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Products from Kalamazoo’s Past

The Return of Ear-Eating Poetry

Meet Jeremy Winkworth

Ian Gorman is a ‘Sonic Mad Scientist’

A dynamic live virtual event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, to honor Founding Dean Hal B. Jenson, MD, MBA for his legacy of leadership, and to support the mission of Kalamazoo’s medical school.

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From the Editor W

e’ve been living with the Covid-19 pandemic and its fallout for a year now. When it started, I, like many people, didn’t foresee that it would last this long or have the life-altering impact it has had. And while it has drastically changed how we work, I know the Encore staff and I are grateful to be able to continue to put together a new issue each month. Not only does the work help keep us connected to each other, but through the stories we write and photograph we are able to connect with new people in our community, which helps ease the isolation. One of those stories is this month’s cover feature on Ian Gorman and his La Luna Recording and Sound studio. Many local and state musicians have told us that Gorman is the go-to guy when it comes to recording music in Kalamazoo, and his long list of clients is proof that his reputation goes beyond our borders. Writer Mark Wedel wonderfully captures just what Gorman does to create musical magic. We also look at the Poems That Ate Our Ears writing contest, which has been giving young poets a way to showcase their work since 1976. Writer Julie Smith talked not only with current Friends of Poetry President Elizabeth Kerlikowske about the contest, but also with Gregory Moore, whose poem was featured in the early days of the contest and still resonates today. Finally, before it became Pfizer (the company that rolled out one of the first Covid-19 vaccines), The Upjohn Co. was a much beloved employer in Kalamazoo County, and now one man, Jeremy Winkworth, is working to make sure people don’t forget that. Through his website Memories of The Upjohn Company, Winkworth is preserving Upjohn history and contributions to the community for all to learn about and enjoy. As always, we are so grateful for our advertisers and subscribers, whose support allows us to keep publishing during these challenging times. We are also thankful to the loyal readers who pick us up each month at public locations. If you aren’t a subscriber, I hope you’ll consider showing your support for Encore by becoming one.

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Products from Kalamazoo’s Past

Meet Jeremy Winkworth

The Return of Ear-Eating Poetry

March 2021

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

Ian Gorman is a ‘Sonic Mad Scientist’


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Contributing Writers

lynn houghton, elizabeth kerlikowske, marie lee, julie smith, mark wedel

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Encore Magazine is published 12 times yearly. Copyright 2021, Encore Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Editorial, circulation and advertising correspondence should be sent to: 117 W. Cedar St. Suite A, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 Telephone: (269) 383-4433 Fax: (269) 383-9767 Email: 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 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.


Marie Lee

When Marie met with Jeremy Winkworth for this month’s Back Story profile, she was impressed not only with his vast collection of memorabilia from The Upjohn Co., but by his commitment to preserve the history of the company where he worked for 37 years through his website Memories of The Upjohn Company. “We should all love the places we work so much,” Marie says, “and even though Upjohn has been gone 26 years, Jeremy truly wants people to know the impact the company had on our community.” Marie is the editor of Encore.

March Donor Spotlight WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine Proudly Recognizes Kalamazoo Philanthropists and Medical School Benefactors

Julie Smith

When contributor Julie Smith set out to write about Poems That Ate Our Ears, she thought it would be an article about an annual event but it turned into something much bigger than she imagined. "It wound up being a story about reinventing something by borrowing from the past," Julie says. With so much uncertainty in the world right now, Julie was glad to write a piece showing that everything old can be reborn, noting, "Now is the time for our community to take what we already have and use it to grow." You can see more of Julie's work at

Mark Wedel

Ian Gorman's love of the recording process and the technical and psychological aspects of capturing artists' life work drove this article, and Mark's geekiness as a record nerd made him particularly interested in this subject. "Let me tell you the history of multi-track recording, starting with Les Paul," Mark has been known to say as his friends' eyes reportedly glaze over. From the late '80s to the late '90s, Mark held a number of radio jobs, and he has boatloads of music discs and phonograph cylinders that date back as far as 1910. He's also been a Kalamazoo-based freelance journalist since 1992, covering a wide variety of subjects.

Dr. Thomas G. Ryan and Mrs. Debra K. Ryan We extend our sincere appreciation to Dr. Thomas Ryan and Mrs. Deb Ryan and the James R. Ryan Foundation for their leadership in supporting the mission, programs, and students of WMed. We are honored by Tom and Deb’s visionary leadership, advocacy, and their generous support for the core mission of the medical school. Thank you Tom and Deb!

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Ma r ch


FEATURE ‘Sonic Mad Scientist’

La Luna’s Ian Gorman has the secret sauce that helps artists make music and find their voice


DEPARTMENTS 3 From the Editor 5 Contributors 8 First Things A round-up of happenings in SW Michigan

11 Five Faves

Lost Products — Historian Lynn Houghton highlights products that were once made in Kalamazoo


Back Story

Meet Jeremy Winkworth — He’s keeping memories of The Upjohn Co. alive and on the web


Ear-Eating Poetry — This nearly 50-year-old


Events of Note



youth writing contest is coming to a bus near you

On the cover: Ian Gorman at the mixing board in the studio at La Luna Recording and Sound. Photo by Brian Powers.

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First Things Something Moving

RAD Fest returns, albeit virtually The Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (RAD Fest), presented by Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers and featuring the work of more than 200 choreographers, filmmakers, movement installation artists and dance educators from across the globe, returns March 5-7. Covid-19 restrictions have limited the three-day festival’s live performance aspect but not the online events available, which will include virtual concerts, “screendance” films, master classes, artist talk-backs, interactive lectures/ discussions, audience Q&A sessions and movement installations. The three-day festival will present the performances, master classes and artist talks via livestreaming. Professional performances of short works are scheduled for 8 p.m. March 5 and 6, and a youth performance series begins at 3 p.m. March 7. Screendance films and movement installations will be available for online viewing anytime between 10 a.m. March 5 and 10 p.m. March 7. Tickets for the Midwest RAD Fest range from $30-$75, with some activities free to attend. To view the festival’s complete schedule or to buy tickets, visit

Something Literary

Author Jacqueline Woodson to talk National Book Award winner, 2020 MacArthur

Fellow and bestselling author Jacqueline Woodson will present an online craft talk and keynote speech March 10, hosted by the Kalamazoo Public Library. Woodson, who also won the 2021 Coretta Scott King Book Award, will speak as part of the library’s 2021 Reading Together program, which selected the author and her extensive body of work for this year’s community read, through which community members are invited to read the same literary works. Woodson has written more than 20 award-winning books for young adults and middle-graders and two adult novels, Harbor Me (2018) and Red at the Bone (2020). Woodson will present her craft talk at 3 p.m. and give her keynote address, titled “The Power of Story,” at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Registration is required to receive the Zoom links. To get more information or register for the events, visit



