Daniel Wanschura

Arts & Culture Reporter/Producer

Ever since he was young, Dan has been fascinated with radio. From hearing the dulcet tones of John Gordon broadcast Minnesota Twins games, to staying up late listening to radio theater, he was captivated by the imaginative medium. 

In 2012, Dan graduated from Thomas Edison State College with a BA in Communications. In 2015, he moved from the Twin Cities to northern Michigan, to cover arts and culture at Interlochen Public Radio.

During his time at IPR, he’s produced a weekly arts and culture segment called, The Green Room. In 2016, Dan won a PRNDI award for his story Opera: relevant or outdated? His work has also been heard on Minnesota Public Radio, and Michigan Radio. 

Dan enjoys playing softball, driving on Michigan’s renown M-22 highway, and volunteering as a leader in Grand Traverse Young Life. He is also a lover of the Oxford comma— much to the chagrin of his editors.

He loves setting sound-rich scenes in his radio journalism, so naturally, a couple of his favorite stories include the time he accompanied photographers shooting a Lake Michigan storm, and when he took in a polo match in northern Michigan. Another favorite was telling the story of how theater has helped a vet with PTSD.

Missy Elliott (left) joined Katy Perry during the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images Sport

More than 120 million people are expected to tune in to Super Bowl 50 this Sunday in San Francisco. 

But it’s not just the football game that glues so many people to their television sets on Super Bowl Sunday - it’s also the commercials and the celebrity-laden halftime show. 

When did the Super Bowl halftime show become such a huge cultural event? 

A shot from John Bresland's video essay entitled, 'Watch My Feet.'
John Bresland

A picture is worth a thousand words.

We’ve all heard that adage, right? Now, many writers are starting to realize the value of images and have begun incorporating them into their work. It's spawned a new form of creative writing, called the video essay. 


John Robert Williams converted an old elementary school gym into his new studio.
John Robert Williams Photography

John Robert Williams is a photographer with an eye for potential. 

When he moved out of his downtown Traverse City studio last year, and into an old elementary school gymnasium, he began dreaming of all the different ways he could use the space. Where most people would probably see a big, mostly empty room, Williams sees a studio full of potential.

“I lie awake at night thinking of cool new things and shots I can do,” says Williams.


Members of the chorus gossip about Medea's fate during a recent rehearsal.
Parallel 45 Theatre

Parallel 45 Theatre company is out with a fresh take on the ancient Greek tragedy Medea.
Throughout their advertising campaign, the company has been comparing what it meant to be a celebrity during Medea's day, versus what it means today, with the likes of Kim Kardashian and Lindsey Lohan.
Is it determined by the history books, or trends on Twitter?

Chic Gamine is performing in Traverse City on Friday.
Chic Gamine

The Canadian band Chic Gamine became popular for their stripped-down, almost a cappella style. Back in 2007 when the group formed, they consisted of four female vocalists and a drummer— and that was it. Almost immediately, the band started touring, and quickly became popular with audiences. 


The music world lost two legendary figures recently: composer and conductor Pierre Boulez and rock star David Bowie. 

Bowie lost his battle with cancer at age 69— just three days after releasing his latest album Blackstar. Pierre Boulez, while perhaps less of a household name, was a giant in the classical music world. He passed away last week at age 90. 

While drastically different in certain senses, these two artists shattered the perceptions of their musical genres, and took creative risk-taking to another level.


One of the unique things about Interlochen Public Radio is that the people who work here are often full of surprises. Take, for example, Classical IPR host Amanda Sewell.

Amanda is a musicologist and has studied plenty of traditional classical music from the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. But, she’s also published academic studies on hip-hop. During her music studies, she discovered a hip-hop niche called "nerdcore." 

 


Composer and conductor Pierre Boulez passed away Wednesday morning in his home in Germany.

The composer was famous for trying to modernize classical music. He was also extremely critical of what he saw as the stagnant “classical music” stereotype.

Boulez once said in an interview, "It is not enough to deface the Mona Lisa because that does not kill the Mona Lisa. All art of the past must be destroyed."

 

Ruby John performs in many fiddle styles, including Métis.
Aaron Selbig

America has long been thought of as a melting pot; a place where people from different backgrounds come together and in so doing, create new and unique cultures. As the fur trade in the upper Great Lakes region blossomed in the late 1600’s, French voyageurs and trappers began to marry Native American women. People with this mix of native and European heritage became known as Métis. 

Métis is a French word that roughly translated means “mixed blood” or “of mixed descent.”


The Dennos Museum will break ground on an addition to its Inuit Gallery in 2016.
Daniel Wanschura

The Dennos Museum Center is expanding its Inuit Gallery thanks to a one million dollar gift from Barbara and Dudley Smith III. Currently, the museum has about 1500 works of Inuit art in its possession. But, because of space limitations the museum is currently only able to showcase around 100 of those pieces.

Earlier today, the museum unveiled plans that will add more than 2,600 square feet to the already existing Inuit Gallery. Museum Director Gene Jenneman says it’s the Inuit art collection that gives the museum world-wide acclaim. 

Kyle Novy will embark on a 52-song music project in 2016.
Kyle Novy

Kyle Novy is a singer-songwriter who teaches at Interlochen Arts Academy, and he’s embarked on an ambitious music project called Mount Valor.

Kyle sees himself as offering some alternatives to the often times, shallow pop music of today. His goal is to write songs that have a rich depth of meaning and that peer above the fray. Stylistically, he’ll be all across the board— from piano ballads, to folk music, to what he calls journeying songs, with sweeping string sections and tom-tom drums. 

