WMUK Culture

Rufus Ferguson

Juneteenth is the June 19, 1865 date on which people in slavery in Texas were informed they had been granted freedom by the Emancipation Proclamation, two years after it was issued.  Jazz musician Rufus Ferguson, with saxophonist Seth Ebersole and bassist John Hébert, will present a Juneteenth concert at 6:30 pm on Friday, June 19, streaming live on The Gilmore Keyboard Festival's website, Youtube channel, and Facebook page, in partnership with Public Media Network.  The three will highlight the music of Black jazz musicians and composers.


Courtesy of The Stulberg Competition

189 musicians from around the world applied to the Stulberg International String Competition by the deadline in February. Then the new executive director, Megan Yankee,  had to think fast when the coronavirus pandemic hit. This Saturday, May 16, the semifinalists won’t be waiting in the wings of the Dalton Center Recital Hall to hear the winners announced. They’ll be at home, watching online like everyone else. In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Yankee explained that she consulted with the Stulberg board, the adjudicators, and the semifinalists to see if they would agree to putting the competition online. 

The 12 semi-finalists will be judged on videos they already submitted when they applied for the competition. Each will also create a video of music by Bach. The videos will stream online beginning at noon Saturday, and the final results should be announced sometime after 3:30 pm. 

Gilmore Keyboard Festival

Today would have been the official start of the 2020 Gilmore Keyboard Festival, a three-week celebration of keyboard artistry and one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the US. Early in the Covid-19 crisis, executive director Pierre van der Westhuizen saw that the festival was in jeopardy. Some international artists, who make up a large part of the festival schedule, could no longer travel. On March 13th, he announced the cancellation of the festival.

Image: Janet Gover; finished by Tamara Diamond

With a cast of 32 on-stage performers and two dozen in the support crew, the Kalamazoo Civic's Youth Theatre production of Frozen Jr will begin its run on Friday, Mar 13 (continuing through Mar 22). Cara Lieurance speaks with the creative team about putting the running of a stage musical into the hands of young people by using the themes from the musical itself to foster connection and support. Director Sandy Davis, music director Julie Davis (co-directing with Brent Decker), choreographer Kris Allemang-Stahl, and the Civic's director of marketing, Janet Gover talk about the experience.


Tamra Diamond (Chesak); Grant Beachy (Daneman)

The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo offers several different grants to fund a range of Kalamazoo-area creative activity, including the KADI grant, or Kalamazoo Artistic Development Initiative grant. Cara Lieurance talks to Kristen Chesak, the executive director of the Arts Council, and  Ashley Daneman, a 2020 KADI grant recipient for her concert-series-with-a-twist concept, Authenticity Kalamazoo.  Other recipients this cycle include artists like Kelly Van Der Kley, who will use her grant to learn more about book-making techniques in Venice, then share them locally through her work with Kalamazoo Book Arts


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