Encore April 2020

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Samantha Irby

April 2020 April 2020

Edward Callahan’s CD Hits a High Note

The Vision Behind Colleen Woolpert’s Art

Meet Chris Praedl

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

Life Lessons Future Vets Learn by Doing

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Samantha Irby

Edward Callahan’s CD Hits a High Note

The Vision Behind Colleen Woolpert’s Art

April 2020

Meet Chris Praedl

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

Life Lessons Future Vets Learn by Doing

Austen, Jorden and Branden DeHaan with their father, DRS founder, Robert DeHaan


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Contributing Writers

katie houston, zoe jackson, chris killian, lisa mackinder

Copy Editor/ Poetry Editor


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Advertising Sales

Constance Brown Hearing Centers A Higher Degree of Hearing Care

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The staff at Encore welcomes written comment from readers, and articles and poems for submission with no obligation to print or return them. To learn more about us or to comment, visit encorekalamazoo.com. Encore subscription rates: one year $36, two years $70. Current single issue and newsstand $4, $10 by mail. Back issues $6, $12 by mail. Advertising rates on request. Closing date for space is 28 days prior to publication date. Final date for print-ready copy is 21 days prior to publication date. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by those interviewed and published here do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Encore Magazine or the official policies, owners or employees of Encore Publications.


From the Editor I

don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy to see the backside of March. It can be a blustery month to begin with, but the storminess that came with the coronavirus, rollercoaster financial markets and general unease of the state of our nation and world left me feeling like crawling under the covers and mumbling, “Wake me when it’s over.” But, like daffodils and sunshine, April is here, promising warmth and optimism. That’s how this month’s issue of Encore feels too. We’ve got stories that make you feel happy and ready to re-embrace the world. Take our cover story on veterinarian and high school teacher Noreen Heikes, who is teaching her students more than just the basics of animal health care. She is giving them valuable life lessons and expanding their worldview through a yearly trip to Africa, where they work on wild animals such as hippos, antelope and giraffes. We also meet Samantha Irby, a comedian, blogger and author who now calls Kalamazoo home. Her third book, Wow, No Thank You, looks at her transition to life in a “Blue town in the middle of a Red state” and her burgeoning career. Speaking of burgeoning careers, writer Chris Killian profiles Edward Callahan, a gifted pianist whose first album, The Minor Keys, topped the iTunes charts when it was released in December. A former Kalamazooan who now lives in New York City, Callahan will return home for a concert this summer that he hopes will inspire others to pursue their dreams. In addition, this issue also profiles artist Colleen Woolpert and Kalamazoo City Commissioner Chris Praedl. We hope you find Encore’s April issue a welcome refuge from all the noise and scariness of the last few months. We invite you to sit down, take a moment and savor it.

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Apr il 2020

FEATURE Life Lessons

Whether on the farm or in Africa, high school teacher Noreen Heikes makes aspiring vets learn by doing


DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor 8 Contributors Up Front


First Things — A round-up of happenings in SW Michigan

14 Samantha Irby — The comedian and author’s new book, Wow, No Thank You, serves up lighter tone


Back Story

Meet Chris Praedl — Kalamazoo’s youngest commissioner balances family, work and civic service

ARTS 20 Making the Invisible Visible — Colleen Woolpert’s art and invention inspired by sight 32 No Minor Success — Pianist Edward Callahan’s first CD striking the right chords 36 Events of Note 43 Poetry

On the cover: Vicksburg High School agri-science teacher and veterinarian Noreen Heikes, center, watches as student Mikaylen Svoboda bandages a mock injury on an animal model in class. Photo by Brian K. Powers

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CONTRIBUTORS ENCORE UPCOMING SHOWS April 4 Sometime in June April 18 The Incognito Detective Service

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Katie Houston

Katie's niece who lives in Chicago is a pal of Samantha Irby, and a social-media encounter led Katie to read Irby’s We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. Katie was geeked to learn that Sam lived in Kalamazoo and to meet her in real life at This is a Bookstore in 2019, at a screening of Shrill, the Hulu series for which Sam was part of the writing team. Katie has since given We Are Never Meeting in Real Life to several friends, and her autographed copy is a treasured possession. Katie is a Kalamazoobased freelance writer.

Chris Killian

Chris has been a bit focused lately on the sense of sight in his stories for Encore. For March’s issue, he wrote about visually impaired artist Aaron Shafer, and this month Chris brings readers to the story of Colleen Woolpert, an artist whose work is all about vision. Her stereographs and patented TwinScope Viewer were inspired by her twin sister, who has a vision deficit. “I didn’t think a lot about vision before these two stories, but both Colleen and Aaron provide a unique perspective on just what sight is,” Chris says.

Lisa Mackinder

For this month’s issue, Lisa sat down with Noreen Heikes, a veterinarian and Vicksburg Community Schools agri-science teacher, to learn about her experience taking students to Africa to work on large animals. “It’s interesting enough to hear about how Dr. Heikes and her students work with antelope, elephants and hippos,” Lisa says, “but then you discover that she employs hands-on learning in everything — such as how students take care of classroom cats and go to Gull Meadow Farms to administer things like hoof trimming and vaccinations.” Lisa is a frequent contributor to Encore.

Zoe Jackson

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Zoe loves reading and writing about what’s happening behind the scenes in politics. While questions about family life are often reserved for female politicians, for this month’s Back Story feature Zoe enjoyed talking to Kalamazoo City Commissioner Chris Praedel about his family and how he balances his many commitments. Zoe is a senior at Western Michigan University whose work has appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Flint Journal and the Western Herald and on radio station WMUK.

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First Things

Please Note: Due to the COVID–19 virus, some of these events may have been cancelled after press time. Please check with the venue and organizations for up-to-date information.

Something Poetic

Festival celebrates local writers Local poets are the focus of the 2020 Kalamazoo Poetry Festival, to be held April 18 with two events. The first event, titled Celebration of Community Poets, will feature at least 20 local poets presenting their works, including author and poet Bonnie Jo Campbell. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park St., and will be emceed by spoken-word artist Ed Genesis. An open-mic event will follow at 8 p.m. at Fire, 1249 Portage St., emceed by Dana Hudson (aka Great Dane), author of the poetry chapbook Testimony and host of “For the Good” Open Mic at First Baptist Church, a monthly event that features activists and artists who use their platform to create conversations about social change. For more information, visit the website kalamazoopoetryfestival.com.

Something Good

Attend a flower-focused fundraiser For those of us who can’t wait to frolic among flowers that are still a few months away, the Comstock Community Center’s annual Ready, Set, Grow! event, rescheduled from April to June 11, is the answer. This annual fundraiser is held among the beautiful flora of River Street Flowerland, 1300 River St., from 5:30-8 p.m. and will feature food, a cash bar, games and prizes, plus mystery boxes to bid on. The proceeds will benefit the Comstock center, which provides recreation and health and human services to families, youth and seniors in Kalamazoo County. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling 345-8556 or visiting comstockcc.com. 10 | ENCORE APRIL 2020


Something Reimagined KIA galleries get redesign

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is reinstalling nearly 5,000 artworks from its permanent collection in its lower-level galleries this month, and its new exhibition Unveiling American Genius will illuminate the artwork the museum has acquired over its 95 years. The galleries will be organized thematically, with an eye toward sharing the perspectives of a wide range of artists who have contributed to the story of art in America. According to the KIA, within the themes of Becoming U.S., Design and Purpose and Rediscovering Abstraction, visitors will explore how artists across time and genres have conveyed our nation’s triumphs, desires and struggles for progress. The exhibition opens April 18, with free admission to the museum that day as part of the KIA’s annual “Everyone’s a Member Day.” In addition, visitors can take advantage of a 10 percent discount on Gallery Shop purchases and member rates for a summer class, camp or workshop with on-site registration. For more information, visit kiarts.org.

