Young musicians get jazzed
Three Rivers market hits the Bullseye
Going for the Gilmore
This man wants Kalamazoo to be ‘a cultural destination’
Unforgettable Gilmore moments
Meet Allison Kennedy
Southwest Michigan’s Magazine
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From farm to hospital table. Advancing the health of our community starts with advancing the health of our patients. That’s why almost half of the food we serve comes from local producers. It helps ensure our patients, visitors and staff receive the freshest, healthiest and most nutritious meals possible. That’s good for everyone’s health, including the environment’s and our local economy’s. And since we believe you have to eat well to be well, we’ve partnered with Kalamazoo Valley Community College to create the Bronson Healthy Living Campus. It’s teaching culinary students and healthcare professionals about nutrition, food production and sustainability. All while bringing locally sourced foods and the skills to prepare them to people in our community. For more, visit bronsonpositivity.com. Or follow us on Facebook.
Young musicians get jazzed
Three Rivers market hits the Bullseye
Unforgettable Gilmore moments
Meet Allison Kennedy
Southwest Michigan’s Magazine
Going for the Gilmore
This man wants Kalamazoo to be ‘a cultural destination’
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ENCORE EDITOR'S NOTE
From the Editor It is said quite often that Kalamazoo has a surprising number of arts and
cultural assets. Visitors say it, new residents say it, artists say it. All you have to do is peruse each Encore issue’s First Things and Events of Note sections to see it, but sometimes those of us who have been here for awhile can forget it. We just take it for granted and, as a result, don’t appreciate or participate in many of these events, activities and organizations. One of the local treasures that might not be appreciated as fully as it should be is the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, which we spotlight on Page 24. This 18-day festival, which occurs every two years and offers more than 100 performances and events, attracts worldclass musicians who are more used to playing Carnegie Hall than Chenery Auditorium. Yet they come here. And they give audiences unbelievable performances, conduct master classes and meet with schoolkids. Since The Gilmore has moderately priced tickets, it is worth it for those who have never been to a Gilmore performance to take in one or two or more, and, for those who have been before, to return. Also in this issue we look at a new cultural treasure: the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra, which has been so successful in its first season that it has attracted enough young musicians to have two performing groups. And in honor of it being National Poetry Month, we introduce you to Allison Kennedy, the new executive director at Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative, which helps young writers and artists in our community hone their creative skills and appreciate themselves. April is a great month for all of us to make a resolution to get out and enjoy the bountiful arts and cultural activities this community offers. Whether it’s a play or a pianist, an Art Hop exhibition or a poetry reading, enjoy the wealth that is on your doorstep.
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FEATURE The Gilmore’s New Tempo ‘Magic that Can Only Happen Here’
The Gilmore Festival aims to make Kalamazoo ‘a cultural destination’
Career and Here by Chance
New Gilmore director Pierre van der Westhuizen believes in serendipity
DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor
9 Contributors Up Front
10 First Things
Happenings in SW Michigan
14 Five Faves — Five unforgettable moments from nearly two decades running the Gilmore Keyboard Festival
Hitting the Bullseye — Market wins customers with its home-grown beef, baked goods and more
46 Back Story
Meet Allison Kennedy — Making art, poetry and justice catch fire with youth
ARTS 32 Cool Young Cats — Youth jazz orchestra fills
niche in local music scene
36 Events of Note 43 Poetry
On the cover: Pierre van der Westhuizen, the new director of The Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, is ready to play. Photo by Brian K. Powers
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CHANGE THEIR WORLD. ADOPT. Working for the Well-being of Animals and Creating an Adoption Focused Community in Southwest Michigan
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Theresa Coty O’Neil
Theresa has long appreciated all of the strong, local organizations that offer young musicians a chance to learn and grow, so it was a real pleasure for her to meet Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra Director Benje Daneman and listen to his newly launched ensemble perform. “Watching young musicians improvise is inspiring and transporting,” she says. Theresa is a Kalamazoo-based freelance writer who also teaches writing online and for the Academically Talented Youth Program at Western Michigan University.
Marie’s interview with Pierre van der Westhuizen was filled with laughs, she says, because Pierre is a humble man with a great sense of humor. But, she says not to let his quick wit and boyish smile fool you: This 40-year-old is intensely driven. “He has accomplished a lot in his short career, which he humbly credits to serendipity,” she says. “But it’s obvious he has the skills to make things happen. Keep your eye on this one.” Marie is the editor of Encore.
When Lisa visited Bullseye Marketplace in Three Rivers for this month’s issue, she found it hard not to be distracted by food. “It’s filled with freshly made breads with wheat berries ground every morning and the longhorn/ cross beef from cattle that the store owners raise in Vandalia,” Lisa says. “Not to mention you can have a homemade meal at the café in between investigating all of the other unique items in the 9,000-square-foot store.” Lisa, a freelance writer living in Portage, is a frequent contributor to Encore.
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
First Things Something Vibrant
Exhibit gives glimpse of rural China A colorful and insightful look at people a world away through
their folk art is offered in the exhibit Vibrant Bounty: Chinese Folk Art from the Shaanxi Region at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts April 7-Aug. 12. The exhibition’s 25 paintings and 14 artifacts offer a journey through the Shaanxi Province, one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. Festivals, parades, harvests, music, village traditions, farm animals, winter, kitchen work and children are all celebrated in the paintings, while the artifacts show traditional Shaanxi customs and range from children's clothing and toys to New Year's prints and decorative household items. A docent will lead public tours of the exhibit at 2 p.m. April 22 and May 20. For more information, visit kiarts.org.
From left: Shengtao Zhao, Harvesting Sugar Cane in the North, 19851991, tempera on paper; Pang Wei, Drying Tobacco Leaves in the Open, 1985-1991, tempera on paper. Photos by: E.G. Schempf.
Food symposium has Native focus The second annual Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium, set for April 6-7, will focus on Native American culture and cooking. The symposium will examine food history, culture and systems through lectures, demonstrations and food tastings. It will kick off at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum from 5-7 p.m. April 6 during Art Hop, when FireKeepers Casino and Hotel Head Chef James Thomson will provide tastings. The symposium’s second day will be held on the Bronson Healthy Living Campus of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, in downtown Kalamazoo. It will feature cooking demonstrations, speakers, workshops and classes, and food tastings from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at KVCC’s Culinary/Allied Health Building, at 418 Walnut St. All symposium programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.kvcc.edu or call 373-7990.
10 | ENCORE APRIL 2018
ENCORE FIRST THINGS
Listen and learn at Pecha Kucha If you could show 20 images and talk about something you are passionate about to a crowd of people who are drinking and wanting to be entertained, would you? Find out who in the area would do just that by attending Kalamazoo Pecha Kucha Volume 4 at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts on April 26. Born in Japan in 2003, Pecha Kucha 20x20 is a presentation format in which speakers show 20 images for 20 seconds each. The images advance automatically as the speaker talks, and the presentation ends when the slides do. Past Kalamazoo Pecha Kucha speakers have talked on everything from the anatomy of a cocktail to improvisational comedy. The April event will feature 10 presenters. It begins at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. There is no cost, but donations are suggested. For more information, visit facebook.com/pechakuchakzoo.
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
Personal relationships, the challenges immigrants face when they adapt to living in this country, and humans’ need to connect with one another will be explored April 6-22 when Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods is staged at the Civic’s Parish Theatre, 426 S. Park St. The play examines what happens when a recently divorced woman meets a former "lost boy of Sudan" working in the produce section of Whole Foods and invites him to live with her and her teenage daughter. The result is an unexpected journey of awareness, struggle and hopefulness for all involved. Because the play deals with violence, death and the tragedy of civil war in the Sudan, it is best enjoyed by prepared high school students and adults. Show times are 7:30 p.m. April 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21 and 2 p.m. April 8, 15 and 22. Tickets are $20-$25. For more information or to buy tickets, visit kazoocivic.com or call 343-1313.
Discover Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods
Witness Snap Judgment live You may have heard this storytelling show on public radio; now see Snap Judgment live at 8
p.m. April 20 at the State Theatre. The event, co-hosted by Michigan Radio (104.1 FM), will showcase the opinions and storytelling skills of Public Radio Talent Quest winner and Detroit native Glynn Washington and his team of the nation’s top storytellers as well as the Snap Judgment band. Tickets are $25–$40, or, for $70, you can get a VIP experience with seating in front of the orchestra plus a meet-and-greet with Washington and other storytellers. For tickets, visit kazoostate.com.
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ENCORE FIRST THINGS
Festival features ‘Nasty Women Poets’ The “nasty women” of the Trump era will be just some of the voices heard at the Kalamazoo Poetry Festival April 6-7. The festival, in its fifth year, will kick off with an open-mic event at 8 p.m. April 6 at Fire, 1249 Portage Road. You can bring a poem and share it with the audience or just sit back and enjoy others’ creative work. At 2 p.m. April 7, seven poets will read their work from an anthology titled Nasty Women Poets: An Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, 2017) at This is a Bookstore, 3019 Oakland Drive. The festival wraps up with a Celebration of Community Poets and Inspiration Fair at 8 p.m. April 7 at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Poets from a variety of cultures, traditions, generations and perspectives will read or perform their poetry, and the local band the Last Gasp Collective will provide music. All events are free. You can find the Facebook page for the festival at facebook.com/kalamazoopoetryfestival.
