Customers clamor for Bailey’s Meats
Native Trees to love
VOCES8’s Blake Morgan
Meet Andrew Haan
Southwest Michigan’s Magazine
Going Medieval Kalamazoo is a mecca for medievalists
Every individual in Kalamazoo deserves the opportunity to provide a decent livelihood for their family, which includes high quality education and care for their children, a safe and affordable home, and the ability to earn a living â€” no matter
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zip code, race or gender. The Kalamazoo Community Foundation partners and supports many Kalamazoo County nonprofits in removing barriers so individuals and families reach their full potential. However, systems have been built to marginalize individuals based on their identity or culture. The Community Foundationâ€™s focus on equity with an emphasis on education is a crucial strategy in addressing gaps at a systems level.
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Customers clamor for Bailey’s Meats
Native Trees to love
VOCES8’s Blake Morgan
Meet Andrew Haan
Southwest Michigan’s Magazine
Going Medieval Kalamazoo is a mecca for medievalists
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ENCORE EDITOR'S NOTE
From the Editor I am a fan of quirky things.
Perhaps that’s why I am an admirer of the annual International Congress of Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, the subject of this month’s cover story. To think there are 3,000 folks out there who come to this annual conference to talk about all things medieval is cool, fascinating and, well, quirky. It’s not your run-of-the-mill academic conference. There’s a theater festival, vendors selling such things as rare books and drinking horns, and session topics ranging from architecture to literature to technology. Another quirky aspect of this month’s magazine is our Five Faves feature about native trees. We went to the tree whisperers at Arborist Services of Kalamazoo to learn about their favorite native trees. Arborists are fun folks to hang out with in the woods, let me tell you. They know trees and bushes the way medievalists know the Middle Ages. The rest of this issue is filled with stories of other people who might not appreciate being described as quirky but are very interesting nonetheless. There’s Cathie Weir, whose autobiographical book, I’ll See You Later, was inspired by a dream visitation from her dead father. You’ll also meet the very large Bailey clan of Schoolcraft, who run Bailey’s Meats, featuring non-GMO pork they raise on their own farm along with the food they feed the pigs. We also tell you about the vocal adventures of Western Michigan University alum Blake Morgan who is singing his way around the world with VOCES8. And, finally, we interview Andrew Haan, president of Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership, who tells us how he went from skateboarding down the Kalamazoo Mall to leading the growth and development of our vibrant downtown. May is a good month to get out and experience all that’s interesting and fun about Kalamazoo, and, as you do, remember to keep your eyes open for the quirky things.
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The world’s largest gathering of medieval scholars, which takes place annually at Western Michigan University, has long fascinated Andrew, and he attended last year’s International Congress on Medieval Studies to give our readers an inside peek at the event. Andrew is a resident of Kalamazoo and a frequent contributor to Encore.
Lisa Mackinder Lisa gives us two stories in this issue, writing about Blake Morgan, a VOCES8 vocalist and WMU alum, and the Bailey family behind the non-GMO deliciousness of Bailey’s Meats. In her interviews, Lisa has a way of getting people to share inspiring and interesting nuggets that imbue her stories with great details. Lisa, who writes often for Encore, also has a story in Life Lessons from the Dog, a new release of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
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Kara is a writer and designer living in Kalamazoo with her quesadilla-slinging, book-hoarding husband and their two rascally kids. For this issue, she wrote about actress and director Cathie Weir's double lung transplant and Weir's book, I'll See You Later, named after a dream Weir had about her father, who died with the same disease that Weir had — emphysema. Learn more about organ donations in Kara's story and find more of her writing at karanorman.com.
When Adam met with Lofton Durham to talk about the Mostly Medieval Theatre Festival that’s part of the Medieval Congress at WMU, he was surprised by many of the plays' themes and how they resonated with modern times. “I expected knights or dragons, but not murder, sexual exploitation and women who want to trade in their husbands,” he says. Adam graduated last month from Western Michigan University with a degree in journalism.
FEATURE Going Medieval WMU's Medieval Congress has honored all things Middle Ages for 54 years
Husband sellers and #MeToo? Medieval plays resonate with modern times
DEPARTMENTS 6 Contributors 5 From the Editor Up Front
Happenings and events in SW Michigan
Five Faves — Native trees that arborists naturally love
Miracles and Messages — Double lung transplant recipient documents her journey
Bacon and Eggs — Customers clamor for Bailey’s nonGMO farm products
Meet Andrew Haan — He’s defining and designing downtown Kalamazoo
ARTS 34 Vocal Vagabond — WMU grad Blake Morgan travels the world but is still inspired by home 38 Events of Note 43 Poetry On the cover: Rev. Augustine Reisenauer, Dominican priest of the Order of Preachers in the Province of St. Joseph, is one of many clergy who attended the 2018 International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University. Photo by Mark Bugnaski.
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
First Things Something Musical
Piano master to perform May 7 Not only is he crazy talented, but worldrenowned pianist Kirill Gerstein is also practical: His childhood dream was to direct street traffic. “I had it all worked out,” he told the Financial Times in February. “It was going to be at the large crossroads not far from our house — I thought it would be very convenient for my mum to bring me sandwiches.” That didn’t pan out, but the piano thing did. You can see the 2010 Gilmore Artist perform in Kalamazoo at 8 p.m. May 7 at Chenery Auditorium as part of The Gilmore’s 2018-19 Piano Master Series. Don't wait to get tickets, however — Gerstein's last two performances at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival sold out. Tickets are $35—$55, or $7 for students. For tickets or more information, visit thegilmore.org or call 359-7311.
R&B veteran Joe at State Theatre R&B crooner Joe will bring his smooth and sultry
self to the State Theatre May 18. Joe's career spans more than two decades and 12 albums, including hits like “I Wanna Know,” “All the Things Your Man Won’t Do” and the Top 5 R&B/Top 40 pop hit “Don’t Wanna Be a Player." Joe will be joined by soul singer Lenny Williams, best known for his songs “’Cause I Love You” and “So Very Hard To Go,” which he recorded as the lead singer for Tower of Power. The concert begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $48–$100. VIP tickets, which include seats close to the stage and a chance to meet and greet the artists, are $128. For more information or tickets, visit the box office or kazoostate.com or call 345-6500.
