Kate Botello

Music Host and Producer

Kate comes to Northern Michigan via New York City, where she was a freelance actor, singer and playwright, appearing Off-Broadway as Judy Garland in the underground hit, Christmas with the Crawfords. She wrote and starred in several Judy Garland-themed productions, including Judy’s Christmas Garland and Judy Garland and Uninvited Company -- for which she was nominated for a Nightlife Award and won a Backstage Bistro award.

Before her time in New York, Kate was one of the founding on-air personalities for ZDTV, a national television network (later to become TechTV). There, she hosted "The Screen Savers," a live daily call-in show co-starring tech guru Leo Laporte, as well as "Extended Play," a show about videogames and the gaming industry with cohost Adam Sessler. She also puppeteered and provided the voice for Tilde, the network’s "virtual host" - work for which she won an Emmy Award.

Kate Botello has lived in Traverse City, Michigan since 2005, and is delighted by the huge amount of talent and art available to people in our area. She directed and starred in many productions for the Old Town Playhouse and Young Company, and led the OTP's Summer Performing Arts Camp for four years. Kate has even had a chance to make a few dreams come true, including hosting live "Sing-a-Long" events at the State Theatre, narrating stories with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra and serving as the official "Word Pronouncer" for the Traverse City County and Regional Spelling Bees. 

Kate brings a lifetime love of classical music to IPR, and is thrilled by discoveries of beautiful pieces, new and old, to share with you.

Ways to Connect

Interlochen Arts Academy Alumnus Keith Buncke has just been named Principal Bassoon of the famed Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

When Buncke graduated from Interlochen, he probably assumed he’d take a few years to finish college and begin a career. That was not to be: not long into his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, Buncke, then 20 years old, was selected as First Bassoonist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Now, at 21, Buncke embarks on his new adventure under the baton of Riccardo Muti in Chicago.

Toi toi toi, Keith!

PLAY NOW: Road Trip!

Nov 21, 2014

Taking a road trip? Change your playlist! We're thinking about you out on those snowy roads for your holiday travels. It's exciting and stressful, we know. What soundtrack can be both calming and stimulating? What could add new color to the landscapes outside your car window?  Kate Botello has put together nearly 4 hours of music designed to surprise and invigorate your road trip. Great for the Classical music fan, or if you're just willing to give Classical a try. Best of all, there's no interruption when you leave our coverage area. You just need your smart phone and the free music sharing app Spotify.

You've probably listened to some tunes while making dinner - but how often have you based the menu directly on the music? IAA Band Conductor Dr. Matthew Schlomer and Black Star Farms Chef Jonathan Dayton put their heads together for an innovative project that does just that.

"Tone to Table," a collaboration between Interlochen Arts Academy and Black Star Farms, is an upcoming event exploring the connections between food and music - compositional "ingredients" taking on new depth as they relate to one another.

Chef Dayton, along with Black Star's Stephanie Lee Wiitala, came together with Dr. Schlomer to create an event based on the interplay of music and food. On November 20th, diners can experience that exchange, with music provided by IAA, and food by Black Star Farms. The menu has a, "Landscapes," theme, and follows many layers of that idea - everything from outdoor landscapes to landscapes within - what Dr. Schlomer calls, "ideal urges," and, "primal urges."

We were treated to a performance and discussion of those, "primal urges," in Studio A. IAA Flute Instructor Nancy Stagnitta was the soloist, with a group of IAA percussion students (Joshua Pearlmutter, Stephen Karukas, Adriano Macciocchi and Miyu Morita), performing samples of Andre Jolivet's, "Suite en Concert." The piece is based on ancient sounds and ideas - flute and drum are the oldest musical instruments known to man. Chef Dayton discussed how the primal sound and differing textures influenced his dish, from ingredients to  plating.

It was a fun, interesting discussion (we even talked about how Chef Dayton changed a sauce because it was too, "creamy," for its accompanying composition), interspersed with fascinating music, but be warned: it might make you hungry!


Guitarist Bret Hoag (pictured, left) and flutist Jeff Zook (pictured, right) are colleagues and studio neighbors at Oakland University in Detroit. The two started out as mutual admirers, and ended up touring together.

Jeff enjoys finding challenging new arrangements for them to play. Bret enjoys telling Jeff to quit finding pieces written for the piano ("I keep throwing him piano parts," says Jeff, "and he keeps throwing them back."). Somehow, no matter the original instruments, they always come up with something compelling that works for both of them.

Bret and Jeff were in town for an "Around the World," themed concert at the Oliver Art Center, in conjunction with Chamber Music North. They treated us to three pieces Live in Studio A, including a Libby Larsen piece that Jeff performed on a flute d'amore. We discussed its eerie sound, and how the instrument had recently enraptured a group during a performance. "I felt like I just had everyone in the palm of my hand," said Jeff. I told him, "That's why it's called the Flute of Love." He replied, "Exactly, baby!"