Bar hop and bask in the ‘90s Throw on that fanny pack you should’ve thrown away a decade ago and fill it with
aspirin because you’re bound to get riggity wrecked at the I Love the ’90s Bash April 14 in downtown Kalamazoo. This bar crawl encourages you to dig out your best ’90s duds and wander from participating bar to participating bar for drink specials, ’90s music and hanging out with other folks who remember “gettin' jiggy wit it.” Tickets are $28.90 and include an “I love the ’90s” color-changing stadium cup and slap bracelet. You must be 21 to attend this bar hop. For more information or to buy tickets, visit facebook.com/events/573698719636471.
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FIVE FAVES ENCORE
Longtime director notes memorable Gilmore Festival moments by
DANIEL R. GUSTIN
After 18 years, 10 Gilmore International Keyboard festivals and hundreds of performances by accomplished and aspiring artists, I have accumulated more than just gray hair from my time as the executive director of The Gilmore — I have also amassed a treasure chest of memories. From the inspired and moving to the scary and humorous, each year The Gilmore offers a surprise or two, a few of which I am happy to share with you:
The Best Award Annunciation Some
of the most gratifying experiences for the Gilmore director are the occasions every four years when the recipient of the Gilmore Artist Award is informed that he or she has won this most significant and generous award. Since the candidates for the award don’t know that they are under consideration, these surprise moments are always special and unique occasions. Of the five times that I bestowed these awards, my favorite took place at a modest restaurant outside Atlanta, where I met the wonderful Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter face-to-face for the first time. She had a very bad morning after discovering the piano she was to play that evening was in terrible condition and it was too late to get a replacement. When I told her I thought things were going to get better for her that day, she looked at me incredulously. Then I told her why I was really there and that she had won the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award. She sat quietly for a moment as I blabbed on about the award. Then she teared up, stood up, came around the table and gave me the warmest and most wonderful Latina abrazo (embrace) that I ever hope to experience!
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Credit I Didn’t Deserve The fabulous ensemble Pink Martini was halfway through their
2012 festival program at Chenery Auditorium when their pianistleader, Thomas Lauderdale, called out to the audience for someone to come onstage to help him play the important keyboard part in their next selection. “Come on,” he said, “this is a piano festival — surely there’s someone out there who can help me play this part!” Audience members began pointing to a young man seated in the 10th row who appeared to be trying to hide himself. Encouraged, but somewhat reluctantly, 2010 Gilmore Artist Kirill Gerstein made his way to the stage amid cheers from the audience. Lauderdale, recognizing Kirill and clearly astonished at what he had wrought, melodramatically fell to his knees and said, “OMG, I’m not good enough to play with this guy!” But play together they did, much to everyone’s amusement and enjoyment, and they earned a huge ovation as Kirill returned to his seat. For days afterward, people kept coming up to me to say how clever I was and what a masterstroke it was to “plant” Gerstein in the audience — a real coup de theatre! Truth be told, I didn’t plan it at all — it was a spontaneous festival moment that “just happened.”
How Not to Treat a Donor The
Gilmore has many dedicated and generous donors who help us make ends meet and keep our ticket prices moderate. One of the most important is a man (who will remain anonymous) who truly loves music and has enjoyed the festival since its inception. Fortunately, he also has a terrific sense of humor. My wife and I invited him to our home for a light repast between festival concerts one year, and as he walked up to the house, our normally docile dog, Max, (that's him pictured above) ran out and bit him on the leg. To make matters worse, we were standing in the doorway and began laughing, thinking that he was faking the whole thing. Fortunately, despite our embarrassment, the bite wasn’t at all serious, and we’ve had many laughs with him about it since.
My Scariest Festival Moment
The great young Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, at left, made his festival debut in 2014. He drove here with his girlfriend (now his wife) and brought along their dog, so they needed to stay in a pet-friendly motel outside of town. As the time for his concert neared, Trifonov was nowhere to be found. Nearly the entire audience in Chenery Auditorium was seated and waiting when a frantic telephone call came in backstage — Trifonov had been stopped for speeding. After some quick moves on the part of Festival Operations Director Maria Schneider, the police let Trifonov go with the understanding that he would pay his fine the next morning. He managed to get to the auditorium by 8:03 p.m. and two minutes later was on stage performing for the audience, none of whom knew anything of the offstage drama.
The Hexameron Mashup A
work for six grand pianos, a conductor and full orchestra? What a crazy idea! Who else but Franz Liszt, the greatest pianist of the 19th century, would consider such a thing? Well, Liszt did indeed create such a piece called Hexameron, and since The Gilmore had plenty of young hotshot pianists around, as well as the big stage of Miller Auditorium at our disposal, we decided to produce it for our 2004 festival. Then we discovered that this rarely heard work was never officially published and that there were no individual parts developed for the six soloists with appropriate cues. Well, our six Gilmore Young Artist soloists were undaunted. They planned “a scissors and paste party,” at which they each copied and cut out their parts from the full score and pasted them into individual parts for themselves. One of the young artists, Kirill Gerstein, remarked wryly afterward, “I’m happy to do this for The Gilmore, but I’m glad I don’t have to do it for a living.”
Daniel R. Gustin is director emeritus of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Awards. He has overseen The Gilmore since 2000 and is helping with the transition as the new director, Pierre van der Westhuizen, takes the reins. Gustin will retire after the 2018 festival. He plans to spend time with his wife, Barbara, on the Maine coast and at their principal residence in Kalamazoo.
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Hitting the Bullseye
Market wins customers with beef, baked goods and more story by
BRIAN K. POWERS
The Bullseye Marketplace at 350 Johnny Cake Lane in Three Rivers
delivers endless surprises. You’re welcomed with the glow of a fire in the stone fireplace, then come upon a 52-foot long fresh meat counter, freshly made bread and doughnuts, and a unique gift section featuring mostly Michiganmade products. The delicious smell of homemade apple fritter French toast with caramel wafts from the cafe. As you wander through the store, the surprises continue — among them the Greek yogurt made from the milk of Jersey cows at MOO-nique Dairy, in Vandalia. “This is the real stuff,” says bakery and café manager Dawn Stutzman, referring to the yogurt. “No sweetener at all, so it’s really healthy.”
18 | ENCORE APRIL 2018
Clockwise from above: Bullseye Marketplace offers a large selection of grass-fed longhorn/cross beef raised by the Marketplace’s owners; a photo of the large extended Stutzman family, many of whom work on the farm and in the bakery and store; the exterior of the Three Rivers market; and home-baked goods by Farmhouse Bakery.
The Three Rivers store is Bullseye Marketplace’s second location. The first market was opened at 59283 White Temple Road in Vandalia in 2012 by Israel and Jessica Yoder in a building adjacent to their farm. They named it Bullseye Marketplace because Israel is an avid hunter. With 36 lakes in the region, Vandalia’s Bullseye Marketplace attracted many vacationers in the summer, says Debbie McKenzie, general manager of both Bullseye markets. But things slow down
come winter, so the Vandalia store is closed from the end of December until May. For that reason, Bullseye’s owners sought a good year-round location for another store. “This building (in Three Rivers) came up, and we thought it would be an ideal location because of its location on US-131,” Stutzman says.
A meaty experience Even with all of the items to consider within the store’s 9,000 square feet of retail space, the main staple is fresh meat, with a focus on grass-fed longhorn/cross beef. The Yoders, who are Stutzman’s son-in-law and daughter, raise the cattle on their farm in Vandalia. The cattle are pastured 365 days per year, and their diet is supplemented in the winter with hay grown by the Yoders. “They (the cattle) right now roam right next to the Vandalia store,” says McKenzie. The Yoders crossbreed Texas longhorns with high-quality bulls such as Angus, Murray Grey and Maine-Anjou, and all their beef is graded USDA
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Choice or Chairman’s Reserve. According to data compiled by Texas A&M University, longhorn beef is lower in cholesterol than chicken. The Yoders not only pay attention to what they feed their cattle, but also raise the animals to maturity of more than two years, which is longer than the conventional time of 16 to 18 months. It gives the meat “more flavor, higher mineral content and nutrient content and better texture,” Israel Yoder explains.
The store’s meat counter also features 32 feet of salads, summer sausages and take-home pizzas, as well as deli meats and cheeses.