8 | ENCORE MAY 2019
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Farm to host preservation celebration Horse show performances, classic cars, antique farm machinery and a Michigan Centennial Farm are the highlights of the Portage Preservation Month Celebration, set for noon–4 p.m. May 18 at the Wetherbee Farm, 10209 Portage Road. The Wetherbee Farm, established in 1870, features an Italianate home, a serene landscape and horses. The afternoon celebration will feature historic demonstrations, music, games and a presentation by historian Steve Rossio. For a sneak peak of the farm, visit the photo exhibit at Portage City Hall, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., on display through May 24. Tickets for the celebration are $5, with free admission for children 12 and under. Tickets are available in advance at portagemi.gov/434/Historic-District-Commission or the Portage Senior Center, 320 Library Lane. They will also be available at the site on the day of the event.
Cycle and nosh during Dirty Donut Maybe you won’t win the race, but you could take home the award for eating
the most doughnuts at the first Dirty Donut bike race, to be held June 9 in Allegan County as part of National Donut Day. The race will start and finish at the U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin. The event will be held on dirt roads (hence the “Dirty” in the name) and offers three racing distances: 18, 40 and 64 miles, with the longest race beginning at 8 a.m. Each distance will have “donut stops” positioned along the race route, and riders can deduct five minutes from their final finish time for each donut they consume. All finishers receive a medal, and there are numerous award categories. The event also includes a raffle of items such as a new Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 gravel bike donated by Pedal Bicycles. The raffle will benefit the Walk Tall Foundation for Kids and Make-a-Wish of Michigan. Parking for the race is free. For more information, visit dirtydonutrace.com.
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
Feuding cosmetic queens at the Civic The rivalry between the two most important women of the cosmetics
industry from the 1930s to the 1960s — Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein — is dramatic enough. But add some music and costumes and you’ve got the smash Broadway hit War Paint, coming to the Civic Auditorium stage May 3–19. This is the Southwest Michigan premiere of War Paint, which closed on Broadway in November 2017. The musical follows Arden and Rubenstein’s lipstick and eyeliner-fueled business feud, in which Arden stole Rubenstein's marketing director and Rubinstein retaliated by stealing Arden's husband. Show times are 7:30 p.m. May 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 and 2 p.m. May 5, 12 and 19. Tickets are $15-$25. For more information or tickets, visit kazoocivic. com or call 343-1313.
Best young string musicians to compete Twelve of the world’s best young violinists, cellists and bassists will converge on Kalamazoo May 18 to compete and perform in the Stulberg International String Competition. You can catch a glimpse of these musicians during their semifinal performances, which begin on the half-hour from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. at Western Michigan University’s Dalton Center Recital Hall, or see the finalists perform at 7:30 that evening at the same location. The semifinal performances are free. Tickets to the finals are $25, and $5 for students. For more information, visit stulberg.org.
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See six attractions with one membership If youâ€™ve been considering becoming a member of one of the areaâ€™s local cultural attractions, this is a good month to do it. Members of one of six Southwest Michigan attractions can visit them all in May through the Southwest Michigan Cultural Membership Exchange. The exchange is a collaborative effort of the Air Zoo, Binder Park Zoo, Gilmore Car Museum, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo Nature Center, and the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary & Manor House. It gives members of each institution free admission to all the others for the month of May with their member card and photo ID. Membership prices vary from venue to venue. For more information, visit swmimemberexchange.com.
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FIVE FAVES ENCORE
Native trees that arborists naturally love by
ARBORIST SERVICES OF KALAMAZOO LLC
Trees are a marvelous harbinger of the seasons, especially when they sport the new green of spring, the full emerald of summer or the brilliant colors of autumn. And there’s nobody who loves — or knows — native trees as well as arborists, so we asked the Arborist Services team of ISA Certified Arborists about their favorite native trees. Chances are you’ve got one in your backyard.
