WMUK Culture

Culture and Happenings from the WMUK Listening area!

Carrie Phillips

Farmers Alley Theatre will present its season with the streaming platform Broadway On Demand to stay connected to theater-lovers in west Michigan during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, deputy director Rob Weiner and artistic director Jeremy Koch offer a behind-the-scenes perspective on how they regrouped after the pandemic began, and they preview this month's event, The Conviction of Lady Lorraine, a one-woman show by Dwandra Nickole Lampkin about a writer who encounters a homeless woman. It has been transformed into a tele-play for its debut on Oct 29. Ticket-holders can stream the play at any time for a 7-day period once it's released.


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.


Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

Q: How do you honor a 100-year-old beloved institution during a global pandemic? A: With creative planning, and lots of it. Executive director Jessica Mallow Gulley, musical director Julian Kuerti, and the staff of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra have been working non-stop to navigate the possibilities and the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear how the season will begin, and how it may transform into live concerts, in our interview with Gulley and Kuerti. 


Quartet Salonniêres

Cullen O'Neil has come a long way from her days as a cellist in the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony. An outstanding talent at that time, she continued her studies at the University of Michigan, then in Finland, then at the Juillard School in New York City, where she formed a string quartet with Majka Demcak, Aniela Eddy, and Natalie Kress. Committed to historic performance practice, they traded their metal strings for gut and named themselves Quartet Salonnières, a reference to the historic women of society who brought great musicians to their salon gatherings.


WMU Theatre

In a near-miraculous resurrection, a production of Steven Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George will be staged from Sep 18 - Oct 4, with three of the four leads maintaining their roles. 

Western Michigan University Theatre Department students Marcus Jackson and Aaron Czarnecki, double-cast in the title role of George, and Miranda Vandenberg as Dot, were closing in on opening night last April when the show was cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. This month, as seniors, they're able to pick up where they left off. Ally Taylor, who had another role originally, is newly double-cast as Dot. Jackson, Czarnecki, Vandenberg and Taylor, joined by director Jay Berkow, professor of music theatre performance, join Cara Lieurance to talk about their second chance to perform a classic work.

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