Something Artistic

KIA offers two new exhibits The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts staff and a guest curator have dug into the KIA’s vast permanent collection to create two new exhibitions. Framing Moments, which closes May 15, explores what it means to make and collect photography. Guest curator Deborah Willis, an artist and photography scholar, chose 125 photographs that highlight how photographers create images that preserve moments, Sheila Pree Bright, Untitled #14, from the plastic body people and places. The photos are from the mid-19th series 2003, archival inkjet print. century to the 21st century. The second exhibition, Unveiling American Genius, is described by the KIA as a “reimagining of the KIA Permanent Collection to illuminate the ingenuity and innovation that arises from all corners of American society.” The exhibition explores key stories that women, African Americans, Latinx and other artists have told about American culture, art and history through abstract and contemporary works, including landscape, still-life and portraiture. This longterm exhibit opened in December and will run indefinitely. The KIA is open 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. You can book tickets and get updated hours, safety protocols and other information at

Jeff Sonhouse, Conceived in a Seamstress’ Garden, 2020, acrylic, collage, metal wire on canvas.

Something Earthy

Native Plant Conference held as webinar March is not optimal gardening weather in Michigan, but if you

are itching to get your hands into the dirt, the Michigan Native Plant Conference on March 7 and 8 might tide you over. This annual conference hosted by the Wildflower Association of Michigan is being presented this year as a webinar with the theme “Biodiversity: Strengthening Native Plant Communities.” It will feature information on a variety of topics related to native plants and habitats, landscape design, wildlife, and invasive species. The cost to access the webinar is $50, or $25 for students. Registration will close at 5 p.m. March 4. To register or for more information, visit

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Something Classical

KSO offers A Little Night Music The sounds of Berlin cabarets of the 1920s, music with jazz influences and Mozart’s great

classical work Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) will be explored in a livestreamed concert by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra at 7 p.m. March 26. The program, titled A Little Night Music, will feature KSO string, woodwind and brass musicians in a one-hour performance livestreamed from Comstock Community Auditorium. It will include works by Mozart, German composer Kurt Weill and Austrian composer Friedrich Gulda. The program is part of the KSO’s Final Friday Digital Concert Hall series and will also be recorded for audience members to view at their convenience. Tickets are on a name-your-price basis, with a minimum of $20, and can be purchased at

Something Fun

Eating out? Play Carryout Bingo! Carry-out dining is our way of life these days, so you might as well have a little fun and get rewarded for doing it. Through its Kalamazoo Carryout Bingo, Discover Kalamazoo is offering takeout diners a chance to sample lots of local cuisine, get a nifty “Kalamazoo: Made for You” T-shirt, and help out local restaurants in the process. To play, download one or all three of the Carryout Bingo cards at discoverkalamazoo. com to your phone. Order carry-out from local restaurants that appear on the card you choose to use, then use your phone to cross off a restaurant’s square when you purchase the carry-out. Use the free space in the middle to write in a restaurant of your choice. Get five in a row in any direction — horizontally, vertically or diagonally — and then upload and submit your completed card or cards to enter. T-shirts will be awarded to the first 50 individuals who complete a submission. To download the cards or get more information, visit






Please send your questions to:

Please send your questions to:

Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A. Willis Law 491 West South Street Kalamazoo, MI 49007 269.492.1040

Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A.


LAWYER Q. Does the Biden A. Yes. The Biden administration is contemplating reducing the federal estate tax ASK exemption, significantly, from $11.7 Million per person today, down to $3.5 Million



My husband is going into a nursing home. I’ve been told it is possible for me to create a trust and protect my assets from the spend down at the nursing home. Is that true?


administration LAWYER intend to modify A. Q. the estate and A.wealth transfer tax laws? A.

Yes. Most often when folks talk on trust planning, they are referencing a revocable trust. In fact, that is the case probably more than 99% of the time. A revocable trust under Michigan law generally is set up only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there Please send your questions to: husband going into a nursing home.that I’ve told it is is anMy irrevocable trustisfor persons in your circumstances can been be established withtoyour assetsatotrust the extent they exceed protected possible for me create and protect my the assets from the spend Willis Law amount (which under Michigan law will cap at a little over $125,000). down at the nursing home. Is that true? 491 West South Street If the trust is irrevocable and the assets are effectively established in an Kalamazoo, MI 49007 MICHAEL J. WILLIS, J.D., C.P.A., WILLIS annuity LAW income stream back to you per the terms of the trust, then in 269.492.1040 such Yes. a circumstance the trustwhen will no folks longer talk be considered Most often on trusta countable planning, they are asset, but instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid Please send your questions to: referencing a My revocable trust. Ingoing fact, that case probably more intois atheand nursing purposes. This is husband a sophisticatedis planning technique, I highly home. I’ve been told it is thanencourage 99% of you the time. counsel A revocable trust underthisMichigan law generally before implementing or possible toforseekme to create a trust andtechnique protect my assets from the spend anyup other Medicaid planning. is set only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there Willis Law MICHAEL J. WILLIS, J.D., C.P.A., WILLIS LAW

Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A.


Willis Law 491 West South Street Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A. 491 West South Street Kalamazoo, MI 49007 Kalamazoo, MI 49007 269.492.1040 269.492.1040



at thetrust nursing home. Is that true? is an down irrevocable for persons in your circumstances that can be established with your assets to the extent they exceed the protected amount (whichYes. under Michigan law will cap folks at a little Most often when talkover on$125,000). trust planning, they are If the trust is irrevocable and the assets are effectively established in an referencing a revocable trust. In fact, that is the case probably more annuity income stream back to you per the terms of the trust, then in than 99% of the time. A revocable trust under Michigan law generally such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable up only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there asset, isbutset instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid purposes. is a sophisticated I highly is an This irrevocable trust forplanning personstechnique, in your and circumstances that can be encourage you to seek this technique or the protected established withcounsel your before assetsimplementing to the extent they exceed any other Medicaid planning.

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, 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.


amount (which under Michigan law will cap at a little over $125,000).

Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys and Counselors Law, istrust licensed toispractice law in Florida andand Michigan,the and isassets registered asare a certified public accountant established in an Ifatthe irrevocable effectively 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 recognizedincome for the highest stream levels of skill and He isyou listed inper the Bestthe Lawyersterms in America.of the trust, then in annuity back

such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable asset, but instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid

per person. The exemption is the amount of assets one may own (or control) at death and avoid estate tax. An asset amount that exceeds the exemption is generally taxed, today at a rate of 40%. The calculation of assets in an estate at death includes the face value of life insurance not part of a properly-drafted irrevocable trust. The President’s plan would also reduce the amount one may give away during life, without paying gift tax, from $11.7 Million, to $1 Million. Further, the plan intends to abolish the “step up” on capital assets which generally occurs on the death of an individual. These changes would be important for a number of Americans, and would affect both the wealthy and those without significant assets (in the case of the proposed capital gains modifications). We recommend seeking counsel with your estate planning lawyer and CPA soon.

