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.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Thu February 7, 2013

MSU Symphony plays Beethoven, "Kid," Adams

MSU Director of Orchestras, Kevin Noe.
Credit Courtesy / MSU College of Music

The MSU Symphony Orchestra’s next concert is Friday at Wharton Center. They’ll play Beethoven’s First Symphony, music from Aaron Copeland’s “Billy the Kid,” and “The Chairman Dances” by John Adams. Adams has described the piece as an “out take” from his opera, “Nixon in China.” WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with MSU Director of Orchestras Kevin Noe about the music.

NewsRoom
9:44 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Shatner Brings His World To Wharton

William Shatner
Credit Joan Marcus

William Shatner brings his one-man show to MSU's Wharton Center on January 24th. It's called "Shatner's World: We Just Live In It." WKAR's Melissa Benmark speaks with William Shatner via phone from California, about the show, what he's done in his 60-year career, and what projects he still hopes to do.




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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Raphael Talks About Alain de Botton's Newest Book

Book covers for Alain de Botton's
Credit Courtesy / Amazon

In our Under the Radar segment this month, something completely different. Reviewer Lev Raphael and WKAR’s Melissa Benmark talk about sex. In a G-rated kind of way.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

LSO To Play Brahms, "Red Violin"

Timothy Muffitt, Music Director and Conductor of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra.
Credit Courtesy photo / LSO

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra is resuming its 2012-2013 season with a concert featuring Brahms’ Symphony #1 and music of Corigliano from the movie “The Red Violin.” WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with conductor Timothy Muffitt for a preview.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri December 28, 2012

2012 A "Surreal" Year In Michigan Politics

The front of the Capitol building in Lansing.
Credit File photo / WKAR

As 2012 winds down, we’re looking back at some of the events and trends of the year. Most people are unlikely to remember 2012 as an uneventful year, politically—especially in Michigan. Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network has been covering Michigan politics for 25 years now, and he says it was a year that surprised even him.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Looking To A Michigan Tragedy For Perspective On Sandy Hook

Author Arnie Bernstein.
Credit Courtesy / University of Michigan Press

It’s been a week now since the deadly school shootings in Connecticut. People are still looking for answers, and trying to come to grips with what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. WKAR's Melissa Benmark talked to someone who has written extensively about the worst school massacre in the U. S. to date—one that happened in Bath, Michigan.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Raphael Reviews Pearl Harbor Book On 71st Anniversary of Attack

A detail of the book's cover.
Credit Courtesy / Amazon.com

Seventy-one years ago today, Japanese forces bombed the U. S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The event led directly to American entry into World War Two. On this anniversary, our book reviewer Lev Raphael talks about Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation Into War by Steven Gillon. He spoke with WKAR’s Melissa Benmark.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Food Bank Announces New Farming Program

Credit Logo courtesy / Greater Lansing Food Bank

WKAR'S Melissa Benmark spoke with Alex Bryan of the Greater Lansing Food Bank about a new program called Lansing Roots.  It will be a farm business incubator for people with limited resources.

NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Under The Radar: At Home With Edith Wharton

A detail of the book's cover.
Credit Courtesy photo / Amazon.com

This month’s “Under the Radar” segment features a beautiful book about a famous author’s home. Reviewer Lev Raphael spoke with WKAR’s Melissa Benmark about Edith Wharton at Home.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri November 16, 2012

MSU Symphony Plays Lorenz, Berlioz

MSU College of Music associate professor of composition, Ricardo Lorenz.
Credit Courtesy photo / MSU College of Music

The MSU Symphony Orchestra’s next concert at Wharton Center features two energetic and supernatural-sounding works.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Rayl To Conduct 'From London To Germany"

David Rayl, Director of Choral Programs at MSU's College of Music.
Credit Courtesy / MSU College of Music

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra's next concert features a collaboration with choirs from the MSU College of Music.  WKAR's Melissa Benmark spoke with MSU Director of Choral Programs, David Rayl, about the program, which features Brahms' "German Requiem" and Haydn's Symphony No. 104.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Election 2012: Ballot Props Cover Wide Range Of Issues

The international crossing at Detroit's Ambassador Bridge. The bridge's owners were behind several of the proposals on the 2012 ballott.
Credit File photo / WKAR

There are six statewide ballot proposals for Michigan voters to decide in the 2012 election. WKAR's Melissa Benmark spoke with the Michigan Public Radio Network’s State Capitol Bureau Chief, Rick Pluta about the ballot issues, starting with Proposal One.

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Election 2012
9:30 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Gov. Snyder Kicks Off Statewide Tour Opposing Proposed Amendments

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Credit File Photo / WKAR

Governor Rick Snyder sets off on a statewide tour Monday to talk about the November ballot. He’ll be urging people to vote “yes” on Proposal One and “no” on the other five ballot questions.

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NewsRoom
6:56 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Navigating 'La Mer' with MSU's Kevin Noe

MSU Director of Orchestras, Kevin Noe.
Credit Courtesy / MSU College of Music

The MSU Symphony Orchestra’s October 26 concert at Wharton Center features Mozart’s Haffner Symphony #35 and Debussy’s La Mer. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with MSU Director of Orchestras Kevin Noe about the program, and how he characterized the symphonies from this period of Mozart’s writing.

