Northern Michigan Arts & Culture

Krista Cooper

 The Traverse Symphony Orchestra recently closed its season with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. They were joined by the NMC Grand Traverse Chorale and Chamber Singers and the Interlochen Arts Academy Choirs. Join Classical IPR this Friday night at 8 PM for a special presentation of this recent concert.  

The concert program and a translation of Friedrich Schiller's "Ode to Joy" text is available by clicking on the images below.

The cast of 'Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play' gathers for a rehearsal earlier this week. The show explores what a society might hold onto after an apocalyptic event.
Dan Wanschura

If there was an apocalypse, what would we hold onto? How about the TV show 'The Simpsons?'

That’s the case in ‘Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.’

The musical comedy portrays a group of survivors who make it through a global disaster, which has left the world without electricity. 

 


Students at Leland High School rehearse 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' earlier this week. The musical incorporates audience participation to determine the outcome of the show.
Kim Klein

When Charles Dickens died in 1870, his last novel, 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood,' was unfinished. All we know for certain is that the title character, Edwin Drood, mysteriously disappears.

Tyehimba Jess was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for poetry with his collection, 'Olio.' In it, he tells the stories of early African American performers.
Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess is an African American poet from Detroit. He recently won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for his collection of poetry called, Olio. The poems are inspired by blackface minstrel shows.

Minstrel shows were variety acts – skits, dances, music, comedy, and were popular in the 1800’s and well into the 1900’s. Performers would paint their faces black, and act out routines that often denigrated African Americans.

Northern Michigan has a lot of option in terms of summer music festivals and concerts. On July 9, you can listen to a concert while you sit on the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Glen Arbor Art Association

The 2017 Interlochen Arts Festival lineup was announced today, and it features the likes of ZZ Top, Michael McDonald, Trace Adkins, Diana Ross, OK Go, and more.

But in addition to Interlochen, northern Michigan is home to a wide variety of summer concerts and festivals.


Xavier Verna, the executive director of the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, hopes to bring a vibrant arts and culture scene back to Manistee.
Dan Wanschura

If you lived in Manistee in the early 1900s, The Ramsdell Theatre was the place to be.

Women would put on elegant ballroom gowns, and men would get dressed up in fancy tuxedos for a night of arts and culture.

“That was like every weekend,” says Xavier Verna, the new executive director of the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts. “It was really fun and exciting to have a place that you just always had something to do.”

Robin Crocker has spent the last three months as the artist in residence at the Parsons Center in Lake Ann. She made a permanent exhibit celebrating the life of artist and educator Jean Parsons.
Tommy Valdez

Most people who knew Jean Parsons, will tell you— she was tough and expected a lot from her students.

Jean never married, and didn’t have any children. So, she spent her days pouring into her art and investing in her students. 

Now, one of her students has created remembrance of her in the Benzie County village of Lake Ann.


Kyle Novy recently completed a 52-song album project, called 'Mount Valor.' And he's released every song for free.
Kyle Novy

Kyle Novy has been a singer-songwriter for a long time. But it had been about 10 years since he released any music. He was still writing songs, but the timing to record them wasn't right.

“I almost think of it like the whole pregnancy process," he explains. "I mean there’s a good nine months of development before this child is ready to be birthed, and like out in the world.”

Live from Studio A – pianist Spencer Myer

Mar 17, 2017
Andrew Le

Piano soloist, Spencer Myer travels the world performing with orchestras, in solo recital and as a chamber musician. He says keeping and open mind and being versatile are keys to having a fulfilling life in music. Myer is in Northern Michigan this week and will be featured on Sunday with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra. He stopped by IPR’s Studio A to share  music and insights into his artistic experiences. 

A young speller competes in the Grand Traverse County Spelling Bee, in Kingsley on February 22.
Dan Wanschura

A few weeks ago, parents and students filled about half the bleachers at the Kingsley Middle School gym. It wasn’t for a sporting event but for the 2017 Grand Traverse County Spelling Bee. Spellers who do well here, will have a shot to go to the national competition which airs on ESPN. 


  

Shanny Brooke opened up the Higher Art Gallery in Traverse City in November. She wants to bring more modern and contemporary art to the northern Michigan community and is coming up with unique ideas to do so.
Dan Wanschura

Shanny Brooke moved from Florida to Traverse City about nine years ago. Soon, she noticed that her type of art, was missing. She sees a lot of what she calls “loons and dunes,” but little modern or contemporary art. 

Shanny says that’s because businesses cater to tourists and visitors.

 

Charles Ross is the creator of the One Man Star Wars Trilogy. He's performed the show thousands of times all over the world. He'll be at the City Opera House in Traverse City, March 10.
onemanstarwars.com

For the past 16 years, actor Charles Ross has been performing his One Man Star Wars Trilogy.

“Every time I think that the show is going to dry up, Star Wars just keeps on putting new things out and making new generations of fans,” he says. 


The 89th Academy Awards ceremony will take place in Hollywood this Sunday evening.
Ivan Bandura

If you’re using Oscar nominations as a reference, La La Land is one of the best films in history, with 14 nominations.

Only two other films— All About Eve and Titanic— have been nominated 14 times by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

Frank Pahl's automatons play a prominent role in Neruda's Suitcase, a show playing Thursday and Friday at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Dan Wanschura

Frank Pahl is a different kind of composer. What other people see as toys or junk, Frank sees as music-making potential.