During a recent crowdfunding campaign, Kyle raised over $22,000 dollars from fans, and people who believe in his vision as an artist.

Kyle says often times today, artists are simply viewed as entertainers. And while he says he doesn’t have a problem with people who are focused on entertaining others, that’s not his ultimate goal.


When Joseph Morrissey took the position of Director of Dance at Interlochen Arts Academy earlier this year, one of the shows he was most excited about producing was The Nutcracker.

“One of the first things I asked about is, ‘Do you have a Nutcracker?’ And they said, ‘Not only do we have a Nutcracker, but we’re building a brand new set.’”

Morrissey has high ambitions for this classic, and wants to make sure it appeals to a variety of audiences. He says there are a lot of different elements—  romance, comedy, and some suspense. 

“Especially with the mice,” says Morrissey. “They are supposed to be scary— they are the conflict of the story. But we also have to keep in mind this is a holiday production. So, there is a lot of comedy as well,” he says. 

 


Todd and Brad Reed Photography

Sara Kassien is not a photographer. She was in the right place though on Sunday, August 2nd, driving home from work when the storm that had wrecked Glen Arbor swept over Traverse City.

“I saw all these other people pulled over,” she remembers. “I’m like, ‘That’s a good idea, I should do that.’ I followed the crowd.”


The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's acting principal clarinetist takes the stage at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

John Bruce Yeh is a 39-year veteran of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a founding member of the New York New Music Ensemble, a Grammy winner and more. A native of Los Angeles, he began studying the clarinet at age 6 and spent two years at Juilliard, from 1975 to 1977, before leaving to assume the role of solo bass clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra., and, two years later, assistant principal and solo E-flat clarinet. 

 

The subject of the Oscar‐nominated documentary Jules at eight, Julian Lage, now 27, has been performing and recording with vibraphone legend Gary Burton since the age of 12, holding a seat once occupied by the likes of Kurt Rosenwinkel and Pat Metheny. He stopped by IPR's Studio A, to chat and play a few songs with his trio.

The Eero Saxophone Quartet will perform tonight at the Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall at 7:30pm.
The Ann Arbor based group will also be taking part in a student workshop with the Interlochen Arts Academy sax ensemble this afternoon.

The recital is free and open to the public. For more information call 231-276-7800

The Medal of Honor is the United States highest military honor.

It’s awarded to soldiers for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.”


Interlochen Arts Academy Band Director Matt Schlomer leads his band in rehearsal.
Daniel Wanschura

Do we have a music that describes our time and place today? 

That question was recently explored during a concert at Interlochen Arts Academy.

In the early 1900’s, pianist and composer Percy Grainger began thinking about the type of music that might describe both England’s time and place - a sort of national sound, if you will. 

 

The members of PigPen Theater Co. get asked a certain question a lot: How did they come up with their name? 

They have a number of different stories about its origin, but Curtis Gillen says this one is true:

Seven freshman guys arrived at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2007 and found out about a student-produced arts festival. Despite being short on time, the group decided to put a show together anyway.

After covering the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan for NPR, author Sarah Chayes decided to stay in the country and start a non-profit. The many types of corruption Chayes witnessed there firsthand, led her to write the book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security. She argues that while everyone around the world agrees corruption is bad, it’s a subject that usually get’s pushed to the back burner.

“We’re under-appreciating the degree to which a lot of the turmoil we’re seeing the world today is actually sparked by indignation at acute public corruption,” says Chayes. 

Maryfrances Phillippi in front of her "Circle of Angels" barn quilt.
Daniel Wanschura

Have you ever been driving around and noticed huge, quilt-like squares hanging on the sides of barns?

Those are called barn quilts, and just as fabric quilts tell stories with what's stitched into them, so do these wooden quilts. 


Chuck Korson prepares espresso for the first round of the Latte Art Throwdown.
Kate Botello

If you ever find yourself in a room full of people, drinks being poured, and a giant bracket posted on a white board, you’re probably in one of two places: a sports bar during March Madness, or a coffee house during a latte art throwdown. 

While latte art is a popular subject for people posting photos of their drinks on social media, the quality of the art is also a determination of the deliciousness of the drink. 

“It’s a sign that you’re taking care in what your doing with the coffee,” says Chuck Korson, owner of BLK MRKT, a coffee shop in Traverse City. “It’s the most easily recognizable manifestation of the care that is put into the coffee making,” he says.


This week the Green Room celebrates the ukulele, a sweet sounding little instrument with a growing fan base all over the world. Plus, Kate Botello plays something unexpected.

Librettist Scott Diel (left) and composer Eugene Birman (right) pictured during their two-week residency on Rabbit Island just off the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Andrew Ranville

Throughout the 19th century, operas were written to address the social issues of their day. Some people think those operas and their traditional format don’t have much context or relevance in today’s world.

Meet composer Eugene Birman and librettist Scott Diel. They believe opera should be made to reflect the current times and shed some of the formalities that characterize traditional opera.

That’s why they’re creating “State of the Union,” a neo-opera that challenges how humans view their urban environment, the world and each other. 

The piece will feature 12 voices. It doesn’t have any instruments, but it will have a megaphone.

Coggin Heeringa is instructor of Environmental Studies at Interlochen Arts Camp. She's pictured next to a sassafras tree.
Kate Botello

Recently, I went for a walk with Coggin Heeringa, instructor of Environmental Studies at Interlochen Arts Camp. We were looking for sassafras, which is native to Michigan.


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