Melissa Benmark

Morning Edition Host

Melissa Ingells Benmark is the host for Morning Edition and also produces features and interviews for the program, with an emphasis on the arts.

Melissa came to WKAR from WCMU in Mount Pleasant.

Ways To Connect

http://marcusbelgrave.net/

Detroit jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave died just over a week ago. Early in his career he backed many Motown musicians, and was in Ray Charles’ band. He later worked with many jazz greats including Max Roach and Charles Mingus. He also was a mentor to many of today’s best jazz musicians, including bassist Rodney Whitaker, who is the director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University.

Here on Current State we have devoted a lot of air time to people and groups looking to encourage small business startups in Michigan. Current State’s Melissa Benmark has the story of the founder of a small West Michigan startup, and his thoughts on how it became successful.

Courtesy Chateau Grand Traverse

There’s a unique new partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and one of the state’s best-known wineries. Chateau Grand Traverse is launching three wines with labels related to Michigan’s park experience, and will be donating part of the profits to one of three projects selected by people voting online.

Courtesy Whites Bridge Historical Society

A historic Michigan landmark in Ionia County is set for restoration soon. For close to 150 years, Whites Bridge near the small town of Smyrna in Ionia County served both a practical and picturesque function. Practical as a way for travelers in the area to cross the Flat River, and more recently as a scenic area popular with shutterbugs and young people getting their engagement photos taken. Two years ago, someone burned it down. But bridge lovers have raised enough money now for a complete rebuild.

Courtesy/Lansing Symphony Orchestra

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra closes out its season this Friday at Wharton Center. This concert features music from Stravinsky’s "Firebird" and pieces by Ravel and Rossini. It also features a new piece for piano and orchestra that area audiences haven’t heard yet.

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