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 In 2016, Dan won a PRNDI award for his story, “Opera: relevant or outdated?”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.

Mei Stone will perform with 'The President's Own' United States Marine Band, this Sunday in Washington, D.C.
Dan Wanschura

This time of year can be an especially busy time for seniors in high school. There are all kinds of things going on — exams, dances, senior skip days, college applications and so on.

It’s even more hectic when you’re a top-notch young musician like Mei Stone, a senior studying flute performance at Interlochen Arts Academy. 


April Fool's Day likely originated in the Netherland's at the beginning of the 16th century.
Yanik Chauvin / istockphoto.com

One of the better April Fool’s Day pranks in recent memory happened right here in Michigan just a couple years ago. A group of seven students at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids decided to prank their economics professor. Turns out, the professor had a policy about cell phones in the classroom— if your phone rang during class, you had to answer the call on speaker phone in front of everybody.

Taylor Nefcy was a theater major at Aquinas, and she came up with the idea of using that rule to her advantage in creating a prank. 

Traverse City jumped 10 spots in the second annual Arts Vibrancy Index, released by Southern Methodist University.
marada / Flickr

Traverse City is once again ranked among the country’s most vibrant arts communities.

The second annual Arts Vibrancy Index released by Southern Methodist University, puts the northern Michigan city at number 10 on the list among small to mid-sized communities.

That’s a 10 spot jump in ranking. The same study ranked Traverse City 20th on the last year’s list.

Penny (left) and Radel Rosin of Oh Brother Big Sister are out with their first original album.
Dan Wanschura

Just a couple years ago, Penny and Radel Rosin were performing in separate bands. The two siblings from Grayling, Michigan had grown up in a musical family and had gotten used to the performance life at an early age. But, being in a band with multiple members and schedules can be difficult to coordinate at times. That was a big reason why Radel eventually approached Penny about creating their own music act.

“Yeah, Del just pretty much just called me up and he said, ‘We’re going to start a duo, and we’re going to call it Oh Brother Big Sister,’” Penny recalls. “And I said, ‘Alright, sounds good.’”

Shannon Cason, a storyteller from Detroit, shares a personal narrative with the Front Street Writers on Thursday.
Anne Stanton

Tonight, The Moth Mainstage will be performed before a sold-out crowd in Traverse City. But yesterday, a few storytellers from The Moth did a workshop with a classroom of about 25 high school students. 

They talked about how storytelling builds community and helps people reflect on their own lives.

Shannon Cason is from Detroit. He says growing up, he always loved playing games. But, when he got older his love for games got him in trouble with gambling.

Jay Allison is an award-winning independent broadcast journalist. He produces 'The Moth Radio Hour.'
dancutrona.com

Imagine several raconteurs relaxing on a front porch swapping true tales on a warm summer night in Georgia. There's probably plenty of iced tea, maybe a few cans of beer, and the occasional fluttering of a moth's wings can be heard as it flies to the cozy glow of the porch light.

Those laid-back, informal gatherings eventually gave rise to The Moth storytelling events, which are now held around the world. The format remains simple — live stories told by everyday people without notes. The show stops in Traverse City on Friday night at the City Opera House.

'American Dad!' creative designer Jim Feeley shows off his rough sketch IPR's Kate Botello.
Dan Wanschura

Jim Feeley has always liked to paint, draw and doodle. But once he graduated from high school, art school wasn’t even anywhere on his horizon. He enrolled at Boston College and graduated with an English Literature degree. He didn't really think that his hobby would be a viable career.

Eventually, he moved across country to Los Angeles and worked for Film Roman— the studio responsible for shows like The Simpsons and King of the Hill. Once a week the studio would host a free drawing workshop. Even though Jim was working in production, he decided to give the workshop a try.

Longtime Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell.
mwlguide via Wikimedia Commons

Spring is in the air! 

Or, at least Spring Training is in the air.

Before the first pitch, baseball fans expect to hear the national anthem performed by countless individuals throughout the long season.

Dave Dunckel says he played the role of the tough Army guy during his 15-month deployment to Iraq.
Dave Dunckel

Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Dunckel had many different jobs during his 25-year career in the Army. But in the spring of 2006 the Army asked him to do something that changed his life. 

They asked him to notify a family in Eagle, Michigan, that their 19-year-old son had been killed in Iraq. 

“It was horrible,” he says.

As he drove home that night, the 48-year-old Dunckel decided he couldn’t go back to a desk job in the Army. He resigned his position, and volunteered for an individual deployment. 

 


The 88th Academy Awards ceremony takes place Sunday evening.
Davidlohr Bueso / flickr

Meg Weichman doesn’t get to vote in the Oscars. But the creative director for the Traverse City Film Fest still has plenty of hot takes on the 88th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday.

This year, eight films were nominated for Best Picture. Out of those eight, Meg says three really separate themselves from he rest of the group: The Revenant, Spotlight and The Big Short.

 


Mucca Pazza brings its show to Interlochen on Saturday.
Mucca Pazza

It’s kind of difficult to explain exactly what Mucca Pazza is. Even it’s own members have trouble describing the group at times.

To some, Mucca Pazza is a marching band that doesn’t march. Others say it’s a marching band that thinks it’s a rock n’ roll band. 

Whatever description fits best, Mucca Pazza is a group of about 30 self-described misfits who missed the days of high school band, theater and cheer. And so, they came up with their own group.

On Saturday, Interlochen Center for the Arts will be hosting a free Mucca Pazza performance, as part of the annual Winterlochen festivities.

Joan Richmond in her studio near the Grand Traverse Commons.
Dan Wanschura

In the early nineteenth century, artists spent almost all their time inside studios. Instead of going outside, artists would usually sketch and paint from existing sketchings and paintings. 

The goal wasn’t to paint as realistically as possible, but as beautifully as possible. 

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was different. He started taking his paint outside.

Traverse City-based artist Joan Richmond says Corot was an important link in leaving behind the idealized world in painting.   

Mixtapes can be the perfect way to say, "I love you."
Leah Tihia/via Flickr

Hopefully you're aware of this by now, but Sunday is Valentine’s Day. 

If you’re in love with someone special, you might expect to get some roses, perhaps some chocolates, maybe even a diamond necklace. And pretty much the only thing that could ever possibly top some bling on V-Day would be a handpicked mixtape from the love of your life, right?


Gustavo Dudamel will be leading the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles in a performance during this year's Super Bowl halftime show.
Courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic

This Sunday, more than 100 million people will watch Super Bowl 50.

By now, you might have heard that Coldplay will perform with Beyoncé - and possibly Bruno Mars - during the halftime show. What you might not have heard is that, for part of the show, classical conductor Gustavo Dudamel will lead the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles.


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.


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