Something Legendary

Gordon Lightfoot comes to Miller There are few Michiganders who don’t know the name Gordon Lightfoot, famous in these parts for his 1976 ballad “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." That was far from Lightfoot’s only hit, and you can hear all of them when he comes to Miller Auditorium May 13. Through a special promotion, Encore readers can get a 15 percent discount on tickets. The concert, Gordon Lightfoot in Concert: The Legend Lives On, will feature his well-known hits, including “Early Morning Rain,” “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Carefree Highway,” “Sundown,” and "Rainy Day People," as well as some deep album cuts for die-hard fanatics, all of which are woven together with some of Lightfoot's own behindthe-scenes stories and personal anecdotes about his historic 50-year musical career. The show begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are $53—$83. Get the Encore discount by purchasing through this link: tickets.millerauditorium. com/17204?promo=encore

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Something Inspiring

Singer and poet combine forces If you need some words of wisdom (and who doesn’t these days?), you can find them April 9 at a benefit event featuring Michigan singer-songwriter May Erlewine and poet and spiritual author Mark Nepo. The Transformations Spirituality Center is hosting the performance, titled “Words of Wisdom with Poetry and Song,” at 7 p.m. at the Gull Lake United Methodist Church, 8640 Gull Road, Richland. Nepo is the bestselling author of 20 books, including The Book of Awakening and 14 audio projects. Erlewine is a performer and prolific songwriter with more than 15 albums of original work since the early 2000s. Tickets for the event are $25 and $40, and proceeds benefit the Transformations Spirituality Center. To register and purchase tickets, visit tinyurl.com/tf6dn8x.

Something Furry

SPCA hosts Puppy and Kitten Shower If it’s spring, then it is kitten and puppy season and the SPCA of Southwest Michigan is anticipating the stork will drop off an abundance of the furry newborns for care at the animal rescue organization’s facility. To prepare, the SPCA is hosting a Puppy and Kitten Shower from noon to 3 p.m. April 18 at its facility, 6955 West KL Ave., to help the shelter stock up on supplies for the new arrivals. The party will include games, crafts, contests and raffles. Attendees are asked to bring a gift of kitten or puppy supplies. If you don’t know what to bring, check out the SPCA’s “baby registry” at tinyurl.com/tqmqdse or call 344-1474.

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Something Sporty

Author to talk about ship dogs Meet

the Kalamazoo author of the children’s book Sport: Ship Dog of the Great Lakes when Pamela Cameron presents a program at 3 p.m. April 6 at the Kalamazoo Public Library’s Oshtemo Branch. Sport was named a 2020 Notable Book by the Library of Michigan. It tells the story of a Newfoundland-retriever-mix puppy that is plucked from the Milwaukee River and becomes a ship dog on a Great Lakes lighthouse tender in the early 20th century. Spencer, a Newfoundland trained as a water rescue dog, will be a special guest at the event. For more information, visit kpl.gov.

Something Dramatic Family saga on stage in April

If you need a little family dysfunction this month, the Civic Reader’s Theatre has got you covered with its production of August: Osage County, running April 17-26 at the Carver Center Studio. This Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning drama by Tony S. Letts focuses on the dark side of a Midwestern American family and its vanished father, pill-popping mother and three sisters harboring shady little secrets. Because of its mature content, this play is recommended for ages 16 and older. Show times are 7:30 p.m. April 17, 18, 24 and 25 and 2 p.m. April 19 and 26. Tickets are $15. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit kazoocivic.com or call 343-1313.

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‘Wow, No Thank You’

Samantha Irby’s new book serves up lighter tone by



amantha Irby is a funny person, but she’ll tell you she’s not a happy one. Even though her success is growing, she’s nervous about paychecks. Her work was published in The New Yorker’s Jan. 27 edition, but she wants to manage expectations. “Not everything I do will be New Yorker quality,” she cautions. “I mean, enjoy the ride until you unfollow me in protest.” She chuckles, musing that her readers and The New Yorker’s might not have previously overlapped. Irby, a comedian and author who began the blog bitchesgottaeat in 2009, is known for her blunt candor about her body, her health (emotional and physical), and sex with men and women. She has a social media following on Twitter and Instagram that tops 114,000, and her third book of essays, Wow, No Thank You, was released last month on the heels of 2017’s bestselling We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. Irby’s first book, Meaty, was published in 2013. Of Wow, No Thank You, she says, “I think it’s better-written than the first two. I’m a tiny bit smarter. You can tell I’ve read more books.” We Are Never Meeting in Real Life chronicles the start of a relationship that resulted in her marriage to school social worker Kirsten Jennings and a move to Kalamazoo in 2016. The book became a

Ted Beranis

Comedian, blogger, author and fairly recent Kalamazoo resident Samantha Irby released her third book, Wow, No Thank You, last month.

14 | ENCORE APRIL 2020


New York Times bestseller. Irby says her new book is a little lighter in tone. In Wow, No Thank You, Irby explores life, love, and work living in “a Blue town in a Red State.” The new collection documents bad dates with new friends, weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with “TV executives slash amateur astrologers,” while being a “cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person,” “with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees,” who still hides past due bills under her pillow. “I wanted to write something that was — maybe not happy, I’m not a happy type — but funny all the way through. I’ve exhausted the sad musings about my dead parents for the moment, so I don’t think there’s anything that would make you cry. I wanted it to be funny and light but still be me.” Irby spent her February birthday, her 40th, partying with friends in Detroit and will soon be promoting her new book on a spring tour that will take her to both coasts. Irby’s writing, though, has transcended the page and blog posts. Last year she helped write the first season of the show Shrill (starring Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant), now in its second season on Hulu. Fans might remember the so-called “Fat Babe Pool Party” episode written by Irby, in which Bryant’s character Annie is stunned, in a good way, when she attends a pool party — in a blouse and slacks, no less — filled with women of ample sizes in all kinds of swimsuits.

Irby is currently in Chicago, working as a member of the writing team for the second season of Showtime’s Work in Progress. The show was created by and stars Chicago sketch comedian Abby McEnany. Its promotional blurb says, “Abby is a 45-year-old self-identified fat, queer dyke whose misfortune and despair unexpectedly lead her to a vibrantly transformative relationship.” Though that storyline parallels Irby’s own story a bit, don’t expect Irby to talk about vibrantly transformative relationships. Readers instead can find a flash of straightforward sincerity buried inside the pages of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life when she writes about her relationship. “This feels safe, and steadfast, and predictable. And secure. It's boring … And it's easily the best thing I've ever felt,” she writes. Irby is also typically modest about her contributions to Work in Progress. “I’m happy to be in the room and just do my best to be funny and charming — we’ll see if I overestimate my contributions.” Irby’s contributions to television may include a third TV show. A pilot script developed with Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson that’s based on Irby’s first book, Meaty, is in development with Comedy Central. “It sounds exciting, but it’s been in development for four years,” Irby says. “We’re waiting to hear whether they like the pilot and if they want the show. So I have a potential show that maybe someday will be real.”

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Irby’s self-deprecation infuses her honest, edgy musings, whether on food, poverty, city life, being a queer woman of color and of ample size, or coping with chronic illness. But Irby isn’t always the target of her own dismay. An essay on her challenges with Crohn’s disease — a painful ailment that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract — appeared in the 2020 anthology Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World. The piece was reprinted on both Elle.com and Prevention.com. In it, Irby lays out her ongoing frustration and anger with one clinician after another who discounts and dismisses her reporting of her physical pain. “Imagine having to convince someone, in an emergency room of all places, that you are hurting,” she writes. “How do you prove that it feels like your internal organs are in a vise, and why is your word not good enough? I’m an expert in one thing: me. You’re gonna have to trust that I know what I’m talking about.” By the way, she has been pleased with the clinicians she’s found in Kalamazoo, a city that has surprised her with all it has to

Eva Blue


Book Release Party What: Samantha Irby presents her newest book, Wow, No Thank You When: 7–8 p.m. April 3 Where: This is a Bookstore, 3019 Oakland Drive

offer. Yet she feels she has yet to thoroughly explore these offerings because of her travel and her homebody nature. What else is on the horizon? Maybe someday she’ll write a novel, she says, but “I don’t know if that’ll ever happen for me. Maybe I’m just a one-trick pony. Plus, I really love to get back in my own bed. I look forward to it as soon as I get up.”