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, 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.

10 | ENCORE MARCH 2021


This is a sophisticated technique, and I highly Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneyspurposes. and Counselors at Law, isplanning 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 encouragewhich you to seek before implementing this over technique or Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, hascounsel been rating lawyers for a century, signifies that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. any other Medicaid planning. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America.


Five Faves

'Lost' products that were once made in Kalamazoo by


For years, Kalamazoo produced a variety

of products that made the city famous around the state, around the country and around the world. Some of these even gave our community nicknames such as “The Paper City.” Even today, many people outside of Kalamazoo know our community from the taxicabs, fishing rods, buggies, stoves and musical instruments — just to mention a few products — that came out of the factories here. Of the products no longer made in Kalamazoo — lost products, as I call them — here are five of my favorites, some of which might surprise you.

Windmills For many years before and after the Civil War, the primary industry of Michigan and many other states was agriculture. Several companies in Kalamazoo produced many types of agricultural implements, including windmills, which were first made here in 1867. Twenty years later, five local companies, employing a total of 200 workers, were manufacturing more than 4,000 windmills a year. At one time Kalamazoo produced 80 percent of all windmills in the world. Kalamazoo-made windmills could be found in Europe, South America, Africa and Australia. The image shown here is a wooden model from around 1880 made by B.S. Williams and Co., which later made silos. The Phelps and Bigelow Co. continued to make windmills here until the late 1940s.

Corsets For many years, corsets were a part of everyday life for women, and one of the largest manufacturers of women’s undergarments was in Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo Corset Co., which moved here from Three Oaks in 1891, was located on the northeast corner of North Church and Eleanor streets and used turkey feathers rather than whalebone to stiffen the garments. Although it was not the only corset company in the city, it was the largest. It employed more than 800 workers, mostly women, and by 1906 produced 1.5 million corsets a year in more than a hundred styles. A three-month strike in 1912 led to the company’s bankruptcy and reorganization. It was renamed the Grace Corset Co. and remained open, although it was much smaller, until 1957.

Regalia and Uniforms Frank Henderson, known now more for his house than his business, started out making saddles and harnesses in the 1860s but later abandoned that enterprise and instead manufactured trunks and travel bags, along with regalia and uniforms for the Knights Templar part of the Masons. By 1873, he chose to concentrate not only on equipment and clothing for lodges and fraternal organizations, but also on uniforms and other supplies for the military, bands, civic organizations and fire departments. The Henderson Co. merged with the Ames Co. in 1893, becoming the Henderson-Ames Co. and expanding its offerings to decorative swords. By 1924, the company notched more than $1 million in annual sales. A merger with the Lilley Co. in 1933 led to the company’s departure to Ohio.

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Flinch While two Kalamazoo companies made playing cards in the 1890s and early 1900s, bookkeeper Arthur Patterson, who worked at a local book and stationery store in the city, decided to do something different, creating a unique card game called Flinch that caught on across the United States. The game, created in 1901, involves 150 numbered cards and is played by anywhere from two to eight people. The object of the game is to get rid of your cards in the proper sequence. Within two years, Patterson sold 1 million copies of Flinch, and by 1930 it was one of America’s most popular games. After selling more than 7 million sets, Patterson sold Flinch to Parker Brothers. The game continues to be available.

Sleds In

1894, two Kalamazoo companies merged to make a product highly popular during the winter months — sleds. The Kalamazoo Sled Co., located on Third Street, eventually produced 80 styles of sleds, ranging in price from 20 cents to $3.50. By 1906, the company made more sleds than any other company in the United States. Very early on, the Kalamazoo Sled Co. diversified, also making folding chairs for ferries and circuses, along with lawn furniture and educational toys. It produced arctic sleds during World War II. The company was known for the Champion line of sleds and began to manufacture the plastic Champion Flying Disc in the 1950s. The Gladding Corp. purchased the company in 1968 and moved all operations to Maine four years later.

The images are from the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s collection. To see more images from the collection, go to

About the Author Lynn Houghton is the regional history curator at the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections. She leads the Gazelle Sports Historic Walks, a series of free architectural and historic walks at various locations in Kalamazoo County during the summer and fall, and is the co-author of Kalamazoo Lost and Found, a book on Kalamazoo history and architecture. She also participated in the PBS series 10 that Shaped America. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from WMU and a master’s in library and information science from Wayne State University.

12 | ENCORE MARCH 2021

LOVE IS (Volume 4) Kalamazoo Bach Festival

Virtual Concert Premiere SUN | March 28 | 4 pm

2020-2021 Season No. 74

As spring arrives, join the Kalamazoo Bach Festival for its annual Love Is concert, now in its 4th year! After a tremendous outpouring of love and support with our Virtual Holidays with the Bach Festival in December 2020, a program that reached across the country in its viewership, we are excited to again partner with Public Media Network and La Luna Recording and Sound to bring you a celebration of love from our heart to yours through the human connection of song. A beautiful and creative work of art that includes music from Paul McCartney, Renaissance motets, Randall Thompson, Stevie Wonder, and American folk tunes that will be sure to brighten your Spring. With dazzling images, luscious harmony, and a renewed sense of hope, we sing together, to envision a brighter and more equitable world for all.

Tickets on Sale Now! Visit or (269) 337-7407

Connect from home.

25+ local, licensed therapists Our Kalamazoo and Portage Clinic therapists are available to help with anxiety, depression, addiction and more during the COVID-19 crisis through teletherapy. Visit our website to learn more and set up your first appointment.

w w | 13

‘Sonic Mad Scientist’ Ian Gorman helps artists make music and find their voice

14 | ENCORE MARCH 2021

story by


photography by



here's a bit of a time warp happening in a corner of the Edison neighborhood. A cluster of old brick buildings on Fulford Street stands as a Rust Belt relic. The buildings used to house the 1898 Star Brass Works foundry, which made parts for trolley machinery and tone rings for Gibson banjos in the first half of the 20th century. At the southern end of the buildings is a 1940s expansion, a windowless, drab hulk built to manufacture munitions for World War II. Open an old wooden door to that building and you enter La Luna Recording and Sound, and it could easily be the golden age of recording studios and producers making recorded music that rocked the world, from the 1960s-1980s. Go past the small sound booths where individual musicians and vocalists do their thing, across a room big enough for a small orchestra, past the large, working 1940 RCA radio and the 1920s Victrola in the restroom across from it and into the recording engineer's booth, and you’re back in 2020: Mac computers run Pro Tools audio software, and La Luna's founder and head engineer, Ian Gorman, sits at the mixing board, wearing a Covid-era mask. The studio décor and vibe, "a combination of modern and vintage,” are the result of Gorman’s careful crafting. The studio feels timeless, literally. Inside La Luna, one can't be sure if it's day or night. A variety of old lamps and strings of white Christmas lights provide the only light. "It's like Vegas," Gorman says. "No windows, no clocks." With no distractions, artists and engineers can lose themselves in their work. Here such nationally recognized artists as comedian and musician Stephen Lynch and the band Greensky Bluegrass — as well as dozens of artists from across the state, including the Kalamazoo-based bands The Go Rounds and Last Gasp Collective — have recorded their work. And while the studio’s vibe is nice, it is Gorman that they come for.

