Northern Michigan Arts & Culture

Northern Michigan is a place with incredible natural beauty and varied landscapes. It is also home to Interlochen Center for the Arts and several other longstanding cultural institutions. Little wonder the region has been so attractive to artists and musicians of all types. Here we bring you those stories. 

Rebecca Childs works on a painting in her '99 Paintings for Evelyn' series.
Dan Wanschura

Rebecca Childs’ grandmother-in-law painted and sketched right up until her death last year. Her name was Evelyn Henry, and she was 99 years old. And Evelyn changed the way Rebecca thought about her own art.

“You can’t have an excuse if a 99-year-old woman is sketching in her bed, you know, the last week of her life,” she says.

West Michigan is turning out many talented artists and many styles of music these days.

Editor and publisher John Sinkevics has been covering West Michigan’s music scene on his Local Spins website to share music he felt wasn’t getting covered enough by local publications.  

In her most recent book, author Mary Roach talks about the unique ways science and war interacts on a more personalized level.
Dan Wanschura

‘Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War,’ is the newest book by author Mary Roach. And in it's pages, she doesn’t talk about what you might think of when you hear the words “science” and “war.” 


Hiding people in barns, or stowing people in secret rooms while keeping the watchful eyes of law enforcement and bounty hunters away from their clandestine activities. That's our image of Michiganders who helped thousands of escaping slaves through the Underground Railroad.

But there are many more dimensions to the Underground Railroad in Michigan.

Historian Michelle S. Johnson has made it her mission to help us more fully understand Michigan's role in the Underground Railroad.

"Poetry is good food."

That's the lesson award-winning writer Peter Markus has been teaching to kids in Detroit for years.

He taught creative writing in the Detroit Public Schools and he is the senior writer with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project, which places writers in public schools to hold creative writing workshops.

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.

Jeff Kimpton concludes his 14-year presidency at Interlochen Center for the Arts on June 1.
Interlochen Center for the Arts

Jeff Kimpton is wrapping up his 14-year presidency at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Next week, he will retire and move to Minneapolis with his wife Julie.


Keith Taylor is a naturalist as well as a poet. Every summer, he spends several weeks at the University of Michigan’s Biological Station.

The poems in his newest collection contain a close, almost scientific, attention to detail. This is a collection that delves into the truth of beauty, evanescence and life through communion with the natural world.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra LIVE!

May 24, 2017

This Friday morning on Classical IPR, you can hear the Detroit Symphony Orchestra live in concert! Virtuosic Canadian violinist James Ehnes returns in the first Detroit performances of a concerto by celebrated orchestral and film composer James Newton Howard (The Hunger Games series), and guest conductor Cristian Măcelaru leads Rachmaninoff's romantic Second Symphony. The program airs at 10:40am.

Biss & Padmore Concert from Interlochen

May 19, 2017

Pianist Jonathan Biss and tenor Mark Padmore bring late works of Franz Schubert to the stage of Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall at Interlochen Center for the Arts. These world renowned artists perform Schubert’s last song cycle Schwanengesang and the Piano Sonata No. 20 in A Major.

'Hollywood and Crime' is a podcast produced by Jim Carpenter and Rebecca Reynolds of Leland. The couple is currently working on producing the second season of the podcast, which is due later this year.
Wondery

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.


Thomas generously gives us the whole messy life. This is deeply satisfying, but you have to pay attention.

 


The Flint Institute of Arts has been a center for arts and culture in Flint since it was established nearly 90 years ago, in 1928.

It's the second-largest art museum in Michigan and one of the biggest art museum schools in the nation. Today, the FIA is still growing and evolving.

Friday Concert: Schwanengesang Translation

May 12, 2017
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. 

 


Major General George Owen Squier. The name may not be familiar, but his work in the fields of aeronautics and radio communications rivaled that of better-known contemporaries like Alexander Bell and the Wright Brothers.

Squier, a native of Dryden, Michigan, was the first military officer to fly, in a plane piloted by Orville Wright. Today, his hometown hopes to build a statue in his honor.

 

In Detroit, there are all kinds of artists and art projects happening organically. But, the City of Detroit doesn’t really have a vehicle to encourage or develop an arts culture.

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.

A musical based on that story assumes Drood has been killed, and the students at Leland High School are performing it over the next two weekends.

An auto accident leaves a little girl with a shattered leg. She spends the next year bedridden in a body cast, wondering if she'll ever be back in school again, back playing hopscotch with her friends.

At the same time, she and her family are trying to build new lives. They are Cuban Jews who fled Castro's Cuba for a new life in New York City.

For this edition of Theater Talk on Stateside, David Kiley of Encore Michigan joins the show to talk about four productions currently on stage across Michigan. Two are Academy Award-nominated films adapted into musicals (and only one of them is authorized), one is a drama about a single mom's intimate encounter with a U.S. Senator, and another is a Tennessee Williams classic that's making a rare appearance in the state. 

Fleda Brown reads from her new book, The Woods are on Fire: New and Selected Poems. And poet, essayist, and fishing guide Chris Dombrowski discusses his memoir Body of Water: A Sage, a Seeker, and the World's Most Elusive Fish.

 


Your grandparents' wedding picture. The letters your dad wrote home while he served in World War II. Your great-grandfather's citizenship papers.

These are precious links to our history. History is not so much about the "big names." It's more about what happens to everyday men, women and children.

But how many of us know how to preserve these treasures, whether digital or on ancient paper?

Sarah Jarosz in Concert on Classical IPR

Apr 23, 2017

Singer songwriter Sarah Jarosz has performed for sold out audiences in the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland, and she’s been featured on A Prairie Home Companion. Her contemporary folk and American roots music just won two Grammy Awards.

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.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra LIVE this Friday

Apr 19, 2017

Leonard Slatkin conducts orchestral transcriptions of J.S. Bach, followed by two jazz-inspired DSO firsts!

Hear the orchestra's premiere performance of Shostakovich's Jazz Suite No. 1 and the debut of an all-new concerto by Grammy Award winning composer and pianist Michel Camilo. That's this Friday at 10:45 a.m. on Classical IPR.

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