Listen to the three pieces, below: the first movement of Piazzolla's Histoire du Tango, the Libby Larsen, and a piece from Enrique Granados originally written for piano, but transcribed for guitar (it seems Bret has a point about that whole piano-pieces-for-guitar thing, there.) 


We had a delightful visit from some of the cast and crew of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City, brightening up a gray and rainy day in Studio A.  The show opened in early October at the Old Town Playhouse, and runs through October 25th. According to the New York Times, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a high-spirited comedy that, "aims to vault over the lines of good taste." 

The cast, and director Perez, were quite pleased with that description, and recommend the show for audiences over 18, but they were kind enough to bring us material that was left us utterly tickled - and reasonably un-scandalized.
 


Onward and upward!  The Bryn Athyn Cathedral in Pennsylvania has gained a new Assistant Organist. Organ scholar Bryan Dunnewald, IAA Class of 2014, was just chosen to work at the Cathedral with Principal Organist, Terry Schnarr and Musical Director Graham Bier. Bryan will play at services on the Cathedral's new E.M. Skinner/Kegg organ.

Between his new duties as Assistant Organist, Bryan will continue his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.  While we certainly miss having his fantastic skills all to ourselves, we're thrilled to know he'll be sharing his talents with others on a regular basis.

Learn more about the historic Bryn Athyn Cathedral here, and join us in keeping up with Bryan's career on his website.

Hear Bryan perform without having to trek all the way to Pennsylvania, below.  The piece: Maurice Durufle's Prelude and Fugue on the Name of Alain, a tribute to the composer's fallen friend.

Congrats, Bryan!
 


Making some new acquaintances, and still in that getting-to-know-you phase?  Perhaps you're having some delightful people over but don't know yet if they'd dig your massive collection of rare acid jazz. We've found some eclectic, fun, modern-ish tunes to hang out in the background and be friendly, without hampering your scintillating dinner conversation (but if the socializing's not going so well, you can always talk about the music!).

DINNER WITH THAT NICE COUPLE FROM THE OFFICE

Christopher Gruits, Executive Director of Interlochen Presents, stopped by Studio B this morning to chat about the upcoming 2014-2015 season. Highlights include: singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright III, Aquila Theatre's Wuthering Heights,  Ailey II from the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, and the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, from the Nebraska Theatre Caravan.

To hear the interview, featuring a track by singer/songwriter Wainwright (appearing at ICA in October), click "Listen," below.

Tickets go on sale soon - keep your eye on tickets.interlochen.org.  

After the jump - more highlights of the upcoming season, including video from Ailey II and A Christmas Carol.

Jenie Altruda has found a happy balance between a professional life and an artsy upbringing here at Interlochen. After growing up surrounded by various artistes and theatre types, ICA gives her the opportunity to combine business expertise with a love of the arts.

We spent a terrific hour together listening to some of her favorite music.  This is a cool, eclectic mix, with everything from favorites you might know and love (Bach Cello Suite, anyone?) to pieces new to IPR that may become new favorites (Goat Rodeo! Giacchino! Duckworth!).

Jenie had so much great music that we couldn't fit it all into our hour together on-air.  Never fear! You can still hear it all - click, "Read more," to see a list and enjoy more than two hours of Jenie's choices. Listen to our full conversation and hear the music in context in the streaming link, below.


Les Miserables is one of those "dream" shows for actors in musical theatre.  If you've never done it, you pray you'll be in it, and if you've been in it, you'll never forget it. This summer, Interlochen Arts Camp students had a chance to do the dream show with a dream team - Rick and Lynne Church.  Rick was the show's Musical Director and Conductor, and Lynne served as Vocal Coach for the young singers.  The delightful Churches have had fascinating careers (so far - more to come!) and brought all their expertise to the actors.  To us, they brought terrific music from Les Mis and music that Victor Hugo might have been listening to when he was writing his epic about the French Revolution. BONUS for those listening to the stream - Lynne shared a recording of her own performance in Pagliacci! (We've substituted Maria Callas on our Spotify playlist; click, "Read more." )

There's more to a Symphony Orchestra than musicians - somebody's got to keep everything ticking behind the scenes! Executive Director Krista Cooper helps keep the Traverse Symphony Orchestra running like clockwork.  Krista prefers to be behind the scenes (even though she's secretly an accomplished opera singer! Shhh...), but we managed to get her in front of a microphone, sharing some of her favorite music with us.  

Hear Krista and her music in the interview below, or click, "Read more," to listen all the music in one playlist.

Deb Lake managed to eke out an hour before the Traverse City Film Festival and share some of her favorite film music with us.  It was probably the most time she'd spent sitting down in weeks. Deb's been the Executive Director of the TCFF since 2006 and has been a volunteer with the Festival since its very first year.  Film Festival is her Crunch Time, so we had a lovely breather, listening to some great music together. Don't worry if you missed it - we have it right here. 

Hear the music and conversation below, or click, "Read more," to listen to the playlist. 