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‘Making the Invisible Visible’

Colleen Woolpert’s art and invention inspired by sight by


photos by



he monster seemed to jump out of the screen. Shocked and surprised, Colleen Woolpert leapt backwards, but her sister, Rani, never moved. The two of them, twins and at the time 11 years old, were watching Creature from the Black Lagoon through 3-D glasses at their grandmother’s home. In that moment that Gill-Man lunged toward them, Rani’s strabismus — a visual impairment that affects depth perception and the ability to see in three dimensions —was revealed. It was also the genesis of Woolpert’s fascination with the perception of sight. “I wanted to get behind her eyes,” she says. That motivation set Woolpert off on a journey that has taken her across the U.S. following her curiosities and exploring the meaning of vision “from visual perception itself to abstract concepts like imagination, wonder, and doubt,” she says. Her fascination with sight has infiltrated her life: as a photographer and artist, a volunteer helping the visually impaired create art and an audio describer for theater performances.

How to see in stereo Woolpert is used to forging new paths. In 2000, she chanced upon a vintage stereoscope at a Kalamazoo antique store and bought it for Rani, thinking it might help her sister see the world in 3-D. She bought another for herself and began collecting stereographs because “they were cool.” Stereographs are an early form of threedimensional photographs that were popular in the late 1800s. Two images — right-eye and left-eye views of the same scene — are brought together as a three-dimensional image through a special viewer (think the more modern-day Viewmaster). 20 | ENCORE APRIL 2020

“Stereographs are the little rebel of photography,” Woolpert says. “They're like photos but not photos. They're art objects and they are graphic design because the mount that's around the photographs can be really beautiful too. The art world doesn't know what to do with them. The photography world doesn't even know what to do with them.” But Woolpert did. Stereographs became the focus of her ambitious art project TwinScope, which has brought stereographs

Clockwise from above: Colleen Woolpert holds her TwinScope Viewer which she designed and manufactures in a converted breakfast nook off her kitchen; straight on and profile views of the TwinScope Viewer which is made with pressure-cast rubber, hardwoods, glass optics and stainless steel hardware; and Woolpert holding her patent on the day it was awarded.

to contemporary audiences through multiple exhibitions and workshops. But in order to undertake the project, Woolpert had to expand her resume a bit and become an inventor.


“Stereographs are challenging to display,” Woolpert says, explaining that a stereoscope is required to see the images as they were meant to be viewed. Unfortunately, antique stereoscopes — handheld viewers to which the stereographs are mounted — didn’t lend themselves well to wall-mounted gallery displays.

“In 2010, I was in graduate school and had made a series of stereographic portraits of my twin sister, and I called them Red Twin Blue Twin and I wanted to put them on display but couldn't find any viewers that would work in the context of a wall display,” she says. So she made her own. Her patented TwinScope Viewer, which she handcrafts in the breakfast nook of her Stuart Avenue home, is composed of wood, custom ground lenses and cast rubber and allows audiences to view historic images that come into three-dimensional focus as the viewer moves the images closer to the device. For exhibitions it is attached to a chain so it can be carried by a viewer from stereograph to stereograph. Woolpert began using the TwinScope Viewer exhibition stereoscope for her own exhibits, and it caught the attention of museums, collectors and artists from around the world. She has made and sold more than 100 TwinScope Viewers. Among the

purchasers were the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. But the TwinScope Viewer is more than just a visual tool. It is the critical ingredient in Woolpert’s TwinScope project, in which she curates exhibitions of historic stereographic images as well as those she creates herself to “promote the appreciation and display of stereographs.” “This is the earliest form of virtual reality,” Woolpert says. “I’d like to help facilitate history coming alive. It’s as if you are witnessing people looking back at you from across time and space.” Since 2012, the TwinScope Viewer has facilitated stereograph viewing of more than two dozen exhibitions, including those Woolpert has curated in New York, Illinois and Michigan. She has also presented workshops in Texas and Vermont on how to make stereographs. “Whether I am taking stereographs out of an archive or curating stereographic work, I w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 21


am elevating stereographs as an art form,” she says.

Kalamazoo in 3-D Recently Woolpert turned her TwinScope efforts on a subject close to home. With support from a Kalamazoo Artistic Development Initiative grant from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, she developed In-Depth Kalamazoo, a series of three sitespecific exhibitions featuring stereographs of Kalamazoo from the late 19th century, viewable with TwinScope Viewers. The first In-Depth Kalamazoo exhibition, titled Our City, opened in November at the Kalamazoo Public Library and featured

images of downtown Kalamazoo in the late 1800s. The library has since acquired the exhibition for permanent display in its Local History Room. The second exhibition, Life of the Mind, ran in February at Western Michigan University’s Zhang Legacy Collections Center and featured scenes from the former Michigan Asylum for the Insane, now the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. The third exhibition — dubbed Hey, Ladies! — opens May 1 at the Ladies’ Library Association building. It will focus on women’s Clockwise from above: An image from Woolpert’s Red Twin Blue Twin (Video Test 1), 2010; Parson's Business College, stereograph by Colleen Woolpert from glass plate negative by Wallace White, 2019/1873-1882 from the "In-Depth Kalamazoo: Our City" exhibit; and Red Twin Blue Twin (Stereograph No. 7 & TwinScope Viewer), 2017. 22 | ENCORE APRIL 2020


identity in the late 19th century and include historic stereographs of the local building. A graduate of Western Michigan University, Woolpert had her own photography business in Kalamazoo in the mid-1990s but left town for 14 years, living in various places, including the East Coast and the Pacific Northwest, before returning in 2016. “There is a real passion for the arts in this community,” she says. “My passion for art was developed on all of my travels, but it was born in Kalamazoo.”

in black vinyl, with a cutout circle in the center, its “screen” full of snowy static. It’s how a blind man described his vision to Woolpert, she says.

Aiding the blind Woolpert’s time in Seattle also led her to a side job as an audio describer for blind patrons at theater productions. She trained to be an audio describer in Seattle and is now using those skills at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre. An audio describer is a bit like a sports announcer who describes a game’s plays; through a headset, theater patrons hear Woolpert describing the production in their left ear. “I go to a technical or dress rehearsal to watch the performance and then watch a video of it at home to write a script that essentially describes what's visual in the play that would be important to know. It could be costume props, action, facial expressions, gestures,” she explains. “You have to fit this verbal description between moments of dialogue. It can be really tricky.” Summing up the work she does as a photographer, artist and audio describer, Woolpert says, “A lot of what I do is making the invisible visible, making a path to interact with what’s not seen.”

Challenging perceptions There is an intentional motivation in much of Woolpert’s art to turn visual disability on its head and challenge the perceptions the sighted have of the non-sighted. Scattered around her studio are works from her earlier Persistence of Vision project, which was the result of her time working as a volunteer with a tactile art class for blind artists in Seattle from 2012–13. Persistence of Vision comprises interactive installations and objects, photography and video that explore “how we visualize the unseen and navigate the unknown and reframe disability,” she says. One creation includes a clay face selfportrait hand-sculpted by a blind woman who chose not to add the eyes. Another is a small “TV”: The front of the object is covered

Hey, Ladies! Exhibition What: A 3-D photography exhibit focusing on women’s identity in the late 19th century and including historic stereographs of the local Ladies' Library Association building. When: O pening reception, 5–8 p.m. May 1, during Art Hop Where: Ladies' Library Association, 333 S. Park St.