Baked goods, too The market’s second focus is fresh baked goods from Farmhouse Bakery, a business started in 2002 in Vandalia by Stutzman and her husband, Virgil Stutzman. “We have two breads that we actually grind the grains fresh right before we make
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them — 100 percent whole wheat or 100 percent multi-grain,” says Stutzman. “Most people’s grains come in already ground. We bring in the actual (wheat) berries and grind them ourselves.” The Stutzmans started Farmhouse Bakery after they moved from Goshen, Indiana, to Vandalia. Because of their Mennonite background, Stutzman says, people assumed she must be a good cook and started requesting her food.
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Opposite page and this page: Products available at Bullseye Marketplace. Center: An inviting fireplace with a seating area is featured in the café.
“A lady from Cassopolis had a convenience store, and she wanted me to bake Valentine’s cookies,” Stutzman says. After that came requests for her baked goods at a farmers’ market and eventually entreaties for Stutzman to open a bake shop. So the Stutzmans opened Farmhouse Bakery and provided Bullseye Marketplace’s Vandalia store with baked goods. When the Three Rivers store opened in 2016, Bullseye Marketplace and Farmhouse Bakery merged. Part of the
Vandalia Bullseye Marketplace became Farmhouse Bakery’s production center. Each morning the bakery delivers fresh bread to Bullseye Marketplace in Three Rivers. “Basically we had two good businesses come together,” McKenzie says. The farm, bakery and stores are truly a family operation. Some of the Stutzmans’ other children — they have 11 — work in the bakery, café, butcher shop and on the farm. Even manager McKenzie has a connection to
the family: She is a neighbor and longtime customer of the bakery. Dawn Stutzman’s ancestors have also contributed to the business — food from recipes passed down through the generations is served in the café.
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food is made fresh every day, “not out of a box.” Menu items change daily, except for the most popular items, including smoked drumsticks, mac and cheese, and that apple fritter French toast topped with caramel. “It’s along the line of a bread pudding,” Stutzman says of the fritter. “It’s our top seller in the café, I think, as far as a dessert,” McKenzie adds. But McKenzie’s favorite café choice? The sweet potato kale soup. The market’s café also offers a meeting room upstairs that can accommodate 28 people. It is outfitted with couches, tables and chairs, and a bathroom and Bullseye customers can reserve the space for a variety of uses. When a customer purchases bakery or buffet items, the room is free of charge. If someone brings in outside food products, a fee of $2 per person is charged for the space. McKenzie says the meeting room has been used in the past for a regular story hour, and one customer reserves it every month. “It’s starting to get kind of popular,” she says.
Clockwise from left: General manager Debbie McKenzie stands by Bullseye Marketplace’s 52-foot long meat case; the store also features its own smoked meats; Esch Road is just one of the many Michigan-made, organic products the store carries.
Bullseye Marketplace also caters for events such as family Christmas dinners, wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners and features its menu items in a freezer section as a do-it-yourself alternative. McKenzie says all of the catering items are available for purchase, such as large pans of the apple fritter French toast, cheesy potatoes, mac and cheese, meatloaf and smoked drumsticks. “I did this for Christmas,” McKenzie says, motioning to the large pans of food. “I did my whole dinner with items from our freezer.” The Bullseye Marketplace in Three Rivers also hosts events. An antique tractor show held on the property last autumn was “huge,” McKenzie says. The store owners and managers are hoping to put on more shows in 2018 and are currently scheduling tasting events such as soup and party tray samplings. “This past Christmas season we had a different tastetesting event every Saturday,” McKenzie says. “It was really popular.”
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‘Magic that can only happen here’ Gilmore Festival aims to make Kalamazoo a ‘cultural destination’ stories by
What can a world-renowned keyboard festival learn from a Kalamazoo-area craft brewery? Quite a bit, according to the Gilmore Keyboard Festival’s Pierre van der Westhuizen. Van der Westhuizen (pronounced WEST-hay-zen), who became the festival’s new director in January, says the 27-year-old festival and piano competition and Bell’s Brewery have much in common. They are both renowned for their high quality, both are aiming for a broader reach, and both were born in Kalamazoo and, despite their growing renown, still call Kalamazoo home. And just as Bell’s and the vibrant local microbrewery scene it inspired have made Kalamazoo a must-go destination for the craft brew crowd, van der Westhuizen believes the Gilmore Festival, which runs this year from April 25 to May 12, can have the same impact on music lovers. “I want to create the Gilmore and Kalamazoo as this ‘cultural destination,’ not just across the country but across the world,” he says. “I want to create something that you never want to leave, and once it stops, you can’t wait for the next one. It’s just magical from the get-go.”
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It’s not as if the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, often referred to as just “The Gilmore,” isn’t a known entity. Since it began in 1991, the biennial festival has grown from an eight-day celebration in Kalamazoo to an 18-day affair with more than 100 concerts, many in Kalamazoo but also in locations from Grand Rapids and East Lansing to Vicksburg and South Haven. The 2016 festival attracted more than 35,000 attendees to its classical, jazz and other keyboard concerts and events and brought nearly an estimated $4.2 million into the local economy.
Untapped potential Those figures alone might justify bragging rights, but van der Westhuizen and the director who preceded him, Daniel R. Gustin, say when it comes to The Gilmore’s fame and reach, they see untapped potential. “You are never satisfied until all our concerts are full,” says Gustin, who is serving as director emeritus as he transitions out of the leadership role after this year’s festival. “We get great support from the community and our audiences are loyal, but with 100 events in 18 days, that’s asking a lot of a community to go to all that.”
Which is why Gustin and van der Westhuizen see the world as their oyster. They believe the key to bringing global audiences to The Gilmore in Kalamazoo starts with bringing The Gilmore to more audiences around the globe. Van der Westhuizen says technology, especially the ability to live-stream festival performances via the internet, will be pivotal in The Gilmore’s growth. “Technology will be an incredibly powerful tool moving forward,” he says. “With technology we can leapfrog a bunch of obstacles, build an international network and get people hooked online. Once people in Vienna, London, Berlin or wherever tune in and see Murray Perahia and the whole lineup we have here, they will want to come here and explore what we and Kalamazoo have to offer. It is so surprising — all that is here. “If you start that narrative around the broader picture of what Kalamazoo has to offer and that they should come here, stay awhile and explore other things, it makes that narrative bigger than just The Gilmore. That’s the way you create this cultural destination.” For all it does, The Gilmore is a small nonprofit with a staff of 12 that operates
Go to The Gilmore April 25-May 12
Among this year’s performers are Gilmore Artists Igor Levit, Rafal Blechacz, Kirill Gerstein, Ingrid Fliter and Leif Ove Andsnes; Murray Perahia, Daniil Trifonov and instrumental collective Snarky Puppy Visit thegilmore.org for information, schedule and to purchase tickets.
from a smallish Midwestern town. Kalamazoo doesn’t have the same cultural cache as New York or San Francisco or New Orleans, but that doesn’t matter, says van der Westhuizen. He cites an example from his home country: the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, the largest arts festival in Africa. For two weeks in July, Grahamstown, which has a population of just under 70,000, hosts an annual festival that in 2017 attracted more than 202,000 people. “The rest of the year you wouldn’t know it or believe that this little Grahamstown can do this,” says van der Westhuizen. “It’s all about the will of the community and connecting in the right way to the right partners. The other thing, too, is this idea of creating an immersive
experience that’s more than attending a concert — it’s the food preceding the concert, the hotels surrounding it, the bed-andbreakfasts surrounding it, and whatever else the city or area has to offer surrounding it. All of these experiences matter.” Indeed, Gustin was equally ambitious when he came to head The Gilmore in 2000, after spending 30 years as the assistant manager of the Boston Symphony and manager of the annual Tanglewood Music Festival. He was the force behind doubling the length of the Gilmore Festival and extending the festival’s reach by adding venues in other West Michigan communities. He also worked to build the international excitement and esteem surrounding the organization’s Gilmore Artist Award, which is given every four years to a contemporary pianist whose developing career can benefit from the $300,000 prize that comes with the honor. “I think one of our significant achievements is that we’ve established the Gilmore Opposite page: Crowds stream their way into Chenery Auditorium during the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Above: World-class pianists, such as Piotr Anderszewski, are featured festival performers. Photos by Chris McGuire
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Among the festival artists this year are, clockwise from bottom left: Legendary pianist Murray Perahia, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and instrumental band and collective Snarky Puppy.
Keyboard Festival as a national and inter-national institution,” Gustin says. “It’s become better known in the last 15 to 18 years, and that’s not altogether what I’ve done. I’ve had a great staff, and the pioneers — the early managers and board members — who got this thing going had it positioned to become more respected and better known.”
Connecting with new audiences Becoming better known and appreciated by those in The Gilmore’s hometown, however, has been an ongoing effort for the organization. While the piano world may know that it is a big deal when artists like Kirill Gerstein, Emanuel Ax and André Watts all perform at the same festival, as they did in 2014, that admiration doesn’t always extend to the less keyboard-savvy. So in its off-season — the year between the biennial festivals — The Gilmore works ardently on outreach and education efforts. It hosts two ongoing public concert series, the Gilmore Piano Masters and the Gilmore Rising Stars. The Piano Masters Series presents recitals by such piano world luminaries as Sir András Schiff, Murray Perahia and Hélène Grimaud.
