Music

Crooner Johnny Mathis looks back on five-decade career

Oct 17, 2013
www.johnnymathis.com

Singing legend Johnny Mathis comes to MSU's Wharton Center tonight. His career began at age 19 and has spanned decades’ worth of popular favorites.

Wikimedia commons

In the early 1960’s, Mary Wells was the "Queen of Motown." But her life was not always so glamorous. She grew up in Detroit,  in the Black Bottom and Cass Corridor neighborhoods, yet she was determined to find a way into the music industry.

Musician Jon Brooks tests boundaries of 'folk' genre

Sep 27, 2013
Courtesy jonbrooks.ca

Canadian musician Jon Brooks will perform as part of the Pump House concert series in East Lansing on Saturday September 28th.

Current State #167 | September 26, 2013

Sep 26, 2013

Today on Current State: Cristo Rey Community Center's new Executive Director; Public Poetry Announcement; MSU Symphony opens new season; Voices of Experience series with 'Eternal General' Frank Kelley; and Banned Books Week.

WKAR File Photo

The MSU Community Music School is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this month.  We're joined by the school's executive director and associate dean for outreach and engagement, Rhonda Buckley. Also joining the conversation is of the school's bassoonist, Andrea Worful.

And live music throughout the show was provided by CMS performers Andrea Worful (bassoon), Cassandra Hibbard (clarinet), Maggie Gambill (flute), and Tess Miller (flute), Marissa Olin (flute). 

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The Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s first MasterWorks concert is Friday night at Wharton Center. It features music of Dvorak and Enescu and a modern percussion concerto by Jennifer Higdon.

 

WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with conductor Timothy Muffitt about the concert.

 

Courtesy MSU School of Music

 This summer, MSU assistant professor Etienne Charles debuted his fourth album, called "Creole Soul." It’s received favorable reviews from The New York Times and NPR, and spent some time high up on the jazz charts. Charles, who is also one of the MSU Professors of Jazz, will be playing some of his music at the Broad Art Museum on Thursday night.

 

Wikimedia Commons

Elvis Presley will be in Ionia this weekend, at least in spirit. The Michigan Elvis Presley Fan Club has arranged “a concert for the King” with several Elvis interpreters at the Ionia Theater on Sunday. Today is the 36th anniversary of Elvis' death. Yet many years on, he continues to attract devoted fans. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with Jennifer Thede, one of the fan club's co-founders.

Rapper Coolio coming to Lansing

Aug 7, 2013
Courtesy/coolioworld.com

Coolio got his start in the Los Angeles rap music scene in the late 80s and early 90s, and he hit it big when the producers of the movie “Dangerous Minds” chose his song “Gangsta’s Paradise” for the soundtrack.

It went to the top of the charts and win the Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance in 1996. In all, he’s sold 30-million records worldwide. He’ll be in Lansing for a concert at The Loft Thursday night.

The Bard Owls talk new album and folk music

Jul 22, 2013
Emanuele Berry

The loss of folk music in the face of popular music is happening worldwide, yet there are still young musicians who find their way into the genre. The East Lansing based band The Bard Owls is composed mostly of college students and recent graduates. They play old time folk music, as well as original songs. We sat down with the group to discuss their upcoming album “No Tracks.”

 

 

Young rock musicians get their shot on stage

Jul 10, 2013
theoutervibe.com

Traditionally, garages are the starting spot for budding rock stars, but for the last five years, the Michigan State University Community Music School has offered an alternative.

As a week-long event including nationally-known acts, Lansing’s Common Ground festival occupies a key place on the Lansing area festival calendar.

BOP (harvey) at Common Ground Tuesday

Jul 9, 2013
Courtesy of Common Ground Music Festival

BOP (harvey) is one of the Lansing area’s most popular bands ever. After a decade and a half apart, they’re playing together again and will appear at the Common Ground Music Festival on Tuesday.

Local band Lord Huron returns to Lansing

Jun 18, 2013
Courtesy of Lord Huron

Ben Schneider, Mark Bary and Tom Renauda from Okemos, along with Miguel Briseno of Eaton Rapids and Californian Karl Kerfoot have been making waves with their band Lord Huron.  Now based in Los Angeles, Lord Huron is touring to support their album "Lonesome Dreams."

Current State's Scott Pohl spoke with Ben Schneider about his music, and growing up in a media savvy household with his parents, well-known Lansing PR executive Sharon Emery and longtime Lansing State Journal columnist John Schneider.

Courtesy of the University of Michigan

It should come as no surprise that Kathryn Votapek is a musician, as both of her parents are pianists.  Her father, Ralph Votapek, was the first winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

But Kathryn and her musician brothers chose other instruments, and her career path led her to the music faculty at the University of Michigan, where she is a lecturer in violin.