Ask ASKQ. What are

Please send your questions to:

Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A. Q. MICHAEL J. WILLIS, J.D., C.P.A., WILLIS LAW

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LAWYER A. First, consider that any trust you establish for someone else will be proLAWYER

tected from your creditors and also the creditors of the beneficiary for whom you establish the trust. As it relates to options for maintaining use of the assets for yourself, if one is married the most simple protection under Michigan law is to not own the assets yourself but to transfer the assets to your spouse. Furdown at the nursing home. certain Is that true? assets like real estate and stocks may be owned with your spouse ther, Yes. Most often when folks talk on trust planning, they are inoftenwhat isfact, called a “tenancy referencing a revocable trust. folks In theplanning, case probably more by the entirety” holding. In the former situation, Yes. Most when talk that on is trust they are than 99% aofrevocable theittime. A revocable trust law generally would require a creditor referencing trust. In fact, thatunder is theMichigan case probably more of your spouse to collect on the assets. In the latter is set upofonly avoid probate--that’s its onlyMichigan benefit. law However, there than 99% the to time. A revocable trust generally situation, it under would require a creditor of both you and your spouse to collect on trustprobate--that’s for persons inits your that can is issetan upirrevocable only to avoid only circumstances benefit. However, therebe the assets. The level of planning under Michigan law involves a limited with yourfor assets to the extent theynext exceed that the can protected is established an irrevocable trust persons in your circumstances be amount (which under Michigan law will cap at a little over $125,000). established with liability your assets to the extent they exceed the protected if you are highly concerned about potential creditors company. Finally, If the trust is irrevocable and the areateffectively established in an amount (which under Michigan lawassets will cap a little over $125,000). instreamthe future, you might consider a domestic asset protection trust. Although annuity back you per terms of the trust, in then If the trust income is irrevocable and thetoassets are the effectively established an in such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable neither you nor closely related to you may be trustee, you may mainannuity income stream back to you per the termsanyone of the trust, then in asset, but instead an and thereby exemptafor Medicaid such a circumstance theincome trust willstream no longer be considered countable tain significant rights under the asset protection trust. purposes. This is a sophisticated planning technique, and I highly

the best ways to Q. Michael J. Willis,my J.D., C.P.A. protect assets Q. Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A. from potentialA. creditors? A. MICHAEL J. WILLIS, J.D., C.P.A., WILLIS LAW

J. WILLIS, J.D., C.P.A., Please sendMICHAEL your questions to: WILLIS LAW

My husband is going into a nursing home. been your told it questions is PleaseI’vesend

Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A. possible for me to create a trust and protect myWillis Lawthe spend assets from Willis Willis Law Law 491 West South Street down at the nursing home. Is that true? 491 West South Street Willis Law MI 49007 Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 491 West South Street 269.492.1040 269.492.1040 491 West South Street A. Yes. Most often when folks talk onKalamazoo, trust planning, MI they 49007 are www.willis.law www.willis.law referencing a revocable trust. In fact, that is269.492.1040 the case probably more than 99% of the time. A revocable trust under Michigan law generally Kalamazoo, MI 49007 www.willis.law is set up only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there is an irrevocable trust for persons in your circumstances that can be 269.492.1040 established with your assets to the extent they exceed the protected (which under Michigan law will cap at a little over $125,000). www.willis.law amount If the trust is irrevocable and the assets are effectively established in an

Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, is licensed to practice law in Florida and Michigan, and is registered as a certified public accountant in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century,


annuity income stream back to you per the terms of the trust, then in such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable asset, but instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid purposes. This is a sophisticated planning technique, and I highly encourage you to seek counsel before implementing this technique or any other Medicaid planning.


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asset, but instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid encourage you to seek counsel before implementing this technique or


in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century, signifies thatisantheattorney hasPartner reachedofthe heights professional excellenceatand is recognized the highest of and skillMichigan, and integrity. is listed inasthe Best Lawyers America. Michael J. Willis Managing Willis Law, of Attorneys and Counselors Law, is licensed toforpractice law inlevels Florida and isHeregistered a certified publicinaccountant in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century, signifies that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America.


This sophisticated planning technique, and I highly signifies that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America. Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, is licensedpurposes. toany practice lawisinaFlorida and Michigan, and is registered as a certified public accountant in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent other Medicaid to seekplanning. counsel before technique Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyersencourage for over ayou century, signifies that animplementing attorney hasthis reached theorheights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America. otheratMedicaid Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys any and Counselors Law, is licensed planning. to practice law in Florida and Michigan, and is registered as a certified public accountant

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 23


Brian Powers


24 | ENCORE APRIL 2020

High school teacher helps aspiring vets learn by doing




From left, students Brianna Petersen, Jordan Woodrum and Hailee Larabee practice their animal first aid as teacher Noreen Heikes observes.

ne day in 2018, while Vicksburg teacher and veterinarian Noreen Heikes and some of her students were out horseback riding in Africa, they came across what for them was an extraordinary sight: three giraffes eating from a tree. This experience was surreal, to say the least, says Heikes, a Vicksburg Community Schools agri-science teacher. “Are we really in Africa standing on this red dirt in the bush nose-to-nose with giraffe knees?” Heikes says she remembers thinking. They were. In the town of Hoedspruit, South Africa, to be precise. Their journey was sparked in the fall of 2017 when Heikes posted a message on her class’s website floating the idea of taking a trip abroad. Her students — part of the KRESA Education for Employment (EFE) veterinary science program for high school students — latched onto the idea. Of the suggested locations, they chose Africa, and told Heikes they wanted to work on large animals such as elephants and rhinos, says one of those students, Brooklyn Joslyn, now 20. “I was definitely one of the students who was like, ‘We need to do this one (Africa),’” says Joslyn. Heikes was surprised by their choice, but she jumped in to support it. “My first reaction was: ‘That’s a big want,’” Heikes admits. “But I tell them, ‘You need to have big dreams and work hard enough to make them come true’ — which they did.” The 55-year-old, who is also a veterinarian at Denney Veterinary Services in Vicksburg, says she became a teacher because she knew Chris Rohwer, who in 1999 established the EFE veterinary science program. When Rohwer decided to retire from heading the program, he approached Heikes about taking over.

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 25

“I have a strong suspicion I was the only applicant,” Heikes admits. She grins and then adds, “But that turned out to be fine because I loved it from the beginning.”

Learning life skills From the start, the class’s two-week South Africa trip was about more than working with animals. Heikes made it a lesson in life skills, acting as an adviser while the students researched programs and options and encouraging them “to find their own answers.” “‘She’ll never answer your question with an answer; she’ll always ask you another question,’” Heikes says, imitating her students. She laughs and adds, “But eventually they’ll get it (the answer). My goal is to make them able to solve problems. So if the problem is ‘How do I get to Africa?’ it’s a big one, but it can be solved.” It took Joslyn and the other students nearly an entire school year to plan the trip, as they met with Heikes monthly to discuss logistics. “About the planes, where we were staying, who we were working with, so it was a lot,” Joslyn says, but “it was worth it.” “These are high school seniors,” Heikes says. “We’re going to throw them out in a year and ask them to function in the big world, so I think they need a little practice.” So far, there have been two South Africa journeys — Heikes took six EFE students there in July 2018 and another six in June 2019. This summer Heikes will take a group of 10 to Africa. For the first two trips, Heikes met her students at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and, rather than direct them where to go, let them figure it out. “‘If you’re about to do something dangerous or stupid, I would tell you — loudly,’” Heikes says she assured them. “”But you can figure this out. Airports are made for people who don’t know where they’re going.’ “They need to know how to do it for themselves, and my biggest thing they know is they can do it for themselves,” Heikes says. Joslyn says the trip definitely built her confidence. “If you’re going to go on a trip and you’re hoping to be more well-rounded at the end, this is the one for you,” she says.

26 | ENCORE APRIL 2020

In 2019, the group landed at Dubai International Airport for a layover, and Heikes urged the students to sit back and observe what she describes as “a place where Europe, Africa and Asia all meet.” “‘What’s that dome thing with an arrow?’” Heikes says they asked. “I said ‘That tells you what way Mecca is.’ “Minds blown,” she says, describing their reactions.

Finding a different world In 2018, when the students landed in Hoedspruit, South Africa, the group immediately saw that things were a bit different there. The Hoedspruit Airport was the size of a small classroom, and a driver on a Kubota farm tractor pulling a hay wagon rolled up to the plane to retrieve the luggage. But the real kicker came as they were riding out of the airport. “Jessica (Osmers, their on-site coordinator with Selati Wildlife Experience) met us and picked us up, and we’re like 20 feet out of the gate and there’s an elephant standing next to the road,” Heikes says. A few more feet and they saw elephants and giraffe. “That could be the end for us, and that would be amazing,” she says. “And it was the beginning instead.”

