, with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5  and Festive Overture rounding out the program. 


Kathy Nichols, president of the Great Lakes Acoustic Music Association (GLAMA), and folk artist Joel Mabus join Cara Lieurance to preview GLAMAVERSARY, which will be held at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Texas Township campus on Saturday, Oct 5. 

Nichols explains some of GLAMA's grassroots origins, and previews the nine workshops offered on Saturday beginning at 12 pm. Mabus introduces renowned acoustic artists Pat Donohue and Robin & Linda Williams, who will wrap up the day's festivities with a concert at 7 pm in Dale B. Lake Auditorium.