American beech Commonly
found throughout the Eastern U.S., the American beech (Fagus grandifolia) stands out in any landscape. Its typical growing height is 50 to 70 feet, although it can reach heights well in excess of 100 feet. Its leaves turn a brilliant yellow in the fall, but the most unusual feature of the American beech is its smooth, silver bark. This is one of the few trees in the U.S. whose bark retains a sleek surface even after it matures. For that reason, beech bark often serves as a carving block for people looking to immortalize their initials. However, those incisions kill sections of the tree’s bark and can cause great harm to the tree. To see a phenomenal example of a mature American beech, visit the virgin forests of Warren Woods State Park, just outside of Sawyer, Michigan. 12 | ENCORE MAY 2019
— Levi Durham
Eastern redbud Few things announce spring more clearly than the magenta blossoms of the Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis). With a mature crown height of 15 to 30 feet, the Eastern redbud is a shade-tolerant understory tree with vase-shaped, darkbrown, twisted and furrowed bark and branches and large heart-shaped, dark-green leaves. Pink, purple and sometimes white flowers can be seen on seemingly dormant tree branches from early to mid-spring at forest edges, streams and rivers and in urban, suburban and rural landscapes. The Eastern redbud makes an excellent planting choice to attract pollinators such as honeybees and bumblebees, and its foliage plays an important role in sustaining certain native caterpillars on which a number of native songbirds rely. Few, if any, plant diseases or destructive insects significantly affect the Eastern redbud. It grows best and most abundantly in moist, fertile and cool growing conditions and adds a splash of color while performing its important role in the ecosystem of sustaining native wildlife. —Trevor Roepcke
Bur oak Of all the magnificent species of oak trees native to Southwest Michigan, the bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) may be the most spectacular. This tree’s normal growing height of 70 to 80 feet is not the tallest of the oaks, but what it lacks in height is made up in its crown diameter, which can easily exceed its height. The bur oak planted in open fields will develop branch architecture that, as it slowly matures over decades, twists and turns, forming an intricate lattice arching down toward the ground below and back toward the sun. The bur oak establishes an extensive root system, allowing for survival during harsh droughts, and its thick, furrowed bark enables this resilient species to withstand severe wildfires. Fire suppression efforts have likely led to the decline of the bur oak for a number of years, as the evolutionary advantages that made it the dominant species on the prairie have ceased to be of use in modern times. An exemplar of the venerable species in its nearly untouched state can be seen growing at the northeast corner of Sprinkle Road and Romence Road. — Mark Kubas
American hornbeam American hornbeam is a rare native gem of the swampy woodlands of much of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and portions of its Upper Peninsula. Commonly called ironwood, blue beech and musclewood, Carpinus caroliniana is a small, 15- to 25-foot-tall tree with delicate branching and smooth blue-gray muscle-like bark. It is often found growing by itself or in sparse populations in cool, moist and fertile locations, with woody plant species such as basswood, sugar maple, tulip tree and nannyberry viburnum nearby. The tree’s leaves are pointed, ovate, double-serrated and alter-natively arranged along slender, zigzagging branches, and it produces pale green flowers called catkins in late April through mid-May. American hornbeam wood is extremely hard, heavy and strong and was used by early settlers to make tool handles, wedges and pry sticks. The American hornbeam is rarely found in modern landscapes. Fastigiate, a compact and upright cultivar of the tree, was popularly planted in the 1970s in space-limited urban areas. An American hornbeam does best where growing conditions are consistently moist, fertile and shaded from afternoon heat. Combined with its delicate aesthetic, this small, rare tree just might be a good match for the right landscape. — Ben Yost
Eastern red cedar One very important, underrated and valuable tree native to Michigan is the Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana). This woody species defines toughness, beauty and adaptability. How many other trees can you find growing in wet, dry or poor soils? Bring on the storms and pests! Very few insects and diseases cause great harm to this plant, and it is pliable and wind firm. Selfishness is not in this tree’s vocabulary — many bird species rely on it for shelter and food during migration and in adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, humans have discovered many benefits of red cedar. The beautiful, aromatic and rot-resistant wood has found its way into many homesteads across the land, being used for many things from lining closets and chests to outdoor furniture. Its aromatic berries have been used to treat coughs and colds and to expel intestinal worms. The largest Juniperus virginiana in Michigan is in Ionia County; it is 66 feet tall and has a trunk that is 35 inches in diameter. — Jesse Teunissen About the Authors The arborists of Arborist Services of Kalamazoo, LLC provide expert evaluation and care of trees and are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. Trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of arboriculture, they consult, advise and practice all aspects of tree and shrub care.
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GOOD WORKS ENCORE
Miracles and Messages
Double lung transplant recipient documents her journey by
14 | ENCORE MAY 2019
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ach day across the country 22 patients die waiting for transplant organs to become available. And every 10 minutes someone is added to the national organ transplant waiting list, according to the organ and tissue donation center Gift of Life Michigan. In Michigan alone, about 3,000 people are waiting for organs. So how did longtime Kalamazoo resident, actress, and director Cathie Weir, who underwent a double lung transplant in 2008, receive a donation just three months after getting on the waiting list? “I think it was an angel, I really do,” the 68-year-old Weir says. “The donor has to match all these different components, so it was a miracle.” If words like “miracle” and “angel” make some people squirm, consider a dream Weir had three months before her surgery. She had just gotten on the donor list and was afraid, at age 56, that she had only three more years until she met the fate of her father, who died at 59. Then he appeared in a dream and said, “I’ll see you later.” Weir has written a book called I’ll See You Later, about her battles with emphysema, her life-saving surgery, and her own father’s death from emphysema-related complications 36 years earlier. In the book, Weir writes that her father’s parting salutation to family members had always been, “I’ll be seeing you.” When she heard that final word — “later” — in her dream, she knew everything was going to be OK. “‘Later,’ he said, as in ‘not now — you’ve got more time,’” Weir explains.
Cathie Weir holds a copy of the book she penned about her double lung transplant surgery and a picture of her father, who inspired the book’s title.
From volunteer to director A former executive assistant and public relations representative for the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, Weir has been associated with the Civic on and off for the past 40 years. Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Weir moved back to Kalamazoo from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where her husband, Rich, had worked for the Federal Aviation Administration in air traffic control. When they returned to Kalamazoo, Weir was “going nuts.” Her daughter, Susan, was in school all day, and Rich worked full time. Weir saw an ad in the Kalamazoo Gazette for volunteers at the Civic and went to the theater to apply. There she met Jim Carver, then the managing director of the Civic, who became a lifelong friend. But first he cast her in a small part. Gradually, she started taking larger roles and in 1986 started working as Carver’s assistant. She recalls that Lady House Blues, set in the early 20th century, was her second play as an actress. “The character I played had tuberculosis and had just come back from one of the sanatoriums. I had to research the conditions in sanatoriums to give those layers of the character.” Tuberculosis is a lung disease. So is emphysema. “It just dawned on me,” she says during the interview. One day in 1990, when a director backed out of a production, Carver tossed a script onto Weir’s desk and said, “You’re directing this.” They had talked about the possibility before, but Weir kept insisting she wasn’t ready. Now, Carver said, you are. “It was an easy show,” Weir recalls with relief. “It was only three women.” Weir went on directing, acting and working at the Civic for 27 more years, relishing her
w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 15
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second family at the theater. “I love the Civic,” she says. “Every time I go, I get lots of hugs.”