‘Sonic mad scientist’ Ian Gorman at the mixing board in the recording engineer's booth of La Luna Recording and Sound.

Lynch, a Kalamazoo resident, recorded his 2019 nationally successful comedicsongs album, My Old Heart, under Gorman's

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guidance. "Ian’s great,” Lynch says. “He’s like a sonic mad scientist. He hears frequencies that normal human ears don’t." The Go Rounds have produced six albums with Gorman, and they gush on their Facebook page that he "may just be the best engineer in the state if not the country.” “So much care goes into every decision,” they say. “He says, 'If you're not happy, I'm not happy.'" Sincerely modest and not looking to be the star of the show, Gorman is quick to point out that La Luna is more than just him — he has a stable of mostly twentysomethings working as producers, engineers and assistant engineers. Squeeze him for more info and he admits that La Luna is approaching its 500th project. And he estimates that in his career, going back to his student days, he's worked on close to 1,000 projects.

with bands in Kalamazoo. He now plays most types of stringed instruments for the roots/ world band The Red Sea Pedestrians along with his wife, Rachel Gorman. Gorman admits, "I didn't know what I wanted to do” as a WMU student. “I wanted to play music, but I didn't know what that meant yet." Wanting to learn about making records from a musician's viewpoint, he took a class taught by WMU recording instructor John Campos. Campos teaches the basics like Clockwise from top left: An antique organ adorns one wall of La Luna’s main studio; Gorman, at left, and Jacob Wolfe, an assistant engineer and intern, listen and watch the monitors as an artist records in the studio; and instruments stand at the ready in the main studio.

Raised among records and art "I think it was inevitable I'd get into the artistic life in some way," Gorman says. Gorman was born in 1977 in a house full of records and art. His father, Jim Gorman, was a disc jockey at the Detroit progressive rock station W4. His mother, Marilyn Gorman, was an artist who met his dad in 1971 on a job drawing caricatures of on-air radio personalities. Ian grew up "in the house of a working artist who wasn't just drawing for fun on a Sunday afternoon but who was working jobs, had consignments and clients and who had to be disciplined and take it seriously and have a great time doing it too." But it was the records that put Gorman on his current path. As a kid, he'd dig through his parents' classic LPs, listening to everything from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to folk albums from the Holy Modal Rounders and FCC-not-approved comedy by George Carlin. Gorman also delved deeper into the past — Benny Goodman, Robert Johnson — and then got into alternative and underground sounds as a teen. He became a musician himself, playing rock, folk and roots music at open mics and, as a Western Michigan University student, 16 | ENCORE MARCH 2021

microphone placement and track mixing, "but one of the things that he does that is so remarkable,” Gorman says, “is that he teaches you all the other stuff too ... about how to be in a room with other people and be an artistic ally to them, the real-world skills. "He changed my life," Gorman adds. "Soon I was obsessed with being in the studio, and a lot of it was because of him and his influence." Gorman found himself literally at home in WMU's Western Sound Studios. "As soon as

John gave me keys to the place, it was over. I was sleeping on the couch."

Kalamazoo to Chicago and back After graduating from WMU, Gorman went to work for the Chicago Recording Co., where he participated in sessions for rock bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Wilco and captured sounds from easy-listening's Mannheim Steamroller to rap's Twista. "I learned a lot," he says, but working 20hour days and facing "massive celebrity egos and hardened entertainment industry cycles

of abuse” took its toll. "It probably took 10 years off my life from sleep deprivation and stress, and I decided it wasn't the life for me." Lured by the “super supportive” independent Michigan music scene, Gorman returned to Kalamazoo. “There's no competitiveness,” he says. “It's communityminded. There's this back and forth. There's this influence, this collaboration. Everybody's playing with each other." In late 2001 he opened La Luna in his garage. The business grew, and the need to expand, combined with the fear that his neighbors might not appreciate "someone playing tuba poorly for eight hours," brought Gorman out of his garage. In 2018, La Luna moved into Jericho Town, a complex of refurbished industrial buildings on the eastern edge of the Edison neighborhood that also houses a piano shop, a guitar manufacturer and the café/scooter shop Fido Motors. "This was just a big, empty space," Gorman says, motioning around the La Luna studio. "Concrete floor, leaky roof. We basically built a house inside of it." There was no sewage system and no electricity. Gorman credits Jeb Gast, Jericho Town’s owner, for helping to make the space fit for making records. When Gorman talks of recording, he still says "making records." While some La Luna recordings go on vinyl and others become

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purely digital and online, they are all still "records" to Gorman. "There's still this art and beauty to making records," he says. "(It can be) capturing a raw moment in time ... or it's fine-toothed-comb creating something out of nothing that has no ties to the real world, that exists in the sonic realm. I love it so much."

Facilitator, therapist On an autumn evening, singer and multiinstrumentalist Dylan Tolbert is pouring his heart out in one of La Luna’s small sound booths, working on his song "Superheroes and Laser Beams." He is visible through the control booth window above the mixing board and across the expanse of the main studio floor, and his singing — deep voice, impassioned soul with a Stevie Wonder influence — is coming over the audio monitors perfectly. It's like Tolbert is in a little space capsule, and Gorman is heading Mission Control. Assistant engineer/intern Jacob Wolfe sits behind Gorman, watching and listening intently. Gorman rarely touches the mixing board — the faders are set just right — as he watches the tracks and waveforms on the computer monitors, his head bobbing to the music while he takes notes on paper. The only interruption in the room’s intensity is when Gorman compulsively sticks a pencil into a whirring electric sharpener near the booth's lava lamp and Bigfoot statue.