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Van der Westhuizen says locals may not realize how extraordinary these concerts are. “I have been blown away by the kind of musicians that come here. These are the artists that would normally perform in New York, L.A. and San Francisco and then go home, but they come to Kalamazoo. For somebody like Murray Perahia to come here — he’s only going to perform in New York and here on his tour — that’s crazy. That’s incredible. We should not miss that opportunity.” Equally, audiences may witness the next great piano master through the Gilmore Rising Stars series, which presents talented young pianists before their presumed international breakthroughs. For example, Gerstein, the 2010 Gilmore Artist and one of this year’s festival performers, made his Kalamazoo debut in 2002 as part of the Rising Stars series. “I think that it’s very valuable and important in the off years to keep people engaged and have Gilmore on their mind through such things as the Rising Stars and Piano Masters series,” says van der Westhuizen. “I would also like to explore offering more free community concerts, and with every one of those concerts we should have a buildup to the event, and for days after. That’s where the education comes in.” Education is critically important in cultivating new audiences, says Gustin, and The Gilmore does much to reach young music students. Its annual daylong KeysFest provides area piano students from first through 12th grade with workshops, clinics and one-on-one instruction with professional pianists and educators. Every July, the Gilmore Piano Camp is held at the Sherman Lake YMCA, combining an immersive piano education experience with the camp’s natural environment and outdoor activities. In addition, the organization’s Piano Labs, held September through May, include group piano lessons for elementary students, students with disabilities and those housed at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home. And during the biennial festival, a large number of concerts featuring festival performers are offered in local schools. (continued on page 30)
TAKING CHANCES New Gilmore director believes in serendipity
Two things happened a world away from
each other when Pierre van der Westhuizen was 10 that would come together for him many years later in an unexpected, but very fortunate way. In 1989, van der Westhuizen started piano lessons in his hometown of Heidelberg, South Africa. The same year, more than 8,600 miles away, in Kalamazoo, an organization formed to launch the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. And now, three decades later, the nearly 40-year-old van der Westhuizen is the new director of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, taking the helm as The Gilmore’s director of nearly 18 years, Daniel R. Gustin, takes a bow. “I am firm believer in serendipity in how things work out,” says van der Westhuizen. As a boy, van der Westhuizen says, he played the piano but didn’t begin to take it seriously until he was 10, which, he says, “was considered late.“ “I remember the teacher saying, ‘Now don’t expect anything … ,’” he says, laughing. “She was one of those old, stodgy teachers, but I knew after the first lesson that I loved it and that this was ‘it.’” His parents were nearly as discouraging as his piano teacher. “My family said, ‘This is a terrible career,’ which I agree with. Music is a terrible career because it’s so brutal. They wanted me to study medicine and yada yada, but when you know, you know. My father, thankfully, said, ‘If you do what makes you happy, you won’t work a single day in your life.’”
Two for one
Van der Westhuizen went on to get a bachelor’s degree in music performance at North-West University, in South Africa, which is where he met his future wife, Sophie, who is also a pianist. “We met as undergrads, and it’s just one of those stories where I was eyeing her from the
get-go and knew we were going to study with the same teacher, so I went to the teacher and asked if I could play some duets with Sophie. We’ve been playing duets ever since.” Rather than becoming dueling pianists, the couple found their fates and careers ultimately intertwined. They were both recruited to attend the doctoral program at the University of Cincinnati CollegeConservatory of Music.
As they were wrapping up their doctoral program, they both applied for and interviewed for a position on the faculty at Heidelberg University, in Tiffin, Ohio. “They jokingly told me, ‘We have to give you the job. You’re from a Heidelberg,’” he recalls, laughing. In actuality, though, the university had only one position, but two outstanding candidates who were married to each other. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 27
“We said, ‘We’re married, so you are going to get both of us no matter what, so why don’t you split the job?’ And that’s what they did,” says van der Westhuizen. Within four years, the two half positions had grown into two full-time jobs. It was at Heidelberg University that van der Westhuizen dipped his toe into the world of music festivals. Inspired by attending the Cleveland International Piano Competition and knowing that it would be good for student recruitment, van der Westhuizen convinced his department chair and dean to let him start a keyboard festival at the university. “In 2001, I went to it (the Cleveland competition) and loved it,” he says. “The winner was Roberto Plano from Italy. Fast forward to 2005 and I started the festival and invited Plano to perform because I remembered him from the Cleveland competition.”
‘You never know’
It turned out that some members of the Cleveland International Piano Competition’s board attended Plano’s performance at the Heidelberg Music Festival and met van der Westhuizen. Six years later, one of those board members called “out of the blue” and asked if van der Westhuizen would be interested in becoming the president and CEO of the organization that runs the competition.
“When I give talks about a career in music and arts administration,” van der Westhuizen says, “I say, ‘Treasure your relationships from the minute you walk in the door, because you never know. You just never know.’” It just so happened that one of the board members of the Cleveland organization was Jill Goubeaux Clark, a former Kalamazoo resident and former trustee of the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. It was Clark who urged van der Westhuizen to attend a Gilmore Keyboard Festival, which he did in 2012. “I was here for the final weekend and saw Pink Martini and the final concerts,” he says. “I just loved how the community took over the streets, and it was just all things piano. And I
The van der Westhuizen family, from left, Emma, Sophie, Phillip, Pierre, Ian, and Jean-Pierre.
thought, ‘Why haven’t I been here before?’ It’s really a pianist’s dream come true. “I loved the idea of a fully integrated piano experience. Many times we go to a concert, go home and that’s that, but here you get to not only go to a concert, but you get to go to a master class, you get to go to a film, you have dinner and see artists at clubs, you spend time with artists at preconcert talks, which is a more intimate setting, and you get to interact with other people and talk about it.“ In 2016, the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival began the search to replace Gustin, who planned to retire as director
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following the 2018 festival. Don Parfet, who chaired the selection committee looking for Gustin’s replacement, says they were looking for someone who not only had an administrative background, but could be a mentor, adviser and confidante for the pianists. “The Gilmore is renowned for its festival and for recognizing global talent in keyboard performances,” Parfet says. “Part of that talent recognition is also developing talent and helping artists further their careers. Dan (Gustin) was very adept at that and well regarded in that way by the artists. We were also looking for someone who understood the world of piano performance and had a deep understanding of the piano marketplace. “
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Enter van der Westhuizen, whose name was among an impressive pool of candidates, says Parfet. Not only had van der Westhuizen transformed the Cleveland International Piano Competition from a single event into one with a festival approach tied to a full-fledged arts organization, he also doubled the corporate investment in the organization. He had been recognized by the Crain’s Cleveland Business as a “40 under 40” community leader and as one of 2015’s “30 Music Professionals of the Year” by Musical America magazine. Parfet says there were “interesting connections” that made van der Westhuizen stand out. “Pierre is an accomplished pianist himself who, while not a big performer, is very involved in education,” says Parfet, “and he is coming to us from running the Cleveland International Piano Competition. He had many of the requisite skills, and when he had attended the festival in 2012, he met Dan and was impressed with how The Gilmore was ‘all things piano.’” Ah, serendipity again. It was announced in September 2017 that van der Westhuizen would be The Gilmore’s new director and by January the (continued on page 42)
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“We have companies here with a strong international presence, and by getting the community to realize what we have at The Gilmore , they can become advocates for The Gilmore and Kalamazoo wherever they go,” he says. The Gilmore also is working to strengthen awareness of the organization stateside. When the Gilmore Artist Award is announced every four years, a public concert is performed by the artist in New York City. Gustin and van der Westhuizen say part of the reason for this is to take advantage of the proximity to national media outlets such as the New York Times and National Public Radio that will cover the announcement and share it with global audiences. Van der Westhuizen says he would like to have more Gilmore events in other major cities. Above: Jeremy Denk performs during the 2016 Gilmore Festival. Right: Performances by Pink Martini have been a festival favorite. Photos by Chris McGuire.
Gilmore (continued from page 26)
“Arts in public schools are really taking a beating and becoming less and less important in the school curriculum, and that’s not a good thing at all,” says Gustin. “We’d like to make more connections there, especially in minority communities less served by institutions, to introduce them to music, and it doesn’t have to be Beethoven.” Van der Westhuizen agrees. “Education is one of the most important things we do, especially as funding for music education in schools dwindles,” he says. “I think we have to be 100 percent immersed in that.” This educational effort also extends to grownups. The Piano Labs, for example, include group piano lessons for adults. In addition, The Gilmore offers adult enrichment courses through Western Michigan University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The festival, however, is still one of the organization’s largest educational opportunities. In addition to performing, festival artists teach master classes and give talks. The festival also features a series of family concerts and performers travel to schools, libraries and other venues across the region to present concerts and programs for babies to high-schoolers.
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“We offer programs aimed at developing an interest in music in young people, and our family concerts do that in a big way,” notes Gustin.