The cast of Broadway's Next Hit Musical was on Interlochen's campus for a show, and brought us a real treat - our first ever entirely improvised Live from Studio A session! Cast members Rebecca Vigil, Rob Schiffman, Rob Grant and Eric March gave us a performance to remember.

Eric, Rebecca, Rob and Rob were great sports, and performed for us at what had to be an ungodly  hour of the morning for them. Since I was the only live person in the audience (a perk of hosting in Studio A!), I got to choose the song title (yay!).   At the end of the interview, please enjoy, "It's Early, and I'm In Love."

After the jump, learn more about BNHM and  hear a BONUS TRACK! - the cast dedicates an ode to IPR Studio A engineer, Brock Morman.
 


Brooklyn Rider takes the idea of the string quartet to a new level.  Already champions of new music and fresh approaches, the Brooklyn, NY-based group stretch the boundaries of the classic quartet, adding unusual instruments and other forms of art to the mix.  In their Studio A session, they treated us to terrific, high-energy performances of, "Doina Oltului," a Roma-inspired piece, and, "Ascending Bird," originally arranged for quartet and Persian Fiddle (kamancheh).
 


Chris Gruits, Executive Director of Interlochen Presents, is dropping by Classical IPR twice a week to give updates on upcoming events at the Interlochen Festival.

In today's chat, he fills us in about the upcoming WYSO concert featuring Guest Conductor Carlos Kalmar and Pianist Alessio Bax, and a visit from The Capitol Steps.

For information about all Interlochen Festival Events, visit: tickets. interlochen.org.
 


Northwest Lower Michigan has been on a lot of lists of late.  National news outlets have been figuring out what we've known all along - this is one of the best places in America.

Well, this was a new one for Studio A:  a room full of musicians who can assemble and disassemble a saxophone and an M-16 rifle.  The US Airmen of Note, the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force Band came by to play us some cool arrangements and chat about life as full-time military musicians.


Carol Jantsch is known for elevating tuba playing to performance art (she's performed Flight of the Bumblebee in full bee suit and advertised her first tuba CD with a rap video). She is also the first woman to hold a Principal Tuba Chair among major orchestras in the United States (in this case, the Philadelphia Orchestra). Jantsch is at Interlochen this week, teaching the Tuba and Trombone Institute.

Jantsch says she thinks of herself as a musician first, and a tuba player second, and she's interested in playing pieces not originally intended for the tuba.  She visited Studio A with accompanist Ellen Sommer-Bottorf and performed a wonderful rendition of Debussy's, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.  If you think the tuba is nothing more than a background instrument that goes oom-pa-pa - you're in for an elegant surprise.


William VerMeulen has had a life full of connections to Interlochen.  His mother came here to attend Music Camp and play the cello in the 1940's, and later, was a participant in our Adult Chamber Music Camp.  He attended Interlochen as a Camper, and then later, as an Academy Student.  He even worked in food service in the cafeteria, and eventually spent three years as an Academy Horn Instructor.  "I've done," he says, " everything you could do at Interlochen, and now to be back is a thrill."


NMC Choir Director Jeffrey Cobb brought the Canticum Novum ensemble by Studio A for a sneak preview of the group's upcoming concert series.  The twenty-four singers, with pianist Peggy Johnson, performed a warm, spicy and modern tango, "Noche de Lluvia," by Sid Robinovitch.  They then followed up with a jazzified slice of Americana in an arrangement of, "Country Dances," by Ward Swingle.


Students from all over the world flock to Interlochen Arts Academy to study the arts in the northern Michigan woods.  Some of them are old hands at music or their chosen field, but new to the English language.

That's where Marvine Stamatakis comes in.  Marvine is the instructor of English as a Second Language at Interlochen, and uses all sorts of creative resources to help students feel comfortable speaking naturally in English.

A young northern Michigan singer/songwriter duo just got a big nod from a Grammy-nominated blogger. 

On his culture blog, "Dull Tool Dim Bulb," writer Jim Linderman says The Accidentals may very well be "the best unsigned band in America."

Jeremy Laureta, Interlochen Senior and Viola major, dropped by Studio A to perform a selection from his recent Senior Recital.  Jeremy performed the balcony scene from Prokofiev's, "Romeo and Juliet." Susan Snyder provided piano accompaniment as Viola professor Renee Skerik listened proudly in the wings. We wish Jeremy all the best as he moves on to his next phase at the Manhattan School of Music!  

 

Young playwrights from high schools across northern Michigan had the chance to have their work juried by professionals from East Lansing. The six top plays will be performed at a free event this weekend in Traverse City.

This year, five of the six students are from the Interlochen Arts Academy. A student from the Grand Traverse Academy was also selected. 

The Third Annual Young Playwrights Festival will be held on Sunday at the City Opera House.  Curtain rises at 1:30.

The spirit of collaboration is alive and well with Interlochen's upcoming New Opera Project.  Interlochen composing students worked in tandem with faculty and performers to create scenes for new operas.  The Parallel45 Production company came on board to produce, and the operas will make their world premieres at the Inside Out Gallery in Traverse City.

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