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Tolbert arrived at the session worried about his voice. That weekend at a wedding he'd done some singing and maybe had a little too much fun. He sounds perfect, but he wants another take. Gorman is supportive of every suggestion, bobbing his head along with every take and every playback, even though he's heard various versions of Tolbert's songs repeatedly. They switch to Tolbert's "Little Too Much." Tolbert sings along to a prerecorded track of himself playing guitar. There's something in

Above: The team creating musical magic at La Luna is, front row, left to right, Maggie Heeren, Ian Gorman, and Cynthea Kelley; back row, left to right, Tony Mitchell, Paul Schaedig, Claire Horn, Samuel Peters, Julián Guerrero and Jacob Wolfe. Right: La Luna is housed in a former factory in the Edison neighborhood.

the mix, a subliminal deepness in the vocals. Does Tolbert's voice have unearthly powers? Or is the sound created by fancy computer effects? Gorman and Tolbert explain that there’s a ghost of a vocal on the guitar track because they're using Tolbert's first guitar take, when

he was singing along while playing. They were going to do a clean guitar take, without the ghost vocal, "but I've really come to like it," Tolbert says. Gorman deems it “a happy accident." Then they go over seemingly endless variations of "Superheroes" — with the guitar track, without, with guitar on the intro or muted or silent on the first chorus. It's methodical work, requiring an effort to hear, with fresh ears, portions of the same song over and over. Gorman sees himself as a facilitator of this process, but he's also somewhat of a therapist, patient with artists trying to capture their life's work, their deeply felt lightning in a bottle. Gorman says a recording engineer's attitude is more important than his 24-track deck or his Pro Tools. "Most importantly, you've got to be the right vibe and the right spirit in the room," he says. "It's like playing in a band with someone. You have to get to know them, get to know what helps them be better and try to communicate with them. "My job is not to make the musician do what sounds good to me. To me that's bad engineering or producing, the ‘I know better than

you’ sort of attitude. My job is to always help the musician get what they want, and that's something that I really love doing. Sometimes involved in that is giving them a different opinion, like, 'Hey, that thing you're trying to do, maybe there's another way to do that and be more-effective.' Sometimes it involves guidance. Sometimes it involves not guiding anything and letting them drive the car.” La Luna works mostly with Michigan artists, and Gorman has a long list of those whom he's loved working with. One of his biggest records was Lynch’s My Old Heart, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's comedy charts and was one of Gorman's last projects before he moved La Luna from his garage. "To say that we did that in my garage felt pretty good," he says. Lynch says of Gorman, "I could ask him for something in a super non-technical way like, 'Can you make that piano sound more angry?' and he’d know exactly what I meant. And he’d make it happen. I love the way My Old Heart turned out, and I’ve already begun laying down tracks for my new record at La Luna." Lynch is "one of my favorite songwriters," Gorman says, because he takes musical production of a song very seriously, and "then you put the vocal on there and laugh your ass off." Other Gorman favorites include roots/folk artists Greensky Bluegrass, Seth Bernard and May Erlewine; Kalamazoo's soul/hiphop/ eclectic Last Gasp Collective and their producer, Jay Jackson; New York Times bestselling poet/philosopher Mark Nepo; and Dominic Davis, who's now in Jack White's band. A lot of records Gorman has engineered have had national success as independent productions, without the backing of major-label money. "Almost everybody I work with are independent artists. I'm very proud of that," he says. "I love the empowerment of an artist being in control of their own creative vision and not having it affected by either outside label influence or just simply the pressures of fame, which is a really difficult thing for an artist. I wish they all had labels to help with their bills and get them more money, get their stuff heard by more people,

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Recording these days

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But music is a difficult business, even without the impact of a pandemic. "Like most people I know in the music world, we do it because we have to — it's just something inside of ourselves that's just obsessed with it," Gorman says. “Nobody picks the music business because it's a safe and lucrative job choice, especially in 2020.” Gorman says that the music industry “is just a shadow of what it was just a couple decades ago,” when bands put out albums and toured to promote and generate sales of those albums. The digital availability of music and music streaming services have changed that. “Nowadays bands aren't selling music. What they do sell is a tiny, tiny fraction of what it was, and nobody's making a living just selling albums anymore," Gorman says. Artists now earn a living by playing live for paying audiences, which became nearly impossible as of mid-March 2020. Since the pandemic hit, things have been "brutal" for musicians, he says. "It's really dark times for a lot of musicians career-wise,” Gorman says. “I know people who were paying their bills playing music, but now they have to get other jobs." At first Gorman feared that the pandemic would also mean, "Goodbye, recording studio!" But "people are still really hungry to create," he says. As a result, there's been a greater demand for the professional ears at La Luna. Webstreams, online videos, even non-music content like video-game audio or audiobooks all need professional sound. "Surprisingly, we're as busy or busier than we've ever been, and I was not expecting that," Gorman says. "So many people I know have been funneling their creative energies into recording or streaming, that kind of thing." Tony Mitchell, an assistant engineer at La Luna, says with a laugh, "I now mix webinars. Five years ago, if someone said, 'You're going to mix webinars one day. You're gonna love it, trust me! ...'" He breaks up laughing, without finishing his thought.

And despite the fact that there is technology to replace them, engineers "will always be relevant," says Samuel Peters, an engineer/producer. With technology, “a robot analyzes the waveform, and then a robotic arm comes and turns all the knobs of analog gear. You're still getting an analog sound, but it's by a robot," Peters explains. But human ears, with all their imperfections, are still a better instrument for the job. "I would trust a person before trusting a robot," Peters says. Human engineers are also better at working with human artists, Mitchell says. "I think communication is a large part of what we do too." There's stress in the process, Peters says, as seen in sessions where "by hour nine the band is exhausted,” where the vocalist does, "like, a hundred vocal takes. He's seeking perfection because he is paying for the time, the space. It's the engineer's job to help navigate them through that frustration in a productive way." Mitchell adds, "You're holding that weight and trying to make it not seem so daunting, so overpowering, because it can quickly turn into being too much. Seeing Ian work with people, he's really good at talking people down, showing all the different options they have at the table." Whether he knows he is inspiring to others or not, Gorman is just happy to stay in the background behind his mixing board and screens, giving reassuring words to artists asking for another take. It's all about helping an artist "really grab onto the process and make it their own," he says. That philosophy is obvious when he talks about local singer Amy Love, who's been recording her first album at La Luna. "(She’s) a really fantastic artist. It’s great seeing someone who's relatively new to the process and to take to it and understand it and become empowered by the options in a positive way,” he says. “She’s like, 'Hey, I've got this sound in my head ... .'" And Gorman's response is, "We can get that!" And he does.

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Ear-Eating Poetry

Students’ winning poems to hit the road again by


photography by



t has been decades since Kalamazoo Metro Transit bus riders have been treated to poetry on buses’ overhead placards, but riders are soon in for a treat: The Kalamazoo-based group Friends of Poetry is set to bring poetry back to the buses this year. The nonprofit group used to provide the poems via its contest for youth, Poems That Ate Our Ears, and will do so again in 2021. The contest began in 1976 when group founder Martha Moffett brought the idea home to Kalamazoo. She had seen poetry on buses during a trip to New York City and wanted the same thing for Kalamazoo, so she launched the Friends group and the contest that same year.