Ambassadors abroad This local education can also have an impact on a global level, says van der Westhuizen. He notes that the region has a number of corporations such as Stryker, Mann+Hummel, Parker Hannifin and FabriKal that have overseas facilities, partners and connections. Van der Westhuizen says he sees opportunities for The Gilmore to capitalize on these international ties.
“It’s branding,” he says. “Since we are international, it means we have to be in other markets to get our brand out there. There we can say, ‘Did you love this? Then come experience the total festival in Kalamazoo.’ That’s the point of it.” Kalamazoo, after all, is The Gilmore’s home, he says. “I use the beer analogy — the Bell’s analogy,” he says. “You may be able to find Bell’s beer in every grocery store, but their home is right here. The festival will always remain here. The Gilmore Award is based here. This is it. “It’s a sort of magic that can only happen here.”
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These cats are cool
New youth jazz orchestra fills niche in local music scene by
THERESA COTY O’NEIL
The next best thing to watching a professional jazz orchestra
perform is watching a youth jazz orchestra perform, especially one that’s newly minted, as the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra is. The 18-member KYJO includes high school musicians from 10 school districts and one home school. On a late afternoon in February, the orchestra visited Woods Lake Elementary to perform for Kids in Tune, an after-school orchestra program supported by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Communities in Schools and the Kalamazoo Public Schools. A couple of rapt young boys perched on the stage behind the drummers, surveying each move and swinging their legs to the beat
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as Director Benje Daneman led the KYJO through “Tiptoe,” a standard by Thad Jones. When the song finished, Daneman asked the KIT students how the music made them feel, and they responded with words like “smooth,” “happy,” “hungry” and “cool.” These jazz musicians are hip — they’re finger-snapping, toe-tapping, head-nodding cats. Launched last fall, the KYJO offers high school youth the opportunity to connect with others who love jazz and want to make music at a higher level while also being exposed to professionals in the field. With rehearsals every other week, the audition-only orchestra came together quickly and was much more successful that Daneman
anticipated. Students and their families have been enthusiastic. “Emotionally, I connect my life with jazz a lot more than I do with other music,” says Roger Roets, a junior saxophonist from Hastings. “There’s not many people in my school who are actually like me in this way. There’s so much talent here. It really ups my game.” Paxton Earl, a senior tenor saxophonist from Vicksburg, agrees. “Everyone is a friend and wants to help. We have something very special.” Daneman is excited to realize a longtime dream with the KYJO. “This project has been simmering in my mind for years,” he says. In 2014, he and his wife jazz vocalist Ashley Daneman, and pianist Nich Mueller launched the Jazz & Creative Institute (JCI), a Kalamazoo-based organization that uses educational programs, mentoring and performances to help budding musicians
create a life in the arts. It initially offered a high school summer camp called JazzStart, but the organization went dormant when the Danemans moved briefly back to New York, where they had met during jazz school. “We always had these visions for a hub to support jazz musicians,” Daneman says. After the youngest of their three daughters was born, the Danemans returned to Kalamazoo in 2016 to be closer to family. As a WMU graduate and trumpeter with a degree in music education and jazz studies, Benje Daneman was returning to his old stomping grounds. “When we moved back, we wanted to start laying down some heavier roots,” says Daneman, who assumed his new position as education manager of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra the day after he unpacked the moving van. The vision for the JCI, which had never quite died, suddenly expanded.
Clockwise from opposite page: Hunter Button, left, and Paxton Earl, right, play in a KYJO performance; saxophonists Isaac Bagley, front, and Roger Roets perform; members of the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra and their mentors. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 33
ARTS ENCORE As rich with musical offerings as Kalamazoo is, particularly with a well-regarded jazz studies program at WMU, Daneman still believed there was “a desert of jazz education in the Kalamazoo region.” He wrote a grant proposal to the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo to create a youth jazz orchestra. The proposal included a budget, planned partners for the organization and the design of the season. “If this goes through, I said, I’m going to do it. And it did,” he says. WMU jumped on board with faculty support from Bradley Wong, Keith Hall and Andrew Rathbun, among others. “The whole department is super-excited,” Daneman says. “They house us. We rehearse there. They are allowing us to use their recital hall for our final concert.” What Daneman couldn’t have anticipated was the amount of interest and talent the Above: Members of the Kalamazoo Jazz Lab Band perform. Opposite page: Justin Lee Schultz performs on the piano as Hunter Button, back left, and Benje Daneman, right, look on.
See the KYJO KYJO Live Recording May 30 With: Special guest Andrew Rathbun, saxophonist. The Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Lab Band and JCI faculty will also perform. When: 7 p.m. May 30 Where: Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU Cost: $10, or $5 for students Tickets and more info: Visit jazzandcreative.com
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ENCORE ARTS audition call would generate. “There was so much interest we had overflow,” he says. So the KYJO formed a second group, the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Lab Band, a septet representing five schools and made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores and serves as a primer band for the KYJO. Good thing, too, since one-third of the KYJO members will be graduating this spring, with several heading off to music school for jazz studies. “The concept of jazz is really a collective conversation in music,” Daneman says, “and it’s something that everyone can contribute their voices to. This is music that is not just about music, it’s about standing for something. As an improviser, it’s about an individual voice, about having an individual contribution. It’s not just notes on a page.” Andrew Stone, a senior drummer from Parchment, agrees. “If someone is soloing, they are speaking a language and the other musicians are speaking the same language and communicating with each other,” says Stone. “It’s always interesting to hear what someone is saying. The saxophone’s solo today is not going to be the same this week as it was last week.” Just as performers aren’t sure how a jazz standard will come together in front of a new audience, Daneman isn’t quite sure in what ways the JCI or KYJO will grow, but his long-term goal is to serve not only the youth jazz musicians of Kalamazoo, but professional and semi-professional jazz musicians in the area. The JCI has added individual jazz and improvisation lessons for all levels and its leaders are considering providing a big-band experience for adults. On Daneman’s longest days — which include his day job at the KSO and two rehearsals — going to the KYJO rehearsals reinvigorates him, he says. “The kids are so geeked out about acting professional and making amazing music, and it’s just exciting to see the fire,” he says. “The most rewarding part of it is seeing these kids are being fed in the way that they desire.”
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Over the Rhine — Folk, alternative-country band, 8:30 p.m. April 7, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Plays
Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods — The story of a “Lost Boy of Sudan” who moves in with American hosts, revealing a journey of struggle and hopefulness, 7:30 p.m. April 6–7, 13–14 & 20–21, 2 p.m. April 8, 15 & 22, The Civic’s Parish Theatre, 426 S. Park St., 343-1313. Wally’s Garage: Fletcher’s Hidden Treasure — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. April 14, First Baptist Church, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 342-5059. The Good Doctor — Senior Class Reader's Theatre presents Anton Chekhov and Neil Simon's play about human frailties, 2 p.m. April 20, 22 & 29, 7:30 p.m. April 21, 27 & 28, The Civic’s Carver Center Studio, 426 S. Park St., 343-1313. The Queen of Bingo — A comedy exploring Bingo, family, diet crazes, hot flashes and winning, 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., through April 21, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328. Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective: The Departed Man’s Guilt — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. April 28, First Baptist Church, 342-5059. Musicals Disney's The Lion King — A Tony Award-winning musical based on the Disney film of the same name, 16 performances April 4–15, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300; see millerauditorium.com for performance times.
Jesus Christ Superstar — Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera about the last days of Jesus, 7:30 p.m. April 6, 7, 12, 13, & 14, 2 p.m. April 8 & 15, Shaw Theatre, WMU, 387-6222. Liberace — A tribute to a performer known for his charm, glitz and glamour, 8 p.m. April 27 & 28, May 4, 5, 11 & 12, 2 p.m. April 29, May 6 & 13, 7:30 p.m. May 3 & 10, Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, 343-2727. Other
Farmers Alley 10th Anniversary Gala — Performance highlights of the past 10 seasons, 8 p.m. April 13 & 14, Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, 343-2727. MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists Of Montreal — Indie-pop, indie-rock band, 8:30 p.m. April 1, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. Reggie & the Full Effect — Rock, alternative indie band, 7:30 p.m. April 5, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332.
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Second Sundays Live: Double Strung — Country, bluegrass, gospel and acoustic rock band, 2 p.m. April 8, Parchment Community Library, 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747. Robin Trower — British blues-rock guitarist, 8 p.m. April 8, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. John Sebastian — Lovin' Spoonful musician performs folk and classic rock, 8 p.m. April 11, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Mustard Plug — Ska, and punk-rock band, 8:30 p.m. April 13, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Three Dog Night — The legendary rock band celebrates its fifth decade with classic hits, 8 p.m. April 14, State Theatre, 345-6500. The Go Rounds/Caroline Rose — Kalamazoo folk rock group and indie-rock singer, 8:30 p.m. April 14, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Trout Steak Revival — Bluegrass quintet, 9 p.m. April 20, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Christian Sands Trio — Gilmore Keyboard Festival jazz pianist and his trio, 7 p.m. April 26, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Henhouse Prowlers — Chicago-based bluegrass band, 9 p.m. April 27, Bell's Eccentric Café, 3822332. Victor Wooten Trio & Sinbad — Jazz and funk trio, with percussionist and comedian Sinbad, 8:30 p.m. April 28, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More Clocks in Motion — Bullock Performance Institute concert, 7:30 p.m. April 4, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-2300. University Jazz Lab Band — 7:30 p.m. April 5, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Artemis Quartet — Fontana presents this Berlin string quartet, 7:30 p.m. April 7, Stetson Chapel, Kalamazoo College, 382-7774.