Transplant trials Community is no small thing for someone who’s been through organ transplantation, often a grueling process. In Weir’s case, the battle started long before surgery. An inheritor of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic disorder that raises the risk of lung and liver disease, Weir had been diagnosed with emphysema in 2006 and put on oxygen. She had been smoking since she was 21 and was told to be smoke-free for a year if she wanted to get on the organ donation waiting list. After two doses of a smokecessation drug prescribed by her doctor, she had a violent reaction, ending up on the bathroom floor of her house unable to breath, while her husband called 911. After that, she quit cold turkey. In the fall of 2007, she was put on the transplant waiting list. Around the same time, she had her dream. “It was so real,” she recalls. Unbeknownst to Weir, three months later her doctors told Rich — who still works full time in air traffic control in Battle Creek — that his wife wouldn’t live to see the summer. Three weeks after that, the hospital called to say they had a donor. Rich was out buying groceries and answered his cell phone, thinking his wife had forgotten to put something on the list. When Cathie told Rich the news — they had four hours to get to the hospital in Ann Arbor or her lungs would go to another family — he rushed home to get her and their daughter and then shaved 15 minutes off the two-hour drive to Ann Arbor. Weir’s surgery took eight hours. When she was released two weeks later, her medications covered the top of the eight-foot-long buffet in her dining room. The fragility of lungs means there is only a five-year survival rate of 50 to 60 percent, according to the University of Michigan Transplant Center. “Everybody’s a different story,” Weir says, who has had her new lungs for over a decade now. “Some people don’t survive at all. Other people live for 20 years.”
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To get the book I’ll See You Later is available for purchase at the Michigan News Agency, in downtown Kalamazoo, or online at Amazon.com (amazon. com/Ill-Later-Cathie-Higgins-Weir/ dp/1979137382). In it, Cathie Weir tells of her excruciating medical journey with a bawdy wit and intimate tone. Ten percent of the book’s proceeds go to Gift of Life Michigan.
lungs. Her doctors admitted her to the hospital, where she stayed for a month. Her doctors didn’t think she would make it, but she did. “I’ve kicked death four times,” she says with a laugh. She documents all these experiences in I’ll See You Later, which took her about a year and a half to write. Ten percent of the proceeds from the book’s sales will be donated by Weir to Gift of Life–Michigan.
To hear the author
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Weir is available to speak to book clubs and any group wanting to learn more about organ transplantation. You can contact her at suspendmt@ sbcglobal.net and write “I’ll See You Later” in the subject line.
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To donate organs To register as an organ donor, go to www.giftoflifemichigan.org/becomedonor.
“People knew that I had been through the double lung transplant surgery, but they didn’t know what it entailed. When anyone asked about my experience it was difficult to explain everything,” Weir says. “I want to encourage other people to seriously consider organ donation. There are so many patients in life-threatening situations and without a donation they will die.”
452 N. Grand • Schoolcraft
The first years after Weir’s surgery were brutal. Vomiting and diarrhea are common side effects of transplant medications, and she had a perforated bowel from one of them. Unable to work, direct or act as the vital theater maven she once had been, she grew depressed. “If it weren’t for my husband, I wouldn’t be alive,” she says. “There were days when I didn’t want to do it anymore. It was too painful, and I was tired.” Some days, getting off the couch and picking up a newspaper was impossible for Weir. She once tried to lift a basket of laundry and couldn’t do it. “It’s humbling,” Weir says, but she made strides and got her energy back. Then, in 2012, she came down with flu-like symptoms that didn’t go away. She ignored them for weeks. “I’d been to so many doctors,” she says. “My life was hospitals and doctors, and I was sick of it.” Finally, at a regular checkup, she learned her body might be rejecting the transplanted
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Bacon and Eggs
Customers clamor for Bailey’s non-GMO meat and fresh eggs by
hen sub-zero temperatures hit in February, Matt Bailey considered closing his shop, Bailey’s Meats in Schoolcraft, on one of the most frigid days. He didn’t think customers would battle wind, snow and bone-chilling temperatures to purchase his specialty nonGMO (genetically modified organism) pork products and fresh eggs — but he guessed wrong. “People started calling (and asking), ‘Are you going to be open today?’” says Bailey, the co-owner of Bailey’s Meats and Bailey Terra Nova Farms. So he opened the store. “And away they came.”
The taste difference Why doesn’t snow, rain, heat or gloom of night keep customers from darkening the door of Bailey’s Meats? Bailey says he believes they come because of the flavor and quality imparted by the oldschool method of processing the meat: rubbing it with salt.
“Not just injecting it or soaking it overnight,” says Karen Bailey, coowner of the business and Matt’s mother. The products sold by Bailey’s Meats include snack sticks, bacon, roasts, ribs and beer-and-jalapeno brats. The pork first gets rubbed with salt on the outside and packed with salt on the inside to cure it. The meat remains in a salt brine for seven days and then gets pulled out, washed and put into a smoker. “It’s not chemically done,” Matt says. “It’s done the old-fashioned way.” The meat-processing company where Bailey’s sends its meat provides a 100 percent guarantee that what Bailey’s Meats delivers to Clockwise from below: Bailey grandchildren, from left, Cole, Warren and Anna care for the farm's chickens; non-GMO pork brats are one of Bailey’s most sought-after products; a variety of products offered in the Bailey’s Meats store.
Murphy Darden, right, among the art and artifacts that he has created and collected over the years, including, at left, this replica of the home owned by Enoch and Deborah Harris, the earliest black settlers in Kalamazoo. 20 | ENCORE MAY 2019
Launching the business
be processed is what they get back. “I want to know that’s our (meat) in the package,” Matt emphasizes. But how the meat starts out also matters. Bailey’s boars are a heritage breed, and its sows come from genetic lines curated over the last century. The pigs are raised on non-GMO feed made from corn grown on the family’s 1,300 acres and on an additional 680 acres they rent. To ensure purity, the seeds for the corn and soybeans that they grow to sell are tested prior to planting. “We have definite control of what’s not in it (the feed),” Karen says.
