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A History Of Improv Helps Kalamazoo Music School During Pandemic

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Although COVID-19 has severely restricted in-person music-making, Benje and Ashley Daneman, the founders of the Kalamazoo Music School, have discovered that their long-term community-building efforts have helped sustain their spirits and the school. 

In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, they say that most students made the transition to online instruction successfully.  And they explain what's on for fall: Fresh Air Sessions (jazz groups outdoors), Growing Glockenspiel (for 5-7 year olds), individual lessons online, and group lessons online, among other things. They're also excited to welcome jazz pianist Rufus Ferguson to the role of Director of Community Partnerships. 

When the conversation turns to how musicians are making difficult choices during the pandemic, Benje Daneman discusses Kanola Band's first album of New Orleans-style music. It's ready for release, but can't be supported with a tour, which is how musicians make a return on the album's investment. Ashley Daneman says applying for small business and arts grants has been part of their strategy to weather the shutdown. 

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Cara Lieurance covers local music with live morning interviews, and produces WMUK's Let's Hear It weekday mornings at 10 am Mon-Fri, showcasing local interviews and performances. She also produces The Pure Drop, an hour of Celtic music, with musician Dave Marlatt.
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