Royal Voices: Music for the King of Instruments and Chorus — Organ and choral concert featuring the Kalamazoo Singers, 7:30 p.m. April 14, First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park St., 373-1769. Choral Showcase — WMU University Chorale, Cantus Femina and Collegiate Singers, 8 p.m. April 14, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Music Therapy Clinic Concert — 7 p.m. April 16, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Borgess’ Noontime Concert Series — KSO Artists in Residence, noon April 17, Atrium Lobby, Borgess Medical Center, 1521 Gull Road, 349-7759. Music in the Round — KSO Artists in Residence, noon April 18, Bronson Methodist Hospital, 601 John St., 349-7759. Guitarist Xavier Jara — Winner of the 2016 Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition, 7 p.m. April 19, Dalton Theatre, Kalamazoo College, 337-7047. Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music — Michael Markowski, guest composer, 7:30 p.m. April 19, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Classics Uncorked: Spring Evening — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra members perform works by Walker, Muhly and Joplin, 8 p.m. April 20, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park St., 349-7759. Crescendo Academy of Music Student Recital — 2 p.m. April 21, First Presbyterian Church, 321 W. South St., 345-6664. Classics on Tap: Spring Evening — KSO members perform works by Walker, Muhly and Joplin, 8 p.m. April 21, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 349-7759. 59th Annual Concerto Concert — WMU University Symphony Orchestra, 3 p.m. April 22, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-4667.
Student Composers IV — 7:30 p.m. April 8, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.
Flights of Fancy — Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra with pianist Alpin Hong and the KJSO Concerto Competition winner, 4 p.m. April 22, Chenery Auditorium, 349-7557.
Benje Daneman Group — Alumni recital, 7:30 p.m. April 10, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.
Burdick-Thorne String Quartet — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra members perform, 7 p.m. April 24, First Presbyterian Church, 349-7759.
Spektral Quartet — String quartet with video artist Mark DeChiazza, 7:30 p.m. April 11, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-2300.
Gilmore International Keyboard Festival — Multiple concerts featuring world-class musicians, April 25–May 12, various area locations, 342-1166; see gilmore.org for schedule.
University Concert Band — 7 p.m. April 12, Portage Central High School, 8135 S. Westnedge Ave., 387-4667. Gold Company II — WMU vocal jazz ensemble, 7:30 p.m. April 12, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Fun and Games — Kalamazoo Concert Band performs with the winner of the Youth Soloist Competition, 7:30 p.m. April 14, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 806-6597.
Country Music Spectacular — Presented by Kalamazoo Fraternal Order of Police, April 27, Chenery Auditorium, 337-0440. Bill Charlap Trio — Fontana presents this jazz trio performing renditions of Leonard Bernstein's songs, 4 & 7 p.m. April 29, Williams Theatre, WMU, 359-7311.
ENCORE EVENTS Night of Worship — Featuring Bethel artists Steffany Gretzinger, Jeremy Riddle and Cory Asbury, 7 p.m. April 29, Radiant Church, 8157 East DE Ave., Richland, 629-7111. DANCE BFA Graduating Presentations Concert — Student-produced performances by WMU graduating dance majors, 8 p.m. April 12–14, 2 p.m. April 14, Dalton Center, Studio B, WMU, 387-2300. Spring Concert of Dance — Wellspring Cori Terry & Dancers, 8 p.m. April 19, 20 & 21, 2 p.m. April 21, Wellspring Theater, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 204, 342-4354. COMEDY Crawlspace Eviction Improv Comedy: Trouble — Improv and sketch comedy show inspired by the board game Trouble, 8 p.m. April 27 & 28, Jolliffe Theatre, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 599-7390. Gabriel Iglesias: One Show Fits All World Tour — American comedian and actor, 8 p.m. April 28, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, 345-1125. STORYTELLING
Snap Judgment — National Public Radio show showcasing the opinions and storytelling skills of Glynn Washington and others, 8 p.m. April 20, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 KIA Exhibit
Dawoud Bey: Harlem U.S.A. and Harlem Redux — Photography of Harlem in the 1970s and 2014–16 by Bey, alongside images by Harlem Renaissance photographer James VanDerZee from the KIA’s collection, through April 11. Passion on Paper: Masterly Prints from the KIA Collection — Including works by Toulouse-
Lautrec, Mary Cassatt, Howard Hodgkin, Richard Anuskiewicz, Luis Jimenez and Vija Calmins, through July 15.
Book Discussion: The Lady and the Unicorn — Marion Amdursky leads a discussion of the novel by Tracy Chevalier, 2 p.m. April 18, KIA Library.
Vibrant Bounty: Chinese Folk Art from the Shaanxi Region — Folk paintings and artifacts of rural China, April 7–Aug. 12.
Kalamazoo Pecha Kucha Volume 4 — Ten speakers show 20 images, each for 20 seconds, 7 p.m. April 26, facebook.com/pechakuchakzoo.
Young Artists of Kalamazoo County — Creative, colorful, whimsical art by students in grades K–8, April 21–May 6.
Richmond Center for Visual Arts Western Michigan University, 387-2436
KIA Events ARTbreak — Programs on art, artists and exhibitions: More Human Than Human, BBC video on the human figure in art and popular media, April 3; Photographing Potawatomi Regalia, talk by photographer Sharon Hoogstraten, April 10; Art School Residents Review Their Year, Brian Shields Carey, Molly Cipielewski and Caitlyn Pelfresne talk about their work with Art School Director Denise Lisiecki and Print Department Chair Deb Mattson, April 17; The History of Art in Three Colors: Episode 3, White, video, April 24; sessions begin at noon. Art Hop: Pop-up Community Photo Exhibition — Plus Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium presents artistic healthy food, 5–8 p.m. April 6. Sunday Public Tours — Docent-led tours: Dawoud Bey: Harlem, USA, and Harlem Redux, April 8; My Hero!, April 15; Vibrant Bounty: Chinese Folk Art from the Shaanxi Region, April 22; KIA Collection, April 29; all tours begin at 2 p.m. Art League Talk: Saints, Painters and Merchants: Contemporary Religious Art in Ethiopia — Lecture by University of Michigan Professor Raymond Silverman, 6:30 p.m. April 11, KIA Auditorium. Unreeled: Film at the KIA — Screenings of Bare, Sobriety Test, and a new project, all by Kalamazoo filmmaker Katherine Nofs, 6:30 p.m. April 12, KIA Auditorium.
17 Days (Volume 10) — One artist’s video work per day is played on 50-inch plasma screens, through May 1, Atrium Gallery. Rita Grendze: Signs for Those Seeking Light — Cast-off books that have been cut by hand, mounted and suspended give voice to writing as a powerful visual language, through Dec. 16, Atrium Gallery. Annual Student Exhibition — WMU art students display their works, April 5–22, Monroe-Brown Gallery, with reception 5–7 p.m. April 5.
Black White Color Life — Exhibition of works by Peter Plagens and Laurie Fendrich, April 5–May 20, Netzorg and Kerr Gallery, with reception 5–7 p.m. April 5. Richard de Peaux — Featuring drawings and paintings by retiring WMU Professor de Peaux, April 26–May 30, Monroe-Brown Gallery, with reception 5–7 p.m. April 25. Other Venues Jennifer Farrell, Starshaped Press — Letterpress art, from business cards to music packaging, through April 27, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A, 373-4938. Solo Gallery: Johnathan Wijnberg — Oil on canvas exhibit, through April 27, Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, 329-4544. Tamara Hirzel: Overgrowth & Understory — Exhibition of woodblock and linocut prints, through April 27, Kalamazoo Nature Center, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574.
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Art Hop — Art at locations in Kalamazoo, 5–8 p.m. April 6, 342-5059.
Westminster Art Festival: Honoring H.O.M.E.S. — Juried exhibit on an environmental theme, April 21–May 20, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1515 Helen Ave., Portage, westminsterartfestival.org.
FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018 DALTON CENTER RECITAL HALL WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library Introduction to Arabic Language — A sixweek course, especially for service providers and teachers working with Arabic-speaking immigrants, 6:30 p.m. Mondays, April 2–May 7, Oshtemo Branch Library, 7265 W. Main St., 5537980; registration required. Adobe Photoshop and the Creative Cloud Collection — A demonstration of basic scanning and professional photo editing software, 7 p.m. April 2 & 26, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 342-9837. First Saturday @ KPL — Stories, activities and door prizes for the family, 2 p.m. April 7, Central Library, 342-9837.