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Touted as the longest-running poetry contest in Southwest Michigan, Poems That Ate Our Ears generates hundreds of entries each year, even some from as far away as Switzerland, says Elizabeth Kerlikowske, president of the poetry group. Originally the contest was open only to youth in Kalamazoo County, but is now open to any youth poets. Building community through writing Kerlikowske says the contest brought new poems to buses each year until the mid-1980s, when the group wanted to seek a larger audience. For the next few years, winning poems were featured in murals painted on buildings throughout Kalamazoo.

Most of the murals still remain, but funding issues and zoning regulations eventually prevented new murals from being created, Kerlikowske says. The goal of Friends of Poetry and the Poems That Ate Our Ears contest is to "build community through writing," she says. In addition to offering bus placards and murals, Friends of Poetry has held annual readings of the contest-winning poems at the Kalamazoo Public Library the first Saturday of June, except last year due to restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. The criteria to enter the contest are simple: The poets must be students in kindergarten


through twelfth grade, they can submit up to three poems, and submissions must be no more than 20 lines. To be considered for a bus placard, a poem must be no more than eight lines. The topic and style are entirely up to the author. The poems are grouped by grade level and judged by members of the Friends of Poetry board of directors. Kerlikowske says she is always looking for original ideas and original use of language. "With the older kids, there's been a lot more social awareness than there has been in the past, and I like that a lot," she says. As in the past, all of this year’s winners will be presented with a book of the winning poems. They will also be invited to participate in a reading at the Kalamazoo Public Library in June if health guidelines allow for it. Additionally, a few lucky winners will also have their poetry featured on Metro Transit buses. Lasting effects

Left: A collection of the Poems That Ate Our Ears books from over the years. Right: Friends of Poetry President Elizabeth Kerlikowske looks over contest entries from youth poets.

There is no cash prize or scholarship attached to the contest, but it can have lasting effects in someone’s life. Take, for instance, Kalamazoo native Gregory Moore, one of the very first winners of the Poems That Ate Our Ears contest. Moore went from having his eightline poem displayed on Kalamazoo Transit buses to eventually writing cabaret-style shows in New York City. (A man of many talents, he sang opera professionally in between his writing gigs.) In the late 1970s, then-16-year-old Moore wrote his eight lines of verse on a whim when he learned of the contest. It was the first and only poem he has ever written, he says, but it won and turned out to

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Calling All Poems! The deadline to enter the 2021 Poems That Ate Our Ears contest is April 1. Those interested can find more information about entering the contest on the Friends of Poetry website,

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be an interesting prelude to the rest of his life. "My goal is to be the most prolific onepoem poet in Kalamazoo County history," Moore joked recently. Moore's poem was about a young man who endured weekly symphony concerts with his mother just so he could wait for a break in the music to cough loudly, hoping to hear his "voice" on local radio personality Garrard Macleod's weekly rebroadcast of the concert on WMUK. Moore admits he never kept a copy of his poem, titled "The Sunday Ritual." But unbeknownst to him, MacLeod had kept a framed copy of the verse in his office until the day he retired. Although Macleod knew Moore's sister, Lori Moore, professionally, the two men had never met. Years later, Lori Moore got a tip that Macleod planned to read her brother's poem at Friends of Poetry’s annual “Can Poetry Be Funny?” poetry reading at the Kalamazoo Public Library. Gregory Moore decided to attend the reading and sat in the back. As Macleod finished his recitation to applause and laughter, Moore rose and met him in the aisle. "I'm the kid who coughed," he said by way of introduction. "It was quite a stir," says Macleod, who had no idea that Moore was sitting in the audience. "He was very theatrical." Macleod says the poem is now displayed in his home office. He also wanted Gregory Moore to have a copy of it, so he gave him a framed copy with one difference. When the poem was written, Moore misspelled the name of Russian composer Alexander Nikolayevich Tcherepnin. Macleod graciously corrected the mistake in the framed copy he presented to him. Macleod jokingly wonders if his original framed piece with the error might be worth something someday.

ENCORE EVENTS of artistic experimentation and a means of global conversation, through March 7.

Framing Moments — An exhibition highlighting how photographers create images that preserve moments, people and places, featuring photos from the mid–19th to the 21st century from the KIA’s permanent collection, through May 15. Through the Years: Selections From Our Asian Please Note: Due to the Covid–19 virus, Collection — An exhibition highlighting artworks some of these events may have been that include Chinese painting, Japanese printmaking, cancelled or changed after press time. Please check with venues and organizations decorative arts and contemporary ceramics, through March 21. for up-to-date information. From Earth and Fire: Contemporary Japanese PERFORMING ARTS Ceramics from the Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz Collection — Some of the most cutting-edge works MUSIC the Horvitzes, collectors from Boston, have acquired Bands & Solo Artists in the past three years, March 27-June 17. Gaelic Storm at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe — A multinational Celtic band with 20 successful years Unveiling American Genius — Abstract and and more than 2,000 shows, 8:30 p.m. March 4, contemporary works from the KIA’s permanent collection emphasizing stories that African American,, 382-2332. Latino and other artists have told about our culture, International Women Rising Festival — art and history. Livestreamed performances presented by Kalamazoo State Theatre: Claudia Acuna, 3 and 8 Richmond Center for Visual Arts p.m. March 6; Magos Herrera, 3 and 8 p.m. March Western Michigan University, 387–2436, 7;, 345-6500 (box office open Eyes On Ukraine — Works by five contemporary 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays). Ukrainian photographers, through May 2, Monroe– Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More Brown Gallery. Evren Ozel — The pianist performs pieces from Bach and Chopin in a livestreamed performance from the Studio Life — Intaglio prints by WMU alumnus and Wellspring Theater that’s part of the Gilmore Rising painter Ken Freed, through May 2, Monroe–Brown Stars series, 4–5 p.m. March 14,, Gallery. Recent Gifts: Selections from the University Art 359-7311. A Little Night Music —The sounds of Berlin Collection — New acquisitions, including works by cabaret of the 1920s, music with jazz influences, John Kollig, Gwen Frostic and Mel Strawn, through and Mozart’s great classical work Eine Kleine May 2, Netzorg and Kerr Gallery. Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) will be explored in Other Venues a livestreamed concert by the Kalamazoo Symphony Virtual Art Hop — A livestreamed, interactive tour Orchestra, 7 p.m. March 26, kalamazoosymphony. hosted by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, com, 349-7759. 6–7 p.m. March 5, Angela Hewitt — The Gilmore Rising Star series Poets in Print — Sara Lupita Olivares, author of presents this internationally renowned pianist in Migratory Sound, and Gina Franco, author of The a livestreamed performance from the Wellspring Accidental, come together for this virtual event via Theater, 4–5 p.m. March 28,, Zoom, 7 p.m. March 20, 359-7311. Sixth Annual Group Exhibition — View works Love Is Virtual — This Kalamazoo Bach Festival by 12 local artists online, with links to each artist’s concert includes music from Paul McCartney, individual page, presented by Ninth Wave Studio, Renaissance motets, Randall Thompson, Stevie through March, Wonder and American folk tunes, 4 p.m. March 28 on YouTube,; tickets at Southwest Michigan Printmakers — An online exhibition featuring work from the group’s series, 337-7407. H2O and Light and Dark through March 31, DANCE Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival The Paintings of Anna Barnhart — An (RAD Fest) — A virtual event featuring modern, online exhibition of acrylic paintings by the post–modern and contemporary dance, hosted Southwest Michigan artist, through May 31, by Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers, March 5–7,, 342-4354. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Public Library Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 553–7800, 314 S. Park St., 349–7775, Curbside service is available at the Central Library Modern Abstractions: Japanese Prints from the and Oshtemo and Eastwood branches. The Alma Joy and Timothy Light Collection — An exhibition Powell and Washington Square branches are closed; examining modern Japanese printmakers of the see website for details. 1970s and 1980s to reveal abstraction as a form