Working with animals For 12 days, Heikes and her students stayed in a bush lodge at the 3,000-acre Boulders Game Ranch while traveling to and working on area reserves with veterinarian Rita Piso. The students worked with many animals, including giraffe, zebra, rhinos, hippos, nyala, sable antelope, impala, kudu and wildebeest.

On the 2019 trip, the students moved a tsessebe antelope herd to another reserve for breeding. The males can weigh up to 300 pounds and have horns up to 15 inches long. Piso went up in a helicopter with a tranquilizer gun while the students split into two groups in trucks on the ground. After Piso would tranquilize a tsessebe, the helicopter would hover and wait for one of the trucks to arrive. “Depending on protocol, we might be giving antibiotics, we might be giving dewormers, we might be giving vitamins, we might be micro-chipping, we might be putting ear tags in,” Heikes says, noting that they had to make sure to keep each tsessebe’s head up while administering the treatment. “If their heads go too low, the fluid from their rumen (their first stomach) comes up and they suck it into their lungs.”

Clockwise from top left: Student Sami Nearpass and a young female zebra in Africa; students Allyssa VanLoo and Luke Cunningham work with African veterinarians to capture a rhino; Sebakwe the elephant with student Danielle Brodhagen; students Hannah Flickinger, Luke Cunningham and Rebecca Porter with a young hippo; and Sami Nearpass smiles as a giraffe is loaded on a trailer.

They observed how to tranquilize and transport giraffe, which involves ensuring that a giraffe falls in the right place and then getting it up quickly and into a giraffe trailer. Blindfolds and ear mufflers are placed on the animals to keep them calm. “That makes them more submissive for going into the trailer, which makes it safer for everybody,” Joslyn says.

The students also did this work with 30 buffalo, which Heikes says taught the students “situational awareness.” “When we’re out there working with buffalo, (if) you lay one of them down and the herd comes back, that’s a problem,” she says. “You need to know where everybody is all the time. You need to know how deeply asleep this animal is and what drug you have in your hand.”

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Besides working with animals, the students learned how to use tranquilizer guns by shooting at targets. The instructors started them 20 feet away from the target, Joslyn says, and then progressively moved them farther away. “And then they were like, ‘OK, let’s go up in a helicopter,’” says Joslyn. Heikes says her kids were “all over it” about this training, but she had reservations. “I don’t know,” she says she remembers thinking. “And then I was like, ‘No, you tell your students they need to push themselves so you don’t get to just step back on this.’ So I didn’t.” Through all of their experiences Heikes enjoyed watching her students make decisions — and cut their ties to technology.



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For some of the students, the trip solidified their choice of occupation. Joslyn is currently a second-year biological sciences major at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, with plans to attend veterinary school. She says she had an epiphany on the South Africa trip while they were working at a farm for sable antelope, a species in which males weigh up to 518 pounds with horns that can be up to 65 inches long. When she looked around at everyone working together, measuring horns From left: Anna Quertermus and Kendra Dumas learn animal CPR techniques from Heikes.

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Above: From left, students Mattison Coburn, Trent Strake and Mikaylen Svoboda work on bandaging a wound on their model animals. Right: Brianna Petersen and Riley-Ann Bierma give medicine to one of the classroom cats.

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and giving vaccinations and vitamins, it “felt normal,” she says. “If this can feel normal, then this is definitely what I’m supposed to do with the rest of my life,” Joslyn says. “That was the moment I was like, ‘I don’t care what it takes. I’m going to be a vet.’” Joslyn says Heikes’ students talk about how much they loved her classes and attributed that fondness to the hands-on experiences, as well as other opportunities such as competitions and leadership conferences, that the teacher provides.

Since graduating, Joslyn has traveled to Honduras with a Christian veterinary mission to work with dogs, cats, pigs, cattle and horses. While there, she observed and assisted with many surgeries. After she had watched seven surgeries, a vet looked at her and said, “You’ve seen it seven times now. Do one.” “I was like, ‘You know this is a live animal, right’?” she remembers asking. But with all of the hands-on experiences with Heikes under her belt, Joslyn jumped in and performed the surgery with no hand shaking or queasiness. “I’ve learned that I am a very kinesthetic learner, and I think most of the people in my generation are,” Joslyn says. “Doing things is so much different than reading out of the textbook. Dr. Heikes is so good at finding what people like and then applying it. She’ll bring out the best in anybody.”

Classroom cats Shadow and Moonie (top), Dakota (left) and Bean (right) provide hands-on animal care opportunities for the students.

Classroom Cats When you arrive at Noreen Heikes’ classroom at Vicksburg High School, it’s evident that this is not your typical high school classroom. A sign hanging on the door reads, “Please keep door shut to keep in the cats.” The cats? As Heikes speaks to a group preparing for the summer 2020 trip to Africa, four cats — Moonie, Shadow, Dakota and Bean (the resident classroom cat) — roam about. They rub against students. They stretch out on notebooks. They fiddle with anything intriguing, like the model of a neuron created with marshmallows and pretzels. One of Heikes’ friends works with animal foster homes, and because the high school’s agri-science building had mice, Heikes asked if her students could foster a classroom cat. “So we got a cat,” Heikes says. “And two days later, she’s like, ‘All the cat shelters are full and there’s this litter of three. Can you take them for just a short time?’ Well, you know how that goes.” That was five years ago, and Heikes’ classroom continues to foster cats. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, Hiekes says. “(For) some of my kids who have attention issues, the cats are the best solution we’ve ever found. A purring cat will just laser (the student) right in on what’s going on. We’re not really sure if we’re saving the cats or if they’re saving us.”

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No Minor Success

Pianist Edward Callahan’s first CD striking the right chords by



hen Edward Callahan was just a boy, he used to stand in his room and bow to an audience that wasn't there, pretending he was in the middle of a pool of applause from the adoring crowd in awe of his make-believe piano performance. These days he’s not pretending. When he plays piano, people — including critics — take notice. The 31-year-old Callahan’s road from his Kalamazoo bedroom to the stages of some of New York City’s biggest venues has predictably not been easy. But finding his love for piano at age 5 in many ways was. As a kid, he got involved with karate, Little League and Boy Scouts. But the piano “stuck with me in such a weird way,” he says. “I wanted to try anything, but after I began playing piano, that was it. Being an only child at the time, the piano became a kind of sibling to me.” Callahan’s natural talent was helped along by his childhood piano teacher, Billie Netterwald, who, after seeing his potential, had Callahan improvising, doing compositions and learning the ways that creating and playing music can move the emotions of player and audience alike. “She kept the fire lit in me,” he says. A 2006 Kalamazoo Central High School graduate and Kalamazoo Promise scholarship recipient, Callahan went to Western Michigan University to study music education. There he was taken under the wing of nowretired music professor Silvia Roederer, who specialized in piano and who continued to help him hone his craft.

32 | ENCORE APRIL 2020


But Callahan says it was a moment near some WMU rehearsal rooms that sticks out as a highlight of his time there, when he was taken by the beautiful sounds coming from a piano that a fellow student was playing. “She was playing Chopin’s Winter Wind, and I literally saw colors for the first time,” he says. “I could imagine snow, cars sliding, other pictures in my mind. When I see the piano now, I see endless possibilities of new discovery. So much is unknown, like outer space. It’s endless.” On to the Big Apple After his sophomore year at WMU, Callahan, knowing that he had to enter a bigger arts market not only to grow but to be seen by a wider audience, decided to take a chance. He packed up his bags and moved to New York City, playing gigs when he could

From left: Callahan found a love for piano at age 5; Callahan was presented with an award from the Michigan Music Teachers Association for his first composition, "Make It Snow," when he was 8; and at 5 months, he realizes his little fingers can make music as he sits with his mother, Sonya Bernard-Hollins. Top: A 9-year-old Callahan shows off his skills to his aunt LaToya (Bernard) Kuhn during a piano lesson.

find them and rehearsing when he could find time. The Big Apple’s fast-paced hustle culture opened his eyes. “In Kalamazoo I was a big fish in a small pond,” he says by phone from New York. “Here, I was a fish just barely making it, just crawling through. I had to become more disciplined. He took on a mentor, Damien Sneed, an adjunct professor at Nyack College’s School of Music who had performed with Winton Marsalis, Aretha Franklin and Jessye Norman. Sneed helped Callahan get a gig as a keyboardist for the 40th anniversary performances of The Wiz, and through Sneed, he met the music school’s dean. Within a few days he had applied and was accepted at the school, also receiving a scholarship.