Before opening the meat market in May 2016, the Baileys sold their pigs to big chain slaughterhouses, but it was proving more and more difficult to make money that way, Matt says. The purchasing habits of friends and neighbors who came to the Baileys for meat sparked the idea for the meat market. Some customers purchased a half or a whole pig, while others just wanted to purchase certain cuts, Karen explains. “A lot of people only like bacon or sausage,” she says. So the Baileys devised a new formula: Reduce the number of sows from 1,000 to 300, get the necessary permits, build a store and redirect efforts to produce specialty meats. While constructing the store, they put a “Coming Soon” sign out in front, and that was all it took to generate plenty of foot traffic on opening day. “We have a very strong customer base,” Matt says. “Since we opened, there’s only been maybe six or seven days where we haven’t had a new customer walking through the door.” Bailey’s Meats has also built a following at the Vicksburg, Mattawan and Texas Corners farmers markets. Business was so brisk that in 2017 they purchased a 7-by-12-foot utility trailer with two freezers and a refrigerator.
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“It literally takes three of us on Saturday mornings to run the Texas Corners market,” Matt says. Bailey’s Meats also supplies shaved ham and bacon to Texas Corners Brewing Co., a restaurant and microbrewery. Located a jog down the road from the restaurant, Bailey’s Meats created a top-selling beer brat using the brewery’s Three Brothers IPA. The beer
brat is sold at Bailey’s Meats year ’round and appears on the Texas Corners Brewing Co.’s menu from Memorial Day to October.
Fourth-generation farm As for Bailey Terra Nova Farms, Matt and his brother, Darren Bailey, are the fourth generation of Baileys to work the Schoolcraft farm. Matt’s great-grandfather, Ward Bailey, started the family enterprise in 1916 when he relocated from southeastern Iowa to Michigan. He was a tenant farmer in Iowa until a banker recognized his potential and offered advice: Purchase your own farm.
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Clockwise from above: The Bailey farm encompasses nearly 2,000 acres; Ward Bailey, left, started the farm in 1916 and worked it with son Arthur; the fourth and fifth generations of Baileys to work the farm are, from left: Cole, Melissa, Warren, Darren, Karen, Curtis, Anna, Matt and Ashley; an antique scale and stamps that belonged to Karen’s father, Dennis House, who was a meat cutter.
“So he packed up, bought a little farm in Lawton for two years, and then found this place,” Matt says. What made Ward settle in Schoolcraft? Nobody knows. “He could have went another 10 miles that way,” Matt says, gesturing toward the east,
“and gotten away from the lake-effect snow. But …” On 200 acres in Schoolcraft, Ward and his wife, Daphne, raised pigs, milked cows and raised chickens for their eggs. They also grew 20 to 40 acres of potatoes — a starchy crop that inevitably showcased Ward’s ingenuity. “He irrigated potatoes back during the Depression,” Matt says. In those days, if no rain fell, most farmers’ crops suffered. But Ward concocted a way to create soaker hoses. The Baileys bought lots of burlap. The fields were 20 rods long, Matt says, and a rod is 16½ feet, for a total of 330 feet. His great-grandmother hand-stitched the burlap, forming it into a lengthy hose, which the couple then attached to their steam-powered well. After the hose filled, they shut it off. “Basically it was a soaker hose,” Matt explains, “and when it soaked out, (they would) roll it to the next row, fill it back up and do it again. They spent the whole summer watering potatoes. My great-grandfather was very ahead of his time as far as thinking outside the box.” Now a fifth generation of Baileys — the three children of Darren and his wife, Melissa — take care of the farm’s chickens. Matt and his wife, Ashley, Darren and Melissa, and Karen and her husband, Curtis, all co-own the farm. Karen and Melissa work the store and farmers markets, as does Ashley, who also is a third-grade teacher at Mattawan Later Elementary School. Even Matt’s uncle, Harlow Bailey, still works on the farm.
Want eggs with your bacon? When visiting the meat store, customers often notice an old meat cutter’s table, scales, stamps and other items that decorate the room. The items aren’t simply for aesthetics: They are mementos of Karen’s father, Dennis House, who was a meat cutter by trade. “You can’t cut meat on it anymore,” Matt says of his grandfather’s table. “When I was a little kid, I’d cut meat with him on his back porch.” Karen fondly remembers getting overzealous with the stamps as a child and
being told by her dad to “stop putting six bacon stamps on the package.” But what would bacon be without eggs? Bailey's other big seller is its non-GMO eggs. Back in the day, Ward and Daphne had 3,000 laying hens and sold the eggs to Bronson Methodist Hospital. The family reintroduced chickens to the farm a few years ago, starting with 20 or 30. That number quickly grew to
160 hens because all the eggs were spoken for — two weeks in advance. Customers would arrive 10 minutes before the store opened to lay claim to them. If Bailey family members wanted to scramble up some of their own eggs, forget it. “We had to go to the (grocery) store to buy eggs for our personal use because they were all gone, ” Matt says with a laugh.
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WMU gathering marks 54 years of studying all things Middle Ages story by
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hen Eric Joseph blows his horn, the room goes silent. Joseph, an artist from Richland, has been coming to Western Michigan University’s annual International Congress on Medieval Studies, or Medieval Congress, every May for nearly a decade, offering his handcrafted drinking horns, brooches and decorative items under the business name Griffinstone. The Medieval Congress is the largest gathering of medieval scholars in the U.S. and one of the biggest in the world. Over a four-day span each May, more than 550 presentations are given on subjects from medieval manuscripts to women in medieval culture. The 2019 congress, set for May 9–12, will be the 54th annual. The 2018 congress attracted more than 2,600 people from every state in the U.S. except Montana and every continent except Antarctica. Just over half of those attending were scholars or researchers; a quarter were students. The rest were exhibitors, family members and others. Kalamazoo County residents and those with a valid WMU ID can attend conference sessions for free, but they do need to register first. At last year’s event, more than 60 booths in a residence hall dining room that houses the congress’s Exhibits Hall offered not only hundreds of books on language and literature, but items related to the history and culture of the Middle Ages. In one corner was Joseph’s stand, featuring sculptures on the back wall and curved, engraved cows’ horns on a table in the front. Some of the horns could be drunk from, like a huge beer glass. Others were designed to be blown like a trumpet, giving a steady thunderous sound loud enough to silence the dozens of people milling about the Exhibits Hall. “There’s never a year when I’m disappointed,” said Tamara Rand of Baldwin Wallace University, in Ohio, as she stopped at Joseph’s booth last year to buy a drinking horn
Above: Eric Joseph blows one of the handmade horns that is among the wares he sells each year at the Medieval Congress at WMU.