“I didn’t grow to appreciate Tinker Toys until I was, wow, pushing 40,” he says.

Jetty Rae performs a song off her new album, 'Can't Curse the Free' in IPR's Studio A. The album features a different sound from Jetty's previous projects.
Dan Wanschura

Jetty Rae is a singer-songwriter who used to live in Charlevoix.

Lately she’s been traveling the country in an Airstream and working on a new sound. She recorded her new album in Nashville— it’s called Can’t Curse the Free

Raclette cheese wheels age in the cellar of Leelanau Cheese Company in Suttons Bay. The company was recently awarded a Super Gold award at the World Cheese Awards in Spain.
Dan Wanschura

Anne and John Hoyt own Leelanau Cheese Company in Suttons Bay. Leelanau Cheese is famous for it’s raclette.

“When people ask what it tastes like, I often say it’s between a gouda and a gruyere,” says Anne.

 

Rebecca Reynolds and Jim Carpenter work on their podcast 'Hollywood and Crime' from their home in Leland.
Dan Wanschura

Rebecca Reynolds and her husband, Jim Carpenter are filmmakers from Leland, Michigan.  About two years ago, Rebecca had a conversation with a friend in Los Angeles. Together, they came up with the concept for a true crime and Hollywood show.


The Grand Traverse Commons were once home to the Traverse City State Hospital. A new memoir written by Jack Kerkhoff tells of his 45-day stay inside the hospital in 1952.
Dan Wanschura

Jack Kerkhoff grew up Traverse City. And he remembers walking past the state hospital as a kid.

“How many times I had scampered up that driveway with my gang, fearful yet curious. How many times we had wandered outside the bleak tower-topped buildings that had iron bars at the windows, and shouted at the men and women behind the bars and giggled over the obscenities they tossed back at us.”


Aaron Stander points to photos taken of the McCormick Wilderness, in the Upper Peninsula. Part of his newest mystery, 'The Gales of November' takes place in the wilderness area.
Dan Wanschura

Maybe you recognize Aaron Stander as the voice of Michigan Writers on the Air. The show airs on IPR about every three months, and features Michigan authors and their books.

Aaron, too, is an author himself, and he just released a new mystery in his Ray Elkins series

The Accidentals are made up of Katie Larson, Sav Buist, and Michael Dause. The band recently announced a record label deal with Sony Music Masterworks.
Sony Music Masterworks

The Accidentals have announced a record deal with Sony Music Masterworks, which will distribute the group’s upcoming album on an international level.

The record label also has artists like Yo-Yo Ma, The Piano Guys, and Tall Heights under its name.

Photographer John Robert Williams shows a portrait he took of Gov. William Milliken. Williams recently donated his film collection to the Traverse Area District Library.
Dan Wanschura

John Robert Williams has been a professional photographer in Northern Michigan for over 40 years.

Recently, he donated his film collection to the Traverse Area District Library. It includes portraits of people, scenic landscapes, fine art shots, architecture, and much more.

 

 


A variety of plants play a large role in Christmas traditions around the world.
NPR

Red and green are the traditional Christmas colors. But why? How did those colors get that distinction? 

“Because Holly was red and green, we’ve accepted those as the two Christmas colors,” says Coggin Heeringa. 

 

A visitor stops to examine Rafael Hayashi's work featured during the opening recpetion of Project omni's second art exhibition. The paintings were removed from the exhibition after the opening reception.
Allen Kent Photography

Chris Sims doesn’t think that the Traverse City art scene is bad, it’s just that it can get a bit insulated.

“When you stick to just local only, you start to just sort of pull from each other,” he says. “That just sort of leads to the same outcome creatively.”

Chris is the founder of Prjct omni, an art project that features contemporary art from all around the world. Last Friday, Prjct omni’s second exhibit opened in the Warehouse MRKT in Traverse City. And while most of the response was very positive, some of the paintings got a few folks a little riled up. But Chris says even a negative reaction with art is better than no reaction at all.


Bill Church plays the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in Parallel 45 Theatre Company's version of 'A Christmas Carol in Prose.'
Parallel 45 Theatre Company

Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in the mid-19th century. 

Since then, the Christmas tale has become engrained in our everyday culture. There’s been film adaptations, operas, and countless stage versions of the story.

The name "Scrooge" has even become a term in our language, as a description for someone who is miserly.

But popularity comes with it’s downsides. For one, audiences know the story so well, they can forget the greater meaning of it. And elaborate set designs and huge casts can be distracting.

And that’s why for Parallel 45 Theatre Company, less is more when it comes to this Christmas classic.


The Grand Haven lighthouse and waves get a good dose of what Todd and Brad Reed call, "magic light."
Todd and Brad Reed Photography

A version of this piece originally aired in November 2015

Nature photographers are a special breed.

To get the perfect shot, they’re willing to go out in all sorts of weather conditions— even gale-force rain storms.

Todd and Brad Reed are familiar with braving harsh weather conditions. The father-son team owns a photo gallery in Ludington, and have a reputation for capturing nature’s beauty in all it's different phases. Recently, their work was featured in the fall issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine. 

The Reeds say a lot of their success comes from having a game-plan in place, before they ever step foot outside. Brad calls it previsualization.

“Laying in bed the night before a storm when we can’t sleep, we’re thinking about where on the beach is going to be a good spot,” Brad says. “We’re building pictures in our head. That makes us much more efficient when we get out and we’re doing the actual shooting.”


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