Classified: Who in the World is Merze Tate? — Sonya Bernard-Hollins talks about her book and Tate’s life using never-before-published FBI documents, 6 p.m. April 9, Eastwood Branch, 1112 Gayle, 553-7810. STU43-- 2018 Encore Ad.indd 1
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Animals and Society Book Club — Vegan Kalamazoo’s monthly book discussion, 7 p.m. April 12, Central Library Boardroom, 342-9837.
Michigan, My Michigan: A History of This State — British Control to Territorial Michigan — Lynn Houghton discusses Michigan’s growth and development from its early beginnings to recent years, 7 p.m. April 16, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 342-9837. American Promise Panel Discussion — Watch clips from the documentary and hear from community members about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity, 7 p.m. April 19, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 342-9837. A Novel Idea Book Club — Discussion of Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline, 6:30 p.m. April 23, Oshtemo Branch, 553-7980. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747 Parchment Book Group — Discussion of Calling Me Home, by Julie Kibler, 6:30 p.m. April 2.
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Yum's the Word: Cook with Zingerman's Bakehouse — Zingerman co-owners share their baking expertise as part of the Michigan Notable Books Authors’ Tour, 6:30 p.m. April 11. Mystery Book Club — Discussion of The Unquiet Bones, with local author Mel Starr, 6:30 p.m. April 16. Front Page: Donuts & Discussion — Current events discussion on Making Democracy Work, led by the League of Women Voters, 10:30 a.m. April 21.
ENCORE EVENTS Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544 Sci Fi/Fantasy Discussion: Han Solo — Discussion of the non-canon Han Solo Trilogy, by A.C. Crispin, 7 p.m. April 2. Friends of the Library Book Sale — 9 a.m.–3 p.m. April 7. Lunch and Learn: Brown Bag Book Discussion of X: A Novel — This Great Michigan Read, written by Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, and Kekla Magoon, contains a message of reinvention and redemption, noon April 11. International Mystery Book Group — Discussion of Forty Words for Sorrow, by Giles Blunt, 7 p.m. April 12.
Top Secret: License to Spy — Explore the science and technology of the undercover world of spying and espionage, through April 29. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon — The band's eighth album set to visuals, 4 p.m. Sat., through June 9, Planetarium. Spring Break Planetarium Shows — Classic Fairy Tales with a Twist: Bear Tales, 11 a.m.; Space Shapes, noon; Sky Legends of the Three Fires, 1 p.m.; SpacePark 360, 2 p.m., April 2–6. Spring Break Hands-On Happenings — Do Pigs Fly? April 2; Kindhearted Wolves? April 3; Unlikely
Friends? April 4; Happily Ever After? April 5; Animals Play Ball? April 6; all events 1–4 p.m. Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium — Lectures, demonstrations and discussions on food history, food culture and food systems, focused on Native American foods and culture, 5–7 p.m. April 6, Kalamazoo Valley Museum;11 a.m.–3 p.m. April 7, KVCC's Culinary Arts and Food Innovation Campus, 418 Walnut St., 373-7990 or kvm.kvcc. edu. (See more in this issue’s “First Things.”) Sunday Series: Amateur (Ham) Radio — John Tucker of the Kalamazoo Amateur Radio Club explains amateur radio, 1:30 p.m. April 8.
Classic Movie: Darker Than Amber — Share a classic movie and popcorn with Steve Salaba, 2–4 p.m. April 14. Open for Discussion — Discussion of Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee, 10:30 a.m. April 17. Placing X: A Novel in Michigan Cultural History — Michelle Johnson examines young Malcolm X’s Michigan and Kalamazoo connections, 2 p.m. April 21. Must Be 21+: Bad Poetry Night — Prizes given for the worst poem read or a poem read badly, 7 p.m. April 27. Other Venues Kalamazoo Poetry Festival — Open-mic event, 8 p.m. April 6, Fire, 1249 Portage Road (doors open at 7:30 p.m.); Nasty Women Poets, 2 p.m. April 7, This is a Bookstore, 3019 Oakland Drive; and Celebration of Community Poets and Inspiration Fair, 6 p.m. Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park St. See more in this issue’s “First Things” and at facebook.com/kalamazoopoetryfestival. MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555 Spring Break Hands-on Science Camps at the Air Zoo — Science Wizard, April 3; Secret Agent Spy School, April 4; Spring Awakening, April 5; all camps 9 a.m.–4 p.m., airzoo.org; registration required. Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089 2018 Lecture Series — 100th Anniversary: Colonel Joseph Westnedge and World War I, Tom George, April 8; Riding Across the Sands of Time: Dune Rides, Dune Scooters, Dune Schooners, Dunesmobiles and Dune Buggies, M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson, April 15; The History of Speedway Design and Construction, Van Walling, April 22; The History and Evolution of the Country's Most Unique Aviation Museum: The Air Zoo, Bob Ellis, April 29; all sessions begin at 3 p.m. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990
Golden Legacy: Original Art from 75 Years of Golden Books — This special exhibit showcases 65 original illustrations from these classic children's stories, through April 15.
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Statewide Astronomy Night — Astronomyrelated activities for all ages, 5–8 p.m. April 20. Includes a 7 p.m. talk by Albion College astronomy professor Nicolle Zellner, a member of the team that searched for space rocks on the ice fields of Antarctica. Sunday Series: Planetary Weather — Featuring speaker Shawn Bueshaber of WMU, 1:30 p.m. April 22.
Kalamazoo A–Z — Items from the museum's rarely seen collections, April 28–Aug. 26.
One local bank helps “deliver their customers image” When CLS outgrew its current facilities due to the recent expansion of Uniform, Linen and Mats services, and also the addition of a full line of Facility products and Services, Image wear and Promotional products, the 119 year old company turned to First National Bank of Michigan. “Chris and his team listened to our needs and offered solid advice and support. It’s simple - they just plain care about us and I never feel like just a file or a number.”
Sunday Series: Sustainable Gardening — Kalamazoo River Watershed Council and Common Ground–Kalamazoo Community Garden Network discuss sustainable gardening projects and resources, 1:30 p.m. April 29.
Zuzana: Music is Life — Film about how Zuzana Ruzickova became a world-famous harpsichordist after surviving three concentration camps, noon April 30. NATURE Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510 Sustaining the Vision Open House — Free admission and a walk in the bird sanctuary, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. April 8.
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Birds and Coffee Walk — A walk to view birds of the season, 9–10:30 a.m. April 11. Earth Day — Free admission to the bird sanctuary, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. April 22. Other Venues
The King of Spring — Richard Bell of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society gives a colorful tour of the spring sky, 7 p.m. April 6, Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center, 600 W. Vine St., Suite 400, Dutton Street entrance, kasonline.org. Kalamazoo Earth Day Festival 2018 — Exhibits and displays, activities for families and kids, music, vendors, food and drinks, 1-7 p.m. April 21, Bronson Park, facebook.com/KalamazooEarthDay Audubon Society of Kalamazoo — Gary Mittelbach speaks on Why Are There So Many Species in the Tropics? 7:30 p.m. April 23, People's Church, 1758 N. 10th St., 375-7210. MISCELLANEOUS Marmalade Dog 23 Gaming Convention — Tabletop role-playing games, miniature war games and more, April 1, Bernhard Center, WMU, 350-4263, marmaladedog.org. Kalamazoo Indoor Flea & Antique Market — New and used items, antiques and handcrafted items, 8 a.m.–2 p.m. April 3–4 & 10–11, Kalamazoo County Expo Center North, 2900 Lake St., 3838761. Spring Cleaning Model Railroad Swap Meet — Buy and sell model railroad items, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. April 7, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South, 344-0906.
40 | ENCORE APRIL 2018
Walking Tour of Downtown Kalamazoo Breweries — Learn about the local beer culture, noon–4:30 p.m. April 7, starting at Central City Tap House, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall; April 14, starting at Shakespeare's Pub, 241 E. Kalamazoo Ave.; April 21, starting at Old Burdick's Bar & Grill, 100 W. Michigan Ave.; April 28, starting at Kalamazoo Beer Exchange, 211 E. Water St.; 350-4598.