 

Scott Pohl / WKAR

This weekend is the fourth annual Pumpstock music festival. The annual gathering in East Lansing’s Bailey Park features live American roots music and local food. Festival coordinator Dudley Smith, more commonly known as “Smitty,” and performer Elden Kelly joins Current State host Mark Bashore.  

For 15 years, Lansing-based Sergei Kvitko has been playing the organ at Lansing’s First Presbyterian Church. He also fills the roles of critically acclaimed pianist, composer, audio engineer and producer.

He's wrapped up a tour that ended with a Carnegie Hall appearance on May 23.

Current State #74 | April 25, 2013

Apr 25, 2013

Today on Current State: Macomb county first in country with fraud database; new book on Detroit Lions;  Kathryn Gray on Michigan's transportation overhaul; and Earl Nelson Singers come to Lansing.

Lansing's Earl Nelson Singers Celebrate 50 Years

Apr 25, 2013
michiganhistory.org

A notable Lansing-area choir is observing its 50th anniversary this year. The Earl Nelson Singers are celebrating half a century of spirituals with a concert in downtown Lansing on Monday. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark checked in with the director of the group and her husband, who’s a member, for some of their musical memories.

Courtesy of MSU College of Music

Latin IS America is a a celebration of the intersections between Latin American and U.S. culture. The festival started on April 15 and will close on April 27.

This Thursday, the event will feature the MSU Wind Symphony at Wharton Center. WKAR’s Peter Whorf previews the concert with MSU Director of Bands Kevin Sedatole.   

Flickr

Folk singer Tom Paxton recently said that he enjoys songwriting more than ever.  That’s especially noteworthy since he’s been doing that since the 60’s.  Then, Paxton was at the center of America’s folk revival, performing in Greenwich Village with the likes of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and others.  

Tom Paxton talks about singing, songwriting and his eventful musical career with Current State.

Current State #69 | April 18, 2013

Apr 18, 2013

Today on Current State: MSU's renewable energy plan; critical bacteria research; the impressive career of WKAR's Dick Estell; and pianist Bob Baldori.

w.r. richards/WKAR

Pianist Bob Baldori's musical career has led him to countless gigs with the likes of Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters.

In recent years, “Boogie Bob” has spent a lot of time playing boogie woogie piano music around the world with Bob Seeley. Their time together has been documented in the movie Boogie Stomp, which the East Lansing Film Society is screening this month.

 

Current State #64 | April 11, 2013

Apr 11, 2013

Today on Current State: Michigan Treasury reacts to tax collection criticism; preview of Latin IS America festival; and MSU and Lansing come together to cover Monteverdi's "Vespers of 1610." 

via Wikimedia Commons

This Sunday, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra joins MSU’s University Chorale for a performance of one of the first great “mega works” of classical music, Monteverdi’s “Vespers of 1610.” The performance is in downtown Lansing at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with David Rayl of the MSU College of Music about the concert. He’ll be conducting the orchestra and chorus Sunday.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S population is expected to increase by 90 million in the next 30 years. According to the book  "Growing a Better America: Smart, Strong, Sustainable,"  now is the time for the Untied State’s to plan for that growth.  The books author,  Chuck Leveall,  is a conservationist, confounder of the Mother Nature Network,  tree farm owner and rock-n- roll star. He’s toured with Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, George Harrison and many others. Leavell  discusses his thoughts on growth models, conservation and music.


MSU opera theater presents 'A Little Night Music'

Apr 4, 2013
Via Flicker

  MSU Opera Theater presents the Stephen Sondheim classic "A Little Night Music," Friday-Sunday April 5-7.  MSU Opera Theater director and Associate Professor of voice Melanie Helston speaks with WKAR’s Peter Whorf.

Current State #54 | March 28, 2013

Mar 28, 2013

Today on Current State: mother-daughter duo discuss their political involvement; winning Detroit Tigers' influence in 1968; Stations of the Cross reenactment in Lansing; and flutist Sir James Galway.

World-famous flutist Sir James Galway

Mar 28, 2013

  World-renown flutist James Galway comes to Michigan State's Wharton Center Thursday, March 28.  The legendary musician will bring his unique blend of classical, Irish and jazz-influenced repertoire to mid-Michigan fans.  WKAR’s Peter Whorf previews the concert and talks with Sir James about his musical and personal interests.  

  Tomorrow morning, the spring equinox occurs just after 7 a.m Eastern Time.

Diverse cultures throughout history have marked the passing of the seasons with music and artistic expression.

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