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As a Christian college, Nyack also appealed to Callahan’s deep sense of faith. He was raised in the church and felt a sense of home there, he says. He graduated magna cum laude from the college, with a degree in piano performance. “God has already called you to be what you’re gonna be before you’re born,” he says. “Moving was a big faith move. I had The Promise (scholarship). Good things were happening in Kalamazoo. I was barely making it, with little food, but my faith kicked in. It was God and me.”

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Pushing himself

Brian Powers

Sneed kept after Callahan, telling him to rehearse more and put extra effort into his craft. Professional pianists exist in an incredibly competitive world, with the ceiling of opportunities existing somewhere around age 35, Callahan says. He used to practice two to three times per week. Now he pushes himself at the keyboard every day. “I had some professors in my life say, ‘You’re never gonna play at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall.’ I don't like people telling me I can’t do something. It hurt me. I thought it was my skin color, but it was that I had to take my practicing and dedication to another level,” he says.

34 | ENCORE APRIL 2020

Callahan remembers watching André Watts, the first black concert pianist to reach international fame, play piano, the virtuoso clad in a tuxedo and then taking a bow before an enthralled audience. It inspired him. He knew he could do that too.

Left: A 14-year-old Callahan played in the music shell during a Gilmore Sherman Lake Piano Camp. Above: Edward poses with his piano in his New York apartment in 2018 before the graduation ceremony at Nyack College where he graduated magna cum laude with a music performance degree. Above: The cover of his CD, The Minor Keys.

“I didn’t know (before) that black Americans could do that,” he says. “He was so effortless, so polished. I knew that would be me.” Now it is. Callahan’s debut album, The Minor Keys, released late last year, reached the No. 1 spot on iTunes’ Classical Music chart for the United States and No. 9 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Music chart. It’s a classical album featuring works by such famous composers as Chopin and Schubert, with every composition in a minor key. Currently, he is practicing for entry into the International Schubert-Competition Dortmund, to be held later this year in Germany, and has been accepted into the Miami Classical Music Festival in June. “One of my goals is to inspire others to do what they want to do,” he says. “When I play for people, I want them to have encouragement, to feel a sense of positivity, to leave saying, ‘Wow, I am recharged,’ just like listening to a sermon at church.”

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Please Note: Due to the COVID–19 virus, some of these events may have been cancelled after press time. Please check with the venue and organizations for up-to-date information. PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Plays

Sometimes in June — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. April 4, First Baptist Church, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 342-5059. The Color Purple — American classic about a woman's experiences in the South, 7:30 p.m. April 7, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. Ears on a Beatle — The story of two FBI agents in the 1970s charged with following Beatle John Lennon, 8 p.m. April 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 & 25, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., thenewvictheatre.org. August: Osage County — A drama exposing the dark side of the Midwestern American family, presented by Civic Reader’s Theatre, 7:30 p.m. April 17, 18, 24 & 25; 2 p.m. April 19 & 26, Carver Center Studio, 426 S. Park St., 343-1313. The Incognito Detective Service — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. April 18, First Baptist Church, 342-5059.

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill — Play Gold Company II — WMU vocal jazz ensemble, about Billie Holiday's last performance, April 24– 7:30 p.m. April 5, Dalton Center Recital Hall, May 10, Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, WMU, 387-4667. thegilmore.org. Clarinetist Andrea Cheeseman — Guest artist recital, 7:30 p.m. April 6, Dalton Center Recital MUSIC Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Bands & Solo Artists WMU Drum Choir — 5 p.m. April 7, Dalton REO Speedwagon — High-energy rock show, Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. with vocalist Kevin Cronin, 7 p.m. April 17, State Trombonist Megumi Kanda — Live and Theatre 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Interactive Series, 7:30 p.m. April 8, with preTommy Emmanuel — Australian guitarist concert talk at 7 p.m., Dalton Center Recital Hall, and songwriter, 8 p.m. April 22, State Theatre, WMU, 387-2300. 345-6500. Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Almost Queen: A Tribute to Queen — 8 p.m. Music — With guest composer and conductor April 24, State Theatre, 345-6500. Julie Giroux, 7:30 p.m. April 9, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667. Music of Cream — Honoring the band's 1967 recording of Disraeli Gears, 8 p.m. April 25, State Music Therapy Clinic Concert — 7 p.m. April Theatre, 345-6500. 13, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More

Free Community Concert — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Artists in Residence series, University Symphonic Band and University 7 p.m. April 14, First Presbyterian Church, 321 W. Concert Band — 3 p.m. April 5, Miller Auditorium, South St., 349-7759. WMU, 387-4667. A small garage can be hard to organize. That’s why we are happy to introduce new garage storage solutions that will make the most of the space you have.


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Andrew Saliba Trio — Jazz from the Great American Songbook, 7 p.m. April 17, Ladies’ Library Association, 333 S. Park St., 344-3710.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in Concert — The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performs along with the film, 8 p.m. April 17, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667.

Sarkozy Brunch Concert — Oboist Gabriel Renteria-Elyea and KSO Artists in Residence, 11 a.m. April 26, Sarkozy Bakery, 350 E. Michigan Ave, 349-7759. Kalamazoo Ringers Spring Concert — 4 p.m. April 26, Grace Harbor Church, 811 Gorham Lane, kalamazooringers.org.

Crescendo Academy of Music Student Recital — 2 p.m. April 18, First Presbyterian Church, 345-6664.

In Russia's Shadow — Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra concert, 4 p.m. April 26, Chenery Auditorium, 349-7557.

Gull Lake Jazz Orchestra — Big-band music, 7 p.m. April 18, The Union Cabaret & Grille, 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 268-9199.


Sun, Sea, and Sand — Kalamazoo Concert Band concert, 7:30 p.m. April 18, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 585-8719. 3rd Sunday Live: Double Strung — Bluegrass music, 2 p.m. April 19, Parchment Community Library, 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747. 60th Annual Concerto Concert: University Symphony Orchestra — 3 p.m. April 19, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667.

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S Park St., 349-7775, kiarts.org Exhibits

Young Artists of Kalamazoo County — The annual exhibition of creative, colorful, whimsical art by students from Kalamazoo County in grades K–8, through April 11. West Michigan Area Show — Juried exhibition showcasing work in all media from artists in

14 Michigan counties, April 10–July 12, with opening reception 5:30–7:30 p.m. April 9.

Unveiling American Genius — An inclusive and diverse representation of American artists within the KIA collection, opening April 18. High School Area Show — Artwork by high school students in the region, April 24–May 24, with opening reception 5:30–7:30 April 23. Events ARTbreak — Weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions: Making is Thinking, talk by West Michigan Area Show juror William J. O'Brien, April 7; Art School Residents, Part 2, talk by artists Hayleigh Alamo, Danqi Cai and Victoria Marcetti, April 14; The Alliance of Kalamazoo Artists, talk by makers spanning a wide range of media, April 21; West Michigan Area Show Artists, talk by two WMAS artists, April 28; sessions begin at noon, KIA Auditorium.

Art Deco Chicago: Mainstream of 20th Century Design — Art League lecture by Robert Bruegmann, distinguished professor emeritus of

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art history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 7 p.m. April 8. Free Book Discussion — Kalamazoo photographer Mary Whalen leads a discussion of Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous, by Christopher Bonanos, 2 p.m. April 15. Unreeled: Film at the KIA — Watch the final cinematic results from the 2020 Kazoo 48-Hour Film Festival, 6:30 p.m. April 16.