Ordinary Men? Perpetrators, Bystanders, and Victims in the Holocaust and Lessons for Today — Lecture by WMU Professor of History Eli Rubin, 11 a.m. April 8, Congregation of Moses, 2501 Stadium Drive, 501-5581. Painting in the Park — Expert artists offer stepby-step instructions to create a masterpiece, 6–9 p.m. April 12, Schrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave., Portage, 329-4522. MODA's Spring Fashion Show 2018 — WMU students display their fashion designs, 7–9 p.m. April 13 & 14, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, facebook.com/MODAatWMU. Antique Bottle & Glass Show — Flasks, medicines, fruit jars, dairy bottles and related glass, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. April 14, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 616-581-7005. Southwest Michigan Postcard Club Show & Sale — Postcards from the 1890s to the present, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. April 14, Kalamazoo County Expo Center North, 517-230-0734. I Love the ’90s Bash — Wear ’90s clothing to participate in a bar crawl featuring drink specials and ’90s music, April 14, various venues, facebook. com/events/573698719636471. Pinball at the Zoo — Games for sale and play, auction and tournaments, 2–10 p.m. April 19, 1–10 p.m. April 20, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. April 21, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South, 628-4628. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. April 21, Kalamazoo County Expo Center North, 779-9851. Sherman Lake YMCA Summer Camp Extravaganza & Interactive Family Health Fair — Open swim, bounce house, arts & crafts, vendors and community groups, 1–4 p.m. April 22, Sherman Lake YMCA, 6225 N. 39th St., Augusta, 731-3000.
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UPCOMING SHOWS March 31 ALL EARS VARIETY REVUE April 14 WALLY’S GARAGE: FLETCHER’S HIDDEN TREASURE
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42 | ENCORE APRIL 2018
April 28 DAN TURNER, HOLLYWOOD DETECTIVE: THE DEPARTED MAN’S GUILT May 12 ANANSE and HIS SPIDER TALES
van der Westhuizen family, which includes Pierre and Sophie’s four children, JeanPierre, 8, Emma, 7, Ian, 4, and Phillip, 2, was settled in Kalamazoo. Van der Westhuizen found himself jumping into “the craziness” of an organization already neck-deep in implementing the 2018 festival and admits “it’s been a blur.” “It’s kind of the perfect time to come in because I am very blessed and lucky to have Dan here to oversee the execution of the festival,” he says. “Dan and I hit it off from the get-go and it’s great for me to see the day-to-day work of everything that goes into the festival and the kind of craziness that goes into it.”
The perfect time
More than that, van der Westhuizen is also learning about the covert and complicated process the Gilmore uses to select the winner of the Gilmore Artist Award every four years. “Working with Dan now will really inform the next four years for me, especially with the Gilmore Artist Award selection process,” he says. “It’s critical to talk to him because he built that, and it’s a very delicate process that has to have a very careful handover.” But once the 2018 festival ends, Gustin will retire and van der Westhuizen will be on his own. “Pierre is going to bring some exciting energy to The Gilmore that will challenge us to think about new ways to produce the festival and attract new audiences,” says Parfet. Van der Westhuizen also comes on board as The Gilmore breaks in two new, pivotal staff members: Anders Dahlberg, who replaced Maria Schneider as operations director and oversees the logistics of the festival and other Gilmore events, and Curtis Cunningham, who takes the reins as the organization’s director of marketing and public relations. “It’s great to have a blank slate with them,” van der Westhuizen says, “but it’s a great balance, because we have people who have been here a long time that will provide context and continuity. It’s the best possible time to come in.” Ah, serendipity.
Kalamazoo Puts on Junihitoe junihitoe — Literally "twelve-layer robe." Garment worn by Japanese court ladies of the Heian era (794 to 1185 A.D.)
Late March. Eyes starved by winter in Michigan savor nuance, subtleties, distinctions they would despise in June — taupe, buff, olive, sage.
The walls are paper, and the court is cold. Twelve graduated, layered robes enable displays of status, taste. The colored cuffs of Murasaki's robes sing harmonies.
Fashion and weather both reflect the season. Who would wear a plum-red gown in April? Dark green, three shades of pink, two layers of white — traditional Beneath the Snow, safe choice.
She's ready now, swathed in midori, spring grass green, trillium, dogwood. She can't move quickly, but smiles, knowing no one wants her to.
We may be rustic here in Kalamazoo, but we know how to dress — grass under russet pine straw, three shades of moss over mud.
It takes two women an hour to dress her. Each robe is crossed left over right, secured. Then the mantle. The Chinese jacket. The train, embroidered or stenciled on satin. Last, the fan.
Here it can take weeks or one afternoon, but winter is over. Veil of red on sugar maples, the willow's yellow ribbons.
— Susan Blackwell Ramsey Ramsey is a Kalamazoo poet whose collection A Mind Like This (2012) won the University of Nebraska’s Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry.
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AppleTree & Gilden Woods Preschool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Arborist Services of Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Betzler Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Bronson Health Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Constance Brown Hearing Centers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Dave’s Glass Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 DeHaan Remodeling Specialists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 DeMent and Marquardt, PLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 DeVisser Landscape Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Family & Children Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Farmers Alley Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Fence & Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 First National Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Gilmore Keyboard Festival . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Gilmore Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Greenleaf Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Halls Closets & More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
WMUK IS NPR FROM WMU
Hettinger & Hettinger, PC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 HRM Innovations, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Kalamazoo Community Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Kalamazoo Institute of Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Kalamazoo Public Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Kalamazoo Singers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Kalamazoo Valley Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Keyser Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Langeland Funeral Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Lewis Reed & Allen, PC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 LVM Capital Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Masonry Heater Design House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Mercantile Bank of Michigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Metro Toyota . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Meyer & Allwardt, PC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Miller Davis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Oakland Centre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Parkway Plastic Surgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Portage Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Jeff K. Ross Financial Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Sherman Lake YMCA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 SPCA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Stewart & Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Stulberg International String Competition . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Trust Shield Insurance Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 V&A Bootery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
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VanderSalm’s Flowershop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Varnum Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Wells Fargo Advisors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Willis Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 WMUK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
BACK STORY (continued from page 46)
“When I first took this job, I felt unprepared and unqualified and that wasn’t really a great way to move an organization,” Kennedy says. “I’m told by grant officers and foundations that I am the youngest executive director they know. I felt like I constantly had to prove myself. I had to let go of that and realize that I am only accountable to these young people and the board of directors that love and support our mission. “They don’t tell you that about professional life, that when you pick a job that you care so much about it’s going to be really hard not to take things personally. But it’s also really great because you grow a lot. I feel like I love myself a lot more and that’s a big thing.” How did you become connected to Fire? I went to Kalamazoo College and when you come to Kalamazoo and ask, “Where do I go for spoken-word slam poetry?” everyone directs you to Fire. As a student, I would walk here for the First Friday Open Mics. Then for a period of time through a service-learning project at K, I did writing workshops with people in probation and parolee facilities and we would get to bring them here for openmic nights. When the executive director’s job came open, someone on the board suggested I apply. It was basically a job description that said, “Hey, do everything.” I didn’t think I was qualified; I was 22 and was like, “Are you serious?” But I applied and there was
an interview process and, yep, a few weeks later I got this large, beautiful position as the executive director of Fire. What does Fire do? It is a youth-driven space for art and justice. We have a teen advisory council that is part of the decision-making body at Fire that decides what programs we do, designs their own programs and makes pretty key decisions like “What’s this lock-in going to look like and why?” We have workshops where youth will come in and create and make something so that these youth see themselves as artists and not as in an after-school program. It’s a workshop space. We also do lockins and retreats and, while they are the most expensive programs to do with youth because of the cost to supervise, staff them, keep the youth safe and have food, our youth grow so much at these events. We also do the Kalamazoo Youth Poetry Slam each year, where youth compete in front of five judges, with formal scoring. It’s the only youth poetry slam in Kalamazoo that follows national best practices and really preserves the slam culture. Why did you want to head Fire? I grew up in Ann Arbor and was part of this amazing teen space called the Neutral Zone and having a space to consistently share stories has been a really healthy thing
in my life. That’s what Fire was when I came here and so I wanted to join that space. I also had a lot of big questions on my plate at the time. I was working in grassroots politics and community organizing and didn’t really know where I fit in as an artist. I came into this work with that question: How do those two things that I really want — artistry and a more just world — sew in together? You mentioned you’ve grown a lot in this role. What’s changed for you? I’ve gotten real comfortable being Sassy Nonprofit Nancy. That’s what I call her (she laughs). I have these sassy director moments, saying things like, “Before you complain, have you volunteered yet?” What gives you the most joy? The deep authenticity of this space and the young people that come here. They are so, so themselves. I really enjoy what I call the “lingering after workshop moments.” A young person will tell their parents to pick them up late and then they’ll just kind of hang around and just start talking to me. I love those moments because sometimes they are saying something about themselves for the first time and they are starting to realize how much the world loves them and how much they love themselves.
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BACK STORY ENCORE
Allison Kennedy Executive Director Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative
or two years, Allison Kennedy has been the executive director of Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative, a Kalamazoo youth space in the Edison neighborhood for creating art and promoting social justice, and in those two years, the 25-year-old says, she has “grown so, so much, both personally and professionally.” But the lessons aren’t over. Kennedy says her biggest challenge is being seen “as a young person to adults and as an adult to young people.”
(continued on page 45)
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Southwest Michigan's Magazine: Can This Guy Make Kalamazoo A 'Cultural Desitnation'?, Hitting the Bullseye Marketplace, meet Allison Kennedy...