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the Exhibits Hall last year. Klimushyn said her favorite play is Cooch E. Whippet (or The Farce of Martin of Cambray), a comedic battle between a husband and wife. “Medieval comedies are still funny (today),” she noted. In the next booth was Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, a specialty publisher offering Latin language books. One of the publisher’s recent releases available at the booth was Ubi Fera 26 | ENCORE MAY 2019
Sunt, better known by its English title, Where the Wild Things Are. It’s one of a handful of well-known children’s books that have been translated into Latin. Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem was also available, easy to recognize by the green Grinch on its cover. Laurel Draper, a bookseller for the publisher, said children’s books are some of
for her adult son. “When (people) hear you presented in Kalamazoo, they’re impressed.” Aside from Griffinstone and a handful of vendors selling harps and jewelry, there’s nothing about the congress that resembles a Renaissance fair, which outsiders sometimes assume it is. Organizers and participants are quick to emphasize that the Medieval Congress is an in-depth scholarly study of the Middle Ages, not an opportunity to live out fantasies of knights and dragons. “There are no turkey legs to be found,” says Jana Schulman, director of the WMU Medieval Institute, which puts on the annual conference. “If people are dressed up, it’s to perform in a medieval play.” A festival specializing in medieval plays is a recent addition to the congress. The Mostly Medieval Theatre Festival started in 2017 and returns to the Medieval Congress this year (see story on Page 28). Medieval plays are “read as literature but rarely performed as theater,” explained WMU theater student Jessica Klimushyn as she staffed the theater festival’s booth in
Clockwise from top left: Medieval inspired pins and jewelry for sale at the Congress’s Exhibits Hall; 6-month-old Arden McNabb may have been one of the youngest attendees; Middle Ages and medievalthemed books are popular with conference attendees; Jana Schulman coordinates the yearly conference; and bookseller Laurel Draper holds a Latin version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
its bestsellers. “People like to pick them up for children and grandchildren,” she said. “Latin is a great way to encourage literacy.”
Mark Bugnaski Mark Bugnaski
The history of history The first Conference on Medieval Studies hosted by the Medieval Institute was held in 1962. It was regional, biennial and very small compared to today’s congress. The third congress, in 1966, had nearly 200 participants from across the United States and Canada. Now more than 10 times that number attend the congress. The event’s longevity and reputation are what keep it going, Schulman says. Presenters often have ideas for the next year’s session while attending the current year’s congress. There are 50 to 60 sessions of presentations spread across the campus each day of the congress, with the presentations offered in residential hall meeting rooms and classroom buildings. Each presentation features two or three scholars discussing the findings of research they’ve conducted. The congress’s official program, a 266-page book the size of a paperback novel, suggests wearing comfortable shoes to get from one presentation to the next. There is no limit on the number of presentations a visitor can attend, Schulman
says. Some presentations take a detailed look at an aspect of history (“Law as Culture: Inquisition, Landholding and Murder”), while others focus on literature (“Tolkien and the Celtic Tradition”). Still others have catchy titles that indicate their topics (“Fake News: A Medieval Phenomenon”). Christianity during the medieval period also gets a close look during the congress: WMU is home to the Center for Cistercian and Monastic Studies, which hosts presentations particularly on the lives of Christian monks and religious writing. “Medieval” is too restrictive a description for the presentations, Schulman says. One popular topic is Anglo-Saxon culture (Anglo-Saxons are ancestors of modern British people), while another is medievalthemed video games and how accurately they represent the time period. The History Channel’s series The Vikings prompted several presentations on the Norse people the year after the show was released. The congress is also decidedly modern when it comes to its communications: It has a mobile app to keep attendees apprised of goings-on and uses Twitter to make announcements, post reminders and answer questions.
New things to learn Although the Middle Ages ended nearly 500 years ago, there’s still plenty to learn about the people and cultures of
the medieval era. Recent DNA research at Princeton University, for example, shows the geographical route the Great Plague followed as the disease spread. And “every other year in the U.K., somebody with a metal detector finds an unbelievable hoard” of ancient relics, Schulman says. The Medieval Congress is becoming more comprehensive, discussing topics that aren’t exclusive to western Europe or to traditional medieval research. One session at last year’s congress was on Medieval Transgender Studies, for example. A handful of attendees are dressed in robes, but for good reason: They’re clergy. Augustine Reisenauer, a theology student at the University of Notre Dame who is part of the Dominican Order, attended the congress (continued on page 33)
Husband Sellers and #MeToo Medieval play festival resonates with modern themes story by
he sale of husbands, the #MeToo movement and “the powerful Aliénor of Aquitaine, mother of kings” will all be featured in this year’s Mostly Medieval Theatre Festival. The festival is part of the International Congress of Medieval Studies, held May 9—12 at Western Michigan University. Four productions will be staged during the festival, and the general public is welcome to attend. The festival was first presented at the 2017 Medieval Congress and was such a hit it was revived for this year. Lofton “Lofty” Durham, a WMU theater professor and the mind behind the festival, wants everyone to know that medieval theater is far more relatable than it sounds. “(People think medieval) means it's all religious,” he says, “that it's all kind of twisted or all kind of sophomoric or all sort of elementary. Actually, no, this stuff is sophisticated. It's interesting.” “Interesting” takes many forms in medieval theater. Sometimes, Durham says, the plays are just “completely bizarre,” as is the case with Esmoreit, a play performed at the 2017 festival that’s about a woman imprisoned for life for murdering her son, who, when he is an adult, just happens to be seen by her as he walks by the window of her cell. Husband Swap, or Swap Meat (Le Trocheur de maris), part of this year’s festival lineup, is a French farce about women who are tired of their husbands and are approached by a husband seller offering them “new models.” “You don't have to have things make sense all the time for them to be enjoyable,” Durham
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says. “Why would anybody care about a spider and a pig being friends (as in Charlotte’s Web)? Well, actually, it's a great story.” Medieval theater can be comedic, he says, as in Lippijn, a story of a man who is gaslit into allowing his wife to cheat on him, or dramatic, as in Esmoreit, in which a kidnapped baby (the one his mother was jailed for allegedly killing) returns home and becomes king. Contemporary reimaginings of these two Middle Dutch plays were performed in a double bill at the 2017 festival. What’s surprising for many people, Durham says, is how modern these medieval plays can seem thematically. “If someone tells you that you're medieval, it's not a compliment,” Durham says. “It means that you're retrograde in some way, you know, extra patriarchal. There's this idea that the Middle Ages is all about religion and church.” That idea isn’t accurate, though, he says. The Middle Ages spanned about 1,000 years and included many more cultures than people realize, both within and outside of Europe, Durham says.