Page Turners Book Club — Zoom discussion of Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson, 6:30 p.m. March 1; registration required. Reading Race Book Club — Zoom discussion of The Black Kids, by Christina Hammonds Reed, 6:30 p.m. March 9; registration required. Meet the Author: Behind the Books — As part of Virtual Reading Together 2021, Jacqueline Woodson discusses her lifelong journey as a writer, 3 p.m. March 10; registration required. Meet the Author: The Power of Story — As part of Virtual Reading Together 2021, Jacqueline Woodson reads from and discusses her book Brown Girl Dreaming, 7 p.m. March 10; registration required. Classics Revisited Book Club — Zoom discussion of Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, 7 p.m. March 18; registration required. African American Genealogy — Learn how to conduct family history research using online resources, 4:30 p.m. March 24; registration required. For Colored Girls Book Club — Discussion of Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, 7 p.m. March 26; registration required. Urban Fiction Book Club — Discussion of What Kind of Man Would I Be? by Blake Karrington, 6 p.m. March 30; registration required. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343–7747, The library is open 1–5 p.m. Monday–Wednesday and 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, with masks required and visits limited to an hour. Curbside service is also available; see website for details. Reading Together Book Discussion — Zoom discussion of books by 2021 Reading Together author Jacqueline Woodson, 7 p.m. March 4; Zoom link at Mystery Book Club — Zoom discussion of mysteries, 4 p.m. March 15, Zoom link at mystery-book-club. Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329–4544, portagedistrictlibrary. info The library is open 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday–Friday and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday, and curbside service is available 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Monday–Friday; see website for details. International Mystery Book Discussion — Zoom discussion of City of the Lost, by Kelley Armstrong, 7 p.m. March 11; registration required. Let Me Tell You About This Book I Read — Zoom discussion of How Much of These Hills Is Gold, by C. Pam Zhang, 3 p.m. March 17; Zoom link is at tinyurl. com/49frvd6s Richland Community Library 8951 Park St., 629–9085, The library is open by appointment only; see website for details. March Trivia — Five rounds of March-themed general trivia, a live event on Facebook, 7 p.m. March 4.

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Sports and Games Trivia — Five rounds of sportsand game-themed general trivia, a live event on Facebook, 7 p.m. March 25. MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382–6555, The museum is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Saturday and noon–5 p.m. Sunday, but there is limited occupancy because of Covid–19. Amusement rides are not available. Online ticketing is encouraged. Mondays from 9 a.m.–11 a.m. are for vulnerable people.

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Flight & Flak: The Art of Paul Wentzel, Sr. — Oil and acrylic works spanning military aviation history, on loan from the Selfridge Military Air Museum, through March. Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence — A poster exhibit exploring the struggle to give women the vote, through March. Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671–5089, The museum is open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m. A complimentary docent tour is available with paid admission at 10:30 a.m. weekdays; there is limited occupancy because of Covid–19, and car rides are not available. 2021 Winter Lecture Series — The Wright Brothers: The Power of Persistence, Cameron S. Brown, former state senator, March 7; Ford Icons: The Thunderbird Story, John Clore, of Ford Motor Co., March 14; The Design and Build of the 1969 and ‘70 Shelby Mustang, Chris Engeman, design detailer, Shelby mustang, March 21; Miniature Models in Motion, John Lacko, photojournalist and amateur historian, March 28; all sessions begin at 3 p.m. at the museum. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373–7990, The museum is open from 10–11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; registration required. Fretboard Festival — Meet music professionals to learn about their art and trade, attend workshops, see demonstrations on guitar maintenance and enjoy performances by area musicians at this virtual event, 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. March 6; registration required. The Walker Brothers — A virtual exhibit about Ryan and Keith Walker, who were afflicted with a rare genetic disorder, and their lasting impact on family, friends, inclusive education and civil rights in Kalamazoo, The Art of Murphy Darden — Kalamazoo resident and nonagenarian Murphy Darden explores local history, civil rights, the enduring legacy of hate, and American’s forgotten Black cowboys, kvmexhibits. org/murphy–darden. NATURE Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381–1574, The Visitor Center is currently closed because of Covid-19 restrictions, but trails remain open from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and programs continue.

March Maple Madness — A safe, streamlined version with guided sugaring tours (registration required), Maple Market, story walk trail and other activities, March 6–7 and March 13–14. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671–2510, The trails are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. The Resource Center is closed, but public restrooms at the back of the auditorium building are open. Birds and Coffee Chat Online — Grab your morning beverage and learn about a new bird species in Southwest Michigan, 10 a.m. March 10; registration required. Other Venues

N~1: Alone in the Milky Way — Presented by Pascal Lee, senior planetary scientist at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, who proposes that we may be the only advanced civilization in our galaxy, 7–9 p.m. March 5 via Zoom; register at Introduction to Amateur Astronomy: Telescope Tutorial — Part 4 of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society’s five-part virtual lecture series, 1–3 p.m. March 6; register at Back to our Roots: Native Garden Program — Discover which plants are best for butterflies, pollinators and more, 1–3 p.m. March 27, Schrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave.; register by March 12, Ranger Hike: Winter Tree Identification — Take a hike with park rangers and learn ways to identify trees, even when they are not displaying their more easily recognizable leaves, 2 p.m. March 13, Schrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave., Introduction to Amateur Astronomy: The Art of Astrophotography — Part 5 of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society’s five-part virtual lecture series, this part on photographing the night sky, 1–3 p.m. March 20; register at MISCELLANEOUS Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant Week — A perfect time to try those restaurants you have always talked about visiting, March 6–14; updates, specials and menus posted at

