Local Music

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

Sud Web, via Flickr. All creative commons license.

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival - a 73 year-old music organization that presents a series of (mostly) classical concerts each spring - and Open Doors Kalamazoo - a 49 year-old aid organization that helps move people out of homelessness - are collaborating for the first time to bring musical experiences to new audiences. Stephanie Hoffman, executive director of Open Doors, and Cori Somers, executive director of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, say they found common ground over a shared love of music and belief in every person's need for beauty in their lives. 

In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Somers talks about the variety of upcoming concerts the Kalamazoo Bach Festival will present between April 26 - May 6. In particular, the May 3rd "Breaking Barriers With Bach" and the May 4th "Visions and Miracles" events will include cross-collaboration with Open Doors. Hoffman describes her experience starting out as a social worker with Open Doors 16 years ago. She learned to go beyond the negative circumstances and labels attached to her clients and ask a simple question that cut through to their real selves: "Who are you?"  Food and shelter are basic needs, she says, but access to art also addresses a deep desire everyone shares.


The Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus, Kalamazoo Children's Chorus, three opera soloists and the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra will unite to perform the improbably popular Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff, on Sunday, April 28 at 4 pm in Chenery Auditorium. This 1937 cantata survived an early association with Nazi Germany to become a universal celebration of spring, life, love, and the inexorable turning of the wheel of fate, expressed in poetry by anonymous monks-in-training in the 12th and early 13th centuries.

Who was Carl Orff? Andrew Koehler, who prepared the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony and will conduct the performance, explains the way the composer's different interests coalesced into his biggest success. Kalamazoo Bach Festival artistic director Chris Ludwa explains the parts played by the soloists and chorus, and Darlene Sang says the children in the Treble Choir have worked hard on the different languages and will be amazed when the final rehearsals bring together over 125 people to perform the piece.


Thad Stalmack II, artist

The five members of the neo-fusion band Lushh, formed in 2015 by a group of advanced and adventurous jazz students, have been spending a lot of time outside the familiar hallways of Western Michigan University's School of Music. They've been gaining real-world experience in venues from Chicago, to Detroit, and beyond, playing for new audiences, forging new connections, and now, going on tour with a new full-length album. It will be available on Wednesday, April 24 in a performance at the Kalamazoo State Theatre. Lushh will open for Boney James at 7:30 pm. 

In the studio with Cara Lieurance, the members of Lushh - saxophonist Eddie Codrington, guitarist Andrew Saliba, keyboardist Grayson Nye, bassist Matthew Epperson, and drummer Madison George - talk about their commitment to their sound and the strategies that have helped them follow their path.  


Hans van der Woerd

Fontana will present a concert of Brahms, Mozart, and Dohnanyi by Camerata RCO on Thursday, April 18 at 7:30 pm in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at WMU. Cara Lieurance talks with violinist Annebeth Webb, who tells the story of how the group was started . It began not as a calculated offshoot of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, but rather at the invitation of hosts who housed members of the orchestra on summer vacation in Italy.

Webb explains that although playing in the RCO is a full-time job, the musicians still love to branch out with chamber music when they can. She helped organize Camerata RCO based on the interest and availability of her fellow RCO players. In her experience, the orchestra taught her how to interpret the musical languages of many composers - Brahms for example - through their symphonic works, which ends up adding a lot to how she interprets their chamber music.


Elvert Jones, via Flickr, all creative commons

Austin McWilliams, a candidate for a masters degree in choral conducting from Western Michigan University, has turned his master's recital into a musical event with a message: HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. Along with Dave Watt of CARES - Community AIDS Resource and Education Service - McWilliams discusses how he put the program together to highlight different aspects of the HIV story, with John Corigliano's Of Rage And Remembrance serving as the centerpiece. During the program, speakers from CARES will share information and poetry between musical selections. Panels from the AIDS Quilt will be on display at the concert, which begins at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, April 17 in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University.


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