Modern themes A play in this year’s festival called Time’s Up is an adaptation of The Conversion of the Harlot Thais, by Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, a 10th-century German Christian writer. The adaptation aims to suggest parallels between the original play and the internetbased #MeToo movement about women’s empowerment over sexual harrassment and exploitation. “What's really interesting about Hrotsvit is that she's the first playwright who we have evidence of from after antiquity, so
(she is) the first female playwright,” says Jenna Soleo-Shanks, an assistant professor of theater history at the University of Minnesota-Duluth who is bringing the play to the festival. The Conversion of the Harlot Thais is a story of the “most infamous prostitute of her day,” says Soleo-Shanks. Thais was originally a character from a popular pagan playwright, but Hrotsvit didn’t approve of that playwright’s non-Christian stories so she wrote her own about Thais “being saved” and going to heaven. “All of her six plays — what I see as their commonality — is that they focus on women and specifically not just sort of the
Left: WMU theater professor Lofton Durham conceived of and oversees the Mostly Medieval Theatre Festival. Above: Toronto's Pneuma Ensemble plays during its 2017 performance of Dulcitius, or Sex in the Kitchen.
conversion of women but the violence against women's bodies,” Soleo-Shanks says. This play “asks a lot of the same questions” that have been asked in and around the #MeToo movement, she says. At the beginning of the play a character calls Thais’ sexuality an “injury” to the universe. “I don't know that we have anyone in our society in 2019 who would say that, exactly,” Soleo-Shanks says, “but metaphorically I feel like that kind of an attitude is really at the foundation of what the #MeToo movement is w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 29
reacting to: the idea that women are objects, the idea that a woman's sexuality is dangerous.” Adapting this play took some work, she says. First it had be translated from Latin, and then stage directions had to be added because there were none in the original text. “We're looking back to this artist who existed in a completely different culture with different priorities, writing in a different language for different people,” she says. “And we're collaborating with her and we're sort of changing our focus to suit what we think people today would need from a play.” This is a common practice in bringing medieval plays to a modern audience, says Durham. Scholars have to translate old languages and old cultures in order for the plays to be comprehensible. Durham has adapted and directed a few plays and will participate in the translation process if the text is in French. “When I do my own translations, I'm always thinking about play-ability and how to make it sound like an American, 21stcentury (person) could have those words in their mouth,” he says, “and so that means that you probably do some direct translation but then think about how to phrase it or how you would say that same idea without twisting up your words.”
Mostly Medieval Theatre Festival Performances Sfanta (Holy One): Hell Bent on Heaven and Husband Swap, or Swap Meat (Le Trocheur de maris), 8 p.m. May 8, performed by a troupe from Virginia’s Radford University. A night of absurdity pairs up a play about Teodora, a wannabe saint from Romania who seeks fame rather than faith, with one about three dissatisfied wives who meet the Husband Trader and get the men of their dreams — or not. Je Christine and Aliénor, 8 p.m., May 9, performed by Simonetta Cochis and Ron and Janice Cook. Actress Suzanne Savoy and Ron Cook respectively created this mashup of strong French women, the first play featuring 14th-century writer and noblewoman Christine de Pizan and the second featuring powerful Aliénor of Aquitaine, mother of kings.
Problematic Men, 8 p.m. May 10, performed by the Pneuma Ensemble. Performances of the Latin comedy Babio, the Middle English Dux Moraud, and the Latin lyric Samson Dux Fortissime will be given in the original languages, accompanied by period instruments. Time’s Up, 8 p.m. May 11, performed by a University of Minnesota–Duluth troupe. This adaptation of the 10th-century play The Conversion of the Harlot Thais suggests powerful parallels between the plot of the play and the challenges of 21st-century women. General-admission tickets for each show are $15, and all performances take place at WMU’s Gilmore Theatre Complex. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and performances will be followed by a talkback between the audience and the performers.
For more information, visit wmich.edu/medievalcongress/events/special-events.