What’s in a Name? — Discover the history behind the names seen around Portage in this exhibit, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday, March 8–April 30, Portage City Hall, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave.; call ahead to be sure the building is open, 329–4455. Creating Community Connection — The Arc Community Advocates’ 14th Annual Inclusion Conference, held virtually, 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. March 10, with keynote speaker Kym Juntti talking about “The Epidemic of Loneliness and the Effects on Health, Healing and Connection”; register at Heritage, Lineage, Ancestry, Genealogy, Oh My! — Join a member of the Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society on Zoom to discover resources that build and grow your family tree, March 13–April 3; register by March 12,


Rockhounds Wishing stone, lightning stone, puddingstone call us to the sand, dark bobbers on the shore of Lake Michigan, which has tumbled them so smooth it’s impossible at times to tell which rocks on the mantel are machine-polished. Candlelight on polished stones condenses into one reflection, impatient searchlight on their skins. Unpolished rocks wear cottage charm, a porch light far away through fog, winking specks of salt and mica. Python head, slice of fossil wedding cake, an atrophied heart are raw ancient specimens, fresh from the lake. The polished stones glide together, a flock of smooth sheep, pretty pebble clones marbled with crinoids. Conformity is not everything. Among the locals, a rougher reverence for the gritty, pitted products of the waves. — Elizabeth Kerlikowske Kerlikowske, president of the local nonprofit Friends of Poetry, posts poetry prompts daily on the organization’s Facebook page that are suitable for all ages. "Come visit," she says. Kerlikowske also has worked with other local writers and artists on collaborative projects such as The Hours, Home, Alchemy, and Equinox. The project she’s currently involved in is called Photosynthesis.

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ENCORE BACK STORY Jeremy Winkworth (continued from page 30) 37 years. “So I basically took all the boxes, put them inside my office in the quality building and started looking through things.” Two things resulted from Winkworth’s curiosity: a website called Memories of The Upjohn Company ( and a growing personal collection of Upjohn memorabilia. The website now boasts 800 individual pages, 15,000 images and 20 movies. Winkworth’s personal collection ranges from original building signage to old ingredient bottles to the iconic alligator-skin briefcases that Upjohn sales representatives and executives carried. What was the genesis of the website? Through my work, I've always supported websites in one form or another, so I started scanning those documents and making them available to people inside the company through the website, just as, you know, here's some interesting history about the site you work at. And then, probably about 2014, I decided that other people outside the company would like to see this stuff too so I created the website and started populating it with scans of photos of documents and information that seemed to be of interest to people. It's been a hobby for me, but it's something that I was really interested in. What has the reaction been? A lot of people were really interested in it. I do get contacted by former Upjohn employees around the world who see the website and go, “Hey, I remember that. Wow!” And even though Upjohn has now been gone for 26 years (it merged with Pharmacia in 1995), there are still places in the world where former Upjohn employees get together and celebrate working there. Upjohn was a classic, family-owned company, so they really cared about and made a lot of extra effort for their employees, and people really appreciated that and responded to it. What kind of things are in your personal Upjohn memorabilia collection? Well, obviously there's a huge amount of paperwork left over from Upjohn, but those are perhaps a little bit less interesting than some of the Upjohn advertising items that they created. I have probably 300 to 400 items in the collection, something like that. I’ve found old Upjohn product bottles that go back to the 1890s at least, so that's well over 100 years old. And I have these sample bottles that go back 100 years, to when the company was looking for new products. When Upjohn employees and salesmen went out into the world, they would collect samples of plants and other types of material, put them in those jars and send them back to Upjohn in the hopes that there'd be something in there that the company could use as a future medication. Before the days of research labs, that was how pharmaceutical companies discovered new things. It was all done with what's in nature. Those bottles still have samples in them. Seeds, I think. It's really entertaining to just to look back at some of those old products and how crazy they were to give people this kind of stuff based on what we know today. I’ve done presentations on the craziest products Upjohn ever made, using photos, and talked about here’s

This tiny model of an Upjohn production line is one of Winkworth’s favorite items in his collection.

when they made it, here’s what happened when they made it, and in some cases how hazardous it was to actually take this product. Are you still actively looking for Upjohn memorabilia? Yes, I go to estate sales and check eBay once a day. A lot of times former Upjohn employees will call me and say, ‘Come get this stuff.’ For some reason there's less of it now than there used to be. The Upjohn Co. has now been gone for 26 years, and I think the number of Upjohn collectors and people interested in Upjohn items is getting smaller as former Upjohn employees get older and eventually die. There's a few of us locals who collect Upjohn items, so, if people give me items and I don't have space for them, I just email the other collectors and say, “Hey, do you want to include these in your collection?” Our goal is, firstly, not to lose anything Upjohn. And, secondly, long term we would like to find someplace in the Kalamazoo area to permanently display all these Upjohn items so it'll always be something that the people of the community can look at and remember the days of The Upjohn Co. How do you identify the items you find? If it's a product, a lot of times I can look in an old product catalog on the website or just Google it. It’s amazing what's out there in terms of information about current and old products. Also, I know enough former Upjohn employees (that) I can send an email to one or two of them that I think might know and say, “Hey, do you recognize this?” Also, I post on the “Vanished Kalamazoo” Facebook page and say, “Hey, anybody know anything about this?” I did that with the Upjohn sign I have (seen in the picture on page 30) to see if anyone could remember where it was. Nobody was quite sure, but the consensus was that it was probably out at the Upjohn Farms on Gull Road. Does that worry you, that people might forget about Upjohn? Well, I think it's natural for the name to be forgotten over time, but I think it helps that in today's world it's very, very easy with the internet to continue to make that kind of material and information available to people. There's just a tremendous amount of information that somehow came my way. I just dug it out and put it all on a website. — Interview by Marie Lee edited for length and clarity

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Jeremy Winkworth Curator, Memories of The Upjohn Company (


eremy Winkworth, a chemist and employee in the quality division of what used to be The Upjohn Co. (now Pfizer Inc.), was given an unenviable task: to clean out the company’s record-retention warehouse. But as he dove into it, he discovered treasure: corporate history documents going back to 1889, old films and photos. “I just decided at that point, you know, this looks really neat and we don't want to lose this,” says the 66-year old, who worked at Upjohn and its successors for (continued on page 29)

30 | ENCORE MARCH 2021

Le wis Re e d & A llen P .C . a tt orn eys Front row, center: Richard D. Reed Middle Row (L-R): Stephen M. Denenfeld, Vernon Bennett III, James M. Marquardt, Jennifer Wu, Michael A. Dombos, Michael A. Shields, Owen D. Ramey, Kimberly L. Swinehart Back Row (L-R): Gregory G. St. Arnauld, Thomas C. Richardson, Joseph W. Vander Horst, Michael B. Ortega, David A. Lewis, Jonthan J. Vander Horst, Ronald W. Ryan, Wesley J. Todd 136 east michigan avenue suite 800 | kalamazoo

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