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 In 2016, Dan won a PRNDI award for his story, “Opera: relevant or outdated?” In 2017, his story about a polo club in northern Michigan earned him a Edward R. Murrow regional award. His work has also been heard on NPR, Minnesota Public Radio, Michigan Radio, and KFAI 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 visited award-winning cheesemakers. Another favorite was telling the story of how theater has helped a vet with PTSD.

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.


Garrison Keillor will visit Interlochen during his farewell, "America the Beautiful" tour on July 28.
A Prairie Home Companion

Garrison Keillor, the creator and host of "A Prairie Home Companion,” announced his forthcoming retirement yesterday.

He’ll call it quits after the conclusion of next year’s season in the fall of 2016. Keillor will continue to be involved with the show, serving as executive producer. 

Garrison Keillor has hosted A Prairie Home Companion since 1974.

Jetty Rae sits with her 18-month year old son, Beck.
Daniel Wanschura

 

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the Big Ticket Festival, in Gaylord, Michigan. The music festival features over 60 artists spread out over 6 stages. 

One of the artists performing on the main stage Friday, is Charlevoix resident, Jetty Rae.

Daniel Wanschura

Charlevoix boasts some unique houses. Often referred to as mushroom, Gnome, or Hobbit houses, the homes attract hundreds of tourists during the summer months. A new documentary film, The Wizard of Boulder Park, celebrates the architectural legacy of Earl Young, the man who built them. With limited architectural training, Young designed the homes to integrate with the natural landscape. 

Jose Vargas enters his fifth and likely final season with the Traverse City Beach Bums
Traverse City Beach Bums

The Traverse City Beach Bums open their home season this Friday night. Playing his fifth season with the Bums this year, is veteran Jose Vargas.

Ever since he was young, he’s dreamed of playing in the Big Leagues. And at age 27, Vargas has given himself one more chance to turn his dream into a reality. 

A two track trail somewhere in the Canadian section of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
Jason Snell

 

2,735.

That’s how many miles local cyclist Jason Snell completed on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route last year. It runs from Alberta to New Mexico.

Joshua Davis is now one of six contestants vying for the top spot on "The Voice."
Tyler Golden/NBC

Traverse City resident Joshua Davis advanced to the next round of NBC's reality TV show, The Voice on Tuesday evening. The top eight contestants were whittled down to six, and Davis was the first contestant to be safe this week, after his performance of Fields of Gold by Sting. 

Kate Botello spoke with Davis on Friday.

"It's been incredible," says Davis of his experience on the show. "It's been an amazing growing process."  

Members of the Traverse City Curling Club wrapped up their first season on Wednesday, at Center Ice Arena.
Daniel Wanschura

The sport of curling dates back to the 16th century. That’s when people in Scotland would play on the frozen lochs and ponds. 

The Traverse City Curling Club has only been around for a year, but they’re hosting a big tournament this weekend, called the "Cherry Bombspiel."

The "Question Mark Building" in Honor, is coming down.
Daniel Wanschura

If you’ve ever driven through the town of Honor on U.S. 31, you’ve likely seen the “Question Mark Building.” 

It’s a dilapidated old structure that had a bright pink facade with a large question mark painted on the front. 

Well, the building is finally coming down. 

Talk to the locals in the town of Honor, and you’ll realize that there is a bit of a love - hate relationship with the building on the corner of Henry and Main Street. 

 

Singing his way across America

Apr 14, 2015
Folk singer Adam Miller plays at the Peninsula Community Library tonight in Traverse City.
Daniel Wanschura

Folk singer Adam Miller has been fascinated with storytelling, history, and music for a long time. 

His career started as a sort of experiment 20 years ago. He wanted to see if he could really make a living in the 21st Century, traveling and singing songs about times past. 

Now, each year Miller logs about 70,000 miles traveling to different schools and libraries across the United States.

John L. Russell

If you’re a soccer fan, you probably remember the 2006 World Cup Championship between France and Italy. The contest featured a French player famously head butting an Italian, before Italy won the match in a shootout. 

That match got the owners of Trattoria Stella in Traverse City thinking, “Why don’t we do this with food?”

This year marks the eighth year the Italian restaurant has challenged a French counterpart to a friendly dinner competition.

The Promise is a dramatic retelling of Christ's life, death, and resurrection.
New Hope Community Church

New Hope Community Church in Williamsburg, is a large church, but not a mega church. Yet, over a period of four days last year, 6,000 people crammed into the building to view The Promise, a dramatic Broadway-styled retelling of the Easter story. 

This year marks the 18th year of the show. 

Take one step into the dress rehearsal and you realize this isn’t your average church production. Viewers quickly find themselves immersed in culture 2,000 years old complete with authentic looking Roman soldiers and Hebrew priests. 

Daniel Wanschura

When Joe and Bobbi Woods bought a 40-acre parcel in Rapid City, they weren't thinking about starting a maple syrup farm. They planned to grow hay.

What started out with a just few buckets 20 years ago, has now grown into a nearly 600-gallon maple syrup operation annually. It’s a family operation for the Woods. During syrup season, their son Grant usually helps out, checking to make sure the sap flows freely through the line system.

Jimmy Olson talks about pursuing his music dreams in Nashville.
Daniel Wanschura

If you’re ever in Nashville and find yourself ordering dinner for delivery, you just might see Jimmy Olson come to your door. The musician from Northern Michigan is trying to turn his musical talents into a career; and he’s willing to do just about anything to make that happen.   

Olson has been making music for a long time.

The Benzie County Players rehearse "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater."
Daniel Wanschura

Forty-five years ago, Andy Mollema participated in his first readers theater production. He was a graduate student at Central Michigan University. The show was adapted from Kurt Vonnegut’s 1965 novel, "God Bless You Mr. Rosewater."

Today, Mollema is the one directing his own version of the novel, again in readers theater format.

“What’s going on with society today with this wealth versus disparity sort of thing, just brought me to want to resurrect this script,” says Mollema. “It’s absolutely pertinent, if not more so, today than it was then.” 

This year, NPR’s From the Top commissioned a new musical work from Interlochen Arts Academy Alum Michael Thurber. It's designed to feature the next generation of classical musicians. 

It's an all-Interlochen line up on the show this week, featuring excerpts from the concerto performed in Corson Auditorium with the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. This show also includes solos from several current students.

Deputy Diane Speas, inside the art room at Leelanau County Jail.
Daniel Wanschura

Nearly ten years ago, the jail chaplain in Leelanau County challenged the inmates to participate in a drawing contest. It was Christmas and Leelanau County Deputy Diane Speas remembers the results of that first contest.

“We looked at them and found them just gorgeous, and decided to make them into cards," she recalls.

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