2020 Everyone's a Member Day — April 18, with art school enrollment savings, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; gallery shop values, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; and free museum admission, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Richmond Center for Visual Arts Western Michigan University, 387-2436

17 Days (Volume 11) — One artist's video work per day is played on 50-inch plasma screens, through May 1, Atrium Gallery.

Veterans admitted free

war no more Celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE Day

SUNDAY, MAY 3, 2020 ~ 5:00 pm Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Portage Tickets available online at www.kalamazoosingers.org

Frostic School of Art Student Exhibition — April 2–19, Monroe-Brown Gallery.

Naomi van Niekerk: Interval — A show comprising prints, objects and a series of short films, April 2–19, Netzorg and Kerr Gallery. Nick Adam: Visiting Designer Lecture — 5:30 p.m. April 9, Room 2008. Other Venues Westminster Pre-festival Exhibition — By Linda Rzoska, this year's art juror, through April 12, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1515 Helen Ave., Portage, 344-3966. Parchment School District Student Art Show — Opening reception 6–8 p.m. April 14, Parchment Community Library, 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747. Westminster Art Festival — Juried exhibition of visual art and poetry, April 17–May 13, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Portage, with reading by poetry juror Gail Griffin and awards ceremony, 5 p.m. April 17, 344-3966. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library kpl.gov, 553-7800


Meet the Author — Meet Pamela Cameron, author of Sport: Ship Dog of the Great Lakes, 3 p.m. April 6, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St.

SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2020

Page Turners Book Club — Discussion of The Map of Salt and Stars, by Zeyn Joukhadar, 6:30 p.m. April 6, Oshtemo Branch.

STRING COMPETITION Dalton Center Recital Hall Western Michigan University

A Step to Greatness

SEMIFINALIST PERFORMANCES Free and open to the public 9:00 am to 4:00 pm FINALS CONCERT 7:30 pm TICKETS $25 for adults $5 for students Ticket information at stulberg.org

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JUDGES Clive Greensmith, cello Yura Lee, violin/viola Cho-Liang Lin, violin MASTER CLASSES WITH COMPETITION JUDGES Free and open to the public Sunday, May 17, 12:30 pm Dalton Center Recital Hall Western Michigan University


Western Dance Project — Modern dance by WMU Department of Dance students, 10:30 a.m. April 7, Central Library. Clark the Juggler — Juggling, magic, circus stunts and physical comedy, 2 p.m. April 8, Central Library. It's Crime We Talk: A True Crime Book Club — Discussion of The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial, by Maggie Nelson, 6:30 p.m. April 14, Central Library. ¡Hola! Hello! — For English speakers practicing Spanish and vice versa, 6:30 p.m. April 15, Washington Square Branch, 1244 Portage St. Classics Revisited — Discussion of When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, by Le Ly Hayslip, 7 p.m. April 15, Central Library.


Composting: Completing Food's Life Cycle — Learn about composting and prevention of food waste, 6:30 p.m. April 22, Central Library. Be(e) Friendly! — Pick up wildflower seeds perfect for bees, April 27–May 1, Central Library. Michigan, My Michigan — Lynn Houghton looks at Michigan's history in the last half of the 20th century, 7 p.m. April 28, Central Library. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org Parchment Book Group — Discussion of The Overstory, by Richard Powers, 6:30 p.m. April 6.

Open for Discussion — Discussion of Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 10:30 a.m. April 21.

Yum's the Word: Water & Wheat — Vegan cooking made easy by Chef Josh Musinski of Water & Wheat, 6:30 p.m. April 22; registration required.

The Poem in You: An Ekphrastic Poetry Evening — Share your poems inspired by art, 7 p.m. April 24.

Climate Change From a Faith Perspective — A conversation featuring Rabbi Simone Schicker, 7 p.m. April 23.

Richland Community Library 8951 Park St., 629-9085, richlandlibrary.org

Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544, portagelibrary.info

Mystery Club — Put your sleuthing skills to the test to solve a mystery, 6–8 p.m. April 1.

International Mystery Book Discussion: Saudi Arabia — Discussion of Finding Nouf, by Zoë Ferraris, 7 p.m. April 9.

Book Club & Dessert — Discussion of Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate, 7 p.m. April 9.

SciFi/Fantasy Discussion — Discussion of elemental magic, 7 p.m. April 14.

Meet Michigan Author — Harry Dolan talks about his new mystery novel, 7 p.m. April 16.

Be a Citizen Archivist — Learn how to volunteer at home with the National Archives, 2 p.m. April 8. Climate Change from a Faith Perspective — A conversation featuring Imam Hafiz Nauman Akbar, 2 p.m. April 13. Recycling: Know It Before You Throw It — Learn how to recycle properly, 7 p.m. April 15. Author Visit — Discussion with Stephen Mack Jones, author of August Snow and Lives Laid Away, 6:30 p.m. April 20.

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Kalamazoo Earth Day Festival — Celebrate Earth Day at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, 12–5 p.m. April 18, 1204 Bank St., 342-5686.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in Concert* April 17 | 8 p.m.

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KALAMAZOO POETRY FESTIVAL 2020 APRIL 18 www.kalamazoopoetryfestival.com

Celebration of Community Poets with MC Ed Genesis 6:30 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park Street

Open Mic with MC Dana (Great Dane) Hudson 8:30 p.m. at Fire, 1249 Portage Street

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 39

Other Venues Edible Book Festival — Competition of "books" made from food, April 3, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A; drop off entries 4–6 p.m.; winners announced and books eaten at 7 p.m., 373-4938. Kalamazoo Poetry Festival — Celebration of Community Poets, with MC Ed Genesis, 6:30 p.m. April 18, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park St.; Open Mic with MC Dana (Great Dane) Hudson, 8:30 p.m. April 18, Fire, 1249 Portage St., kalamazoopoetryfestival.com.

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High Tea — With theme of Jane Austen and the Regency Era, 2 p.m. April 19, Ladies’ Library Association, 333 S. Park St., 327-7798; reservation by April 10. Tea and Poetry for Adults — Share favorite or original poetry, 2–4 p.m. April 19, Stuart Avenue Inn, 229 Stuart Ave., 330-5350. MUSEUMS Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089, gilmorecarmuseum.org


Southwest Michigan’s Hidden Jewel Lakeside Chapel, Great Hall & Barn Weddings & Receptions 25 to 225 guests

2020 Lecture Series — Lost Car Companies of Detroit, Alan Naldrett, April 5; The Wright Brothers: The Power of Persistence, Cameron S. Brown, April 19; A Life of Racing, Lyn St. James, April 26; all sessions begin at 3 p.m. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990, kalamazoomuseum.org

League of Women Voters: The First 100 Years — Celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Kalamazoo area chapter of the League of Women Voters, through April 12. Wicked Plants: The Exhibit — Visit a creepy Victorian home and learn about the world's most villainous plants, through May 17. Patient No More: People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights — An exhibit that shares stories of people with disabilities and their fight for civil rights, through June 7.

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40 | ENCORE APRIL 2020

Statewide Astronomy Night — Free astronomyrelated activities for all ages, 5–8:30 p.m. April 17. Take Your Family Stargazing — Presentation in the planetarium, 6:30 p.m. April 17.


NATURE Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510, birdsanctuary.kbs.msu.edu

Intro to Argentine Tango — Beginner-focused Argentine Tango class, 2–5 p.m. April 5, Jerico, 1501 Fulford St., hellojerico.com.