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Economic Evolution in the Great Lake State
12:00 am
Mon October 15, 2012

reWorking Michigan: Fall Apple Tradition Hit Hard

Michigan apples.
courtesy Michigan Apple Committee

Michigan apple farmers suffered their largest crop loss since the 1940's this year. Early spring warmth followed by hard frosts killed fruit tree buds. The harvest is not all in yet, but state officials predict a 90 percent reduction in apple yield. WKAR's Melissa Benmark spoke with Michigan Apple Committee executive director Diane Smith about how farmers are coping.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Under The Radar: Raphael Reviews “Companion To An Untold Story”

The cover of “Companion to an Untold Story.”
Courtesy Author's website

In our Under the Radar segment this month, Lev Raphael talks with WKAR’s Melissa Benmark about a thought-provoking book about grief from an MSU author.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri October 5, 2012

LSO Preview: Muffitt Talks About MasterWorks II

Lansing Symphony Orchestra Conductor Timothy Muffitt.
Courtesy Lansing Symphony Orchestra

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra plays its second concert of the season over the weekend at Wharton Center. Music Director and Conductor Timothy Muffitt spoke with WKAR's Melissa Benmark about the performance, starting with Mendelssohn's Overture, "Fingal's Cave."

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Under The Radar Examines Writer's Block

Cover art from Raphael's new book.
Courtesy Lev Raphael

WKAR's book reviewer Lev Raphael is also a writer. He spoke with Melissa Benmark about his newest project, which is a book to help writers beat writers’ block.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri September 14, 2012

LSO MasterWorks Season Begins with Votapek Tribute

LSO Music Director and Conductor Timothy Muffitt
Courtesy Lansing Symphony Orchestra

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra is beginning its 2012-2013 season with a celebration of pianist Ralph Votapek. WKAR's Melissa Benmark spoke with LSO music director and conductor Timothy Muffitt about the program.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri August 31, 2012

Under The Radar: Raphael Reviews Book About Borgia Family

Cover of "The Borgias And Their Enemies."
Courtesy Barnes and Noble

"Under the Radar" reviewer Lev Raphael has a political book for us in this political season. It’s about a powerful family dynasty in Italy during the Renaissance. He spoke with WKAR's Melissa Benmark.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri August 17, 2012

East Lansing OBOC To Read, Welcome Author Katherine Boo

A detail of the cover of "Beyond the Beautiful Forevers."
Courtesy Amazon.com

The annual One Book, One Community program, co-sponsored by the City of East Lansing and Michigan State University, encourages the city and university communities to read the same book and talk about it in a variety of settings. This fall’s selection is “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri August 10, 2012

GLFF To Honor Bluesman Johnnie Bassett

Michigan Heritage Award winner Johnnie Bassett
Ronald Eggleston

The Great Lakes Folk Festival is getting under way in East Lansing, with the music, dance, and cultural activities that have been a such an essential part of summer in mid-Michigan for 11 years. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark has the story of one of the Festival’s Heritage Award Winners.

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Election 2012
12:00 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Election 2012: Lansing Ballot Issues Focus on Council, Land Sales

Part of the ballot Lansing voters will see in Tuesday's primary election.
Courtesy WKAR

Michigan voters go to the polls on Tuesday to cast their votes in the state primary election.

WKAR's Melissa Benmark sat down recently with MLive.com Lansing bureau reporter Angela Wittrock.  They talked about  Lansing ballot proposals to sell the Waverly Golf Course, and to reduce the number of times the Lansing City Council meets each year.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Under The Radar: Raphael Reviews "Daisy Petals And Mushroom Clouds"

Part of the cover of "Daisy Petals And Mushroom Clouds."
Courtesy Amazon

WKAR's book reviewer Lev Raphael has a short political thriller this month. It's about an advertisement that possibly changed the course of history. He speaks with WKAR's Melissa Benmark.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri July 20, 2012

'Placemaking' Challenge To Begin In Mid-Michigan

File Photo WKAR

There's a new ‘placemaking’ project in the Lansing area. It’s called the Lighter Quicker Cheaper Challenge, and it’s run by the Greater Lansing Association of Realtors and several other state and national organizations. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with Gil White, past president of the Michigan Association of Realtors, about placemaking, and the program.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Common Ground Festival To Bring Music To Downtown Lansing

Courtesy Common Ground Music Festival

The 2012 Common Ground Music Festival starts next week on the banks of the Grand River in downtown Lansing. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with the co-executive director of the festival, Scott Keith, for a preview of the Festival.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri June 22, 2012

MPRN's Rick Pluta Shares Thoughts On Primary, Legislature, More

The Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta.
Melissa Benmark WKAR

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, and you hear his reports on state politics every morning here on 90.5.  Between an eventful few weeks in Lansing and the approach of the August primary, it seemed like a good time to get his perspective. He spoke with WKAR's Melissa Benmark.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Hayden Remembers 50th Anniversary of Port Huron Statement

Tom Hayden.
Courtesy photo

Fifty years ago this weekend, a group of students at a Michigan camp finished writing the Port Huron Statement, which was the manifesto for the activist group, Students for a Democratic Society. The principle author was Tom Hayden, who continued his activism throughout his life as well as being a legislator, teacher, and editor. WKAR's Melissa Benmark spoke with Hayden about the occasion.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri June 8, 2012

MSU Develops Flu Fighting Protein

MSU's Tim Whitehead.
Kurt Stepnitz

A Michigan State University scientist is the lead author of a paper that outlines MSU's work in manufacturing a protein that's showing promise as an effective agent against serious flu viruses.  MSU performed the study in partnership with the Baker Laboratory at the University of Washington and the Wilson Lab at the Scripps Research Institute. 

Tim Whitehead is an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science as well as Biosystems Engineering at MSU.  He spoke with WKAR's Melissa Benmark about the research.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Under The Radar: Raphael Reviews "The Murder of the Century"

"Under The Radar" reviewer Lev Raphael.
Courtesy Lev Raphael

Our book reviewer Lev Raphael is especially fond of the Gilded Age, and he has a review of Paul Collins' book, "The Murder of the Century." It's about a sensational murder in New York City in 1897.

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