SW Michigan Postcard Club Show & Sale — Postcards from the 1890s to the present, 10 a.m.– Earth Day — Free admission to the bird sanctuary, 5 p.m. April 10, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. April 11, Kalamazoo 9 a.m.–5 p.m. April 22. County Expo Center, 230-0734. Other Venues

Antique Bottle & Glass Show — 10 a.m.–3 p.m. April 11, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Social Hike: Skunk Cabbage Scavenger Hunt 581-7005. — Search for signs of spring, 10 a.m. April 18, Bow in the Clouds Preserve, 3401 Nazareth Road, Egg Hunt — Springtime crafts, games and egg 324-1600; registration requested. hunts, 2–4 p.m. April 11, Mayors Riverfront Park, 251 Mills St., 337-8006. Green-A-Thon — Earth Day festival with exhibits, music, games and giveaways, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. April Pinball at the Zoo — Rediscover pinball, with 19, Portage City Hall, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., games for sale and play, 2–10 p.m. April 16, 1–10 Portage, 329-4511. p.m. April 17, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. April 18, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 519-4514. Audubon Society of Kalamazoo — Doug Klein speaks on "The Birds of Barry County," 7:30 KazooPex Stamp & Cover Show — Buy and sell p.m. April 27, People's Church, 1758 N. 10th St., stamps, covers, postcards and more, 10 a.m.–5 375-7210. p.m. April 18, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. April 19, Kalamazoo MISCELLANEOUS

County Expo Center, 375-6188.

Kalamazoo Dance — Monthly ballroom dancing, Kalamazoo Numismatic Club Spring Coin 8 p.m. April 18, with Texas Two-Step lesson at 7 Show — Buy, sell, and trade coins and paper p.m., The Point Community Center, 2595 N. 10th money, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. April 4, Kalamazoo County St., kalamazoodance.org. Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 491-0962. Southwest Michigan Ballroom Dance — Spring Cleaning Model Railroad Swap Meet Monthly ballroom dancing, with DJ Dan Stratton, — Buy and sell model railroad items, 10 a.m.–3 3:30–6 p.m. April 19, with Sharon's Dance p.m. April 4, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Studio teaching the East Coast Swing at 2:30 344-0906.

p.m., Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park St., swmbd.org. Ready, Set, Grow! — Fundraiser for the Comstock Community Center, featuring food, fun and friends, 5:30–8 p.m. rescheduled for June 11, River Street Flowerland, 1300 River St., 345-8556. Saturday Flea Market — New and used items, antiques and handcrafted items, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. April 25, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 383-8778. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. April 25, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 779-9851. Spice Exploration — Explore origins, applications and significance of spices, 2 p.m. April 25, Jerico, 1501 Fulford St., hellojerico.com. Olde Tyme Plow Days & Swap Meet — Antique tractors, plowing, flea market, crafts, kiddie train and blacksmithing, April 25 & 26, Scotts Mill Park, 8451 S. 35th St., Scotts, 223-0003. Theresa Caputo — Special event featuring the star of Long Island Medium, 7:30 p.m. April 29, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300.

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42 | ENCORE APRIL 2020


The Soul of the Dead Quail Has Lodged in My Chest I feel its frail heartbeat, the last few moments of its life, after I hit it with my car. I couldn’t swerve. There were more in line and an old lady at the side of the road. I didn’t stop. It was a juvenile bird, a little bird, one of a line. Did she scoop it off the road with a shovel? Like I do when I find hit foxes? I can’t leave them to be flattened beyond recognition. They are foxes for God’s sake, and beautiful. * The quail’s heart wakes me up each morning at 3. It is beating against my ribs like the wings of a monarch, strong and ready to be released. Then I realize for a quail the beat is weak. I can’t sleep with the gentle racket going on in there. I try to soothe it, anointing myself with a salve made from comfrey, nettles and calendula, rub it in wherever I feel that beating close to the surface. *

I put the quail to sleep with Xanax. I know it’s temporary. I’ll wait all day for it to wake up. It’s such a tiny thing, the quail’s heart, and it was only a tiny amount, but I am afraid of getting the quail addicted. I don’t need a quail junkie living in my chest. I am still waiting for my own heart to start beating again; it’s hiding under the sleeping quail. I have always felt the soul of dead animals when I drive over their carcasses, whether I’m the one who killed them or not. This is the first time one ever attached itself to me. — Melanie Dunbar Dunbar is the contest coordinator for the Poetry Society of Michigan and the editor of Peninsula Poets, the group’s semi-annual publication. This poem first appeared in Earth Hymn, a 2019 KYSO Flash anthology. Her poems can also be found in Sweet: A Literary Confection, Clade Song and elsewhere in print and online. Dunbar lives on a farm near Allegan with her family and their rooster, Mr. Beautiful, and tends flowers for a living.

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ENCORE BACK STORY Chris Praedel (continued from page 46) What’s kept you in Kalamazoo? Since I was a young kid, I've always just been drawn to this place. It's a special place. You know, we definitely have our challenges, but it's a community that's always trying to do and make better. I think it's a place where people can make their own thing if they don't see something that they can be a part of or fit into. It's a community that seems abundantly open to creating something yourself. It's also a community where, if you want to advocate for something, if you want to have your voice heard, then you know that there are those venues to do it. I knew from a young age that I wanted to spend the rest of my life here. I was in a program called Teach for America and did my student teaching in Los Angeles and taught my own third-grade classroom for two years in South Chicago. Don't get me wrong, Chicago is an awesome, cool city, but it just made me want to come back home even more. Getting that out-of-Kalamazoo experience resolidified for me that this is home for me and this is where I always want to be home. How does your deep knowledge of Kalamazoo benefit you in your position as a commissioner? I think that there's something special and, in some ways, more challenging when you grew up here, because everything that I do,

everything I vote on, I'm being watched by the people who helped get me to this point. When we had a really heavy issue come up recently, my mom was texting me, lobbying me. If I had moved off to a different community and sought elected office, I'm not saying I wouldn't give it the same passion, but I know that (for) every decision I make (here) I have to think about the people who helped raise me and the people who helped teach me. And I want to make them proud too. It changes the way that you think about things. I've got two young kids at home. I attended every single City Commission meeting in 2019, from start to finish. So, even before the campaign, if it (the meeting) started at 7 p.m. and ended at 1 a.m., I was there. They had some difficult votes, and I would sit in the audience and think, “How would I vote on that tough issue? What will be my North Star to decide whether I'm making the right decision?” I just kind of had an epiphany one day: When I'm walking out of the house and saying goodbye to my kids for the day, I'm going to look down at them and think about what's best for them and their future. That's going to be my guiding principle to decide if I'm making the right choice or not. How do you split your time between Western, your family and the city? The best way I can explain it is I've learned to do a good job of compartmentalizing

those different portions of my life. Tonight is boys’ night. My wife works late, and the second I get home my phone's gonna go on the counter. I'm going to detach from work, detach from City Commission, and my boys are going to get my unfettered 100 percent attention. Likewise, after the kids are in bed, then I go into full-fledged City Commission mode, responding to emails and reading my packet; I want to be 100 percent focused on that. It is really hard to juggle it all, but I love each thing very independently, so it works. Why was it important for you to be a young voice on the commission? I'm 34 years old, and I'm the youngest person on this commission, and I don't feel that young anymore. But I'm still the youngest person, and the largest demographic in our community are people 18 to 30. It's so important that there's young voices at the table. But even more importantly, I felt that it was important that our young parents have a voice at the table. There's a lot of families in our community who are juggling a lot more than I am — multiple jobs, being a single parent, struggling to pay their bills. For there to be a person at the table who is struggling to balance all that stuff who is thinking about them ... I think it's important. — Interviewed by Zoe Jackson and edited for length and clarity.

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Chris Praedel

Kalamazoo City Commissioner and WMU Director of Events C

Brian Powers

hris Praedel was born and raised in Kalamazoo and became one of the newest Kalamazoo city commissioners in November. At 34 years old, he is also the youngest commissioner. “Because of the people who came off and because of me coming on the City Commission, its average age went down almost a whole quarter of a century in one election,” Praedel says. When Praedel’s not downtown, he’s at Western Michigan University, serving as the director of events, or at home with his family. During his campaign for the commission seat, his wife, Erin, and their two young boys were integral in door knocking and connecting with the community. “I love the idea of my boys growing up seeing their dad doing something good for the world,” Praedel says. “You know, it's kind of like teaching through doing. It's really easy to just look at your kids and tell them, ‘Be good people, and do good things for the world.’ But I think in most instances, the greatest teachers teach us things by doing.”

46 | ENCORE APRIL 2020

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