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That last example was part of Shannon Fleckenstein’s role of godmother in the 2017 festival production of Lippijn. She also looked through the audience to find an elf accusing audience members of hiding it. “That was very funny,” Fleckenstein says. “Most plays don't do that sort of thing. But I enjoy breaking down the fourth wall. It helps get the audience involved more.” At 44, Fleckenstein has been a part of community theater in Kalamazoo and Hillsdale for more than 20 years, but the
Durham says he “accidentally” learned about medieval theater while in graduate school for 20th-century theater. He says he was shocked to learn how intricate and unique medieval plays were. He was “blown away,” for example, by a play about Christian conversion that had a 20-page scene of a dice game and characters trying to steal liquor from a bar. “I was like, ‘People have been hiding stuff from me,’’’ he says. “I (was) over here in the professional world going, 'Ooh, I'm so
interesting. It's so interesting to break the fourth wall. That's so innovative.' And then I realized, ‘Oh, my God, the stuff I don't know would fill the theater.’” Breaking the fourth wall is actually common in medieval theater. Characters will turn to the audience to offer their inner monologue, as is often seen in Shakespeare, but they will also ask the audience for support, go into the audience to beg for money or accuse audience members of having sex in the theater.
The cobbler and his wife tussle in Radford University's production of Cooch E. Whippet. The villain Robbrecht examines his reward while Platus , the king's advisor, looks on in a performance of Esmoreit.
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Making medieval Durham remembers attending the Medieval Congress when he began working at WMU about 10 years ago. He says he was “roped into” participating in a 12thcentury performance piece at the congress by Clifford Davidson, a professor of English and medieval studies, and Davidson’s wife, Audrey, a musician. “I enjoyed that initial experience,” Durham says, “and then a couple of years ago I started thinking, ‘Why don't we have better performance opportunities at the congress?’ I had done a couple of performances at the congress, and they were always in, like, a conference room. Like, 'Oh, let's do a show in a conference room.' It just feels so amateurish and elementary school.” Durham began having conversations with people at the congress and within WMU’s theater department about doing something
medieval theater festival was unlike her previous work. “I got to perform with people who have legitimate training,” she says. “I got to be directed by Lofty, and that was just such an incredible experience for me.” The 2017 Mostly Medieval Theatre Festival used local actors because the productions were locally created. However, this year’s festival will not have any local actors because all of the plays come from production teams outside of western Michigan.
bigger, with higher production values and for performances to take place in a theater. “After a while you stop saying it and you start thinking, 'Oh, I'm going to do it'," he says. In 2017, Durham “did it” with the inaugural Mostly Medieval Theatre Festival. He raised $20,000 from the congress to start, and the festival sold 700 seats in total. That year Durham directed two of the shows himself, and the rest came from local organizations or touring productions. This year the performers include troupes from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Virginia’s Radford University as well as the Toronto-based Pneuma Ensemble and House of Cards and Better Call Saul actress Suzanne Savoy.
In 2017's Cosmic Dance, dancers interpret the fusion of Hildegard of Bingen's medieval melodies with vocals and 21st century percussion by Early Music Michigan.
In the future, Durham says, he wants the festival to include non-European medieval works, including those from Arabic and Japanese cultures. He also says he wants more people from the local community to come to the festival. “I mean southwest Michigan, that's a really interesting area. There's lots of interesting people in the arts,” he says, “so if I had a goal for when (the festival and congress) happen, I'm trying to figure out how to demystify it for people who live here, have them understand.”
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Hot Topics at the 2019 Medieval Congress
Going Medieval (continued from page 27)
Among the sessions at this year’s Medieval Congress are many that resonate with modern times: • Playing the Past: Race, Gender, and Heroism in Gaming — A roundtable discussion that looks at topics of toxic masculinity and racism in medieval-themed video games, Session 141, 3:30 p.m. May 9, Room 2335, Schneider Hall. • “Big Data” in Medieval Studies — Two back-to-back sessions examining the promises and pitfalls of big data in researching historic texts, Session 53, 1:30 p.m., and Session 102, 3:30 p.m. May 9, both in Room 210, Bernhard Center. • New Approaches to Old Problems: Using Modern Technology to Investigate Medieval Material Culture — How technology, including GIS mapping, liDAR and 3D modeling, can lend itself to research on medieval buildings, 10 a.m. May 9, Room 209, Bernhard Center.
Other sessions show that some things really haven’t changed much in a millennium or more: • White Nationalism, Misogyny, and Modern Receptions of the Early Medieval North Atlantic — Back-to-back sessions address the role of women, the male hero and the fantasy of Anglo-Saxon superiority, Session 387, 1:30 p.m., and Session 439, 3:30 p.m. May 11, both in Room 106, Bernhard Center.
• Nevertheless, She Resisted: Centering Female Will and Consent in Medieval Literature — #MeToo was a thing back then too, Session 527, 10:30 a.m. May 12, Room 208, Bernhard Center. • Loving Your Arms (Before the NRA): Heroes and Their Weapons — Swords, duels, knights and the things they fought about, Session 78, 1:30 p.m. May 9, Room 1225, Schneider Hall. • Medieval Ales Revisited: The Continuing Debate about Hops and Gruit — Methods and materials used in craft brewing during medieval times, Session 101, 3:30 p.m. Room 209, Bernhard Center. • Nasty, Brutish, and Long: Medieval Travel Writing — Before there was Anthony Bourdain, there were other world travelers, Session 287, 3:30 p.m. May 10, Room 2030, Fetzer Center.
To register: Kalamazoo County residents and those with a valid WMU ID may attend the WMU International Congress on Medieval Studies at no cost. Local attendees may pre-register at wmich.edu/medievalcongress/registration or they can register on-site in the lobby of Goldsworth Valley's Eldridge-Fox Halls.
for the first time in 2018. He says he was impressed by the variety of presentations and the items available for sale and pledged to return this year, especially after learning about Kalamazoo’s local craft beers. Cameron McNabb of Tampa, Florida, was a speaker at the 2018 congress but broke the unspoken rule of not using costumes. She dressed her then-6-month-old daughter, Arden, in a knitted “Viking helmet,” complete with long braids that Arden stuffed in her mouth. McNabb, a member of the Society for the Study for Disability in the Medieval Era, has been coming to the Medieval Congress for 13 years because, she says, “it’s rare to find many people” elsewhere she can talk with about her research. “You won’t get that many people together normally,” she says. Les Enluminures, a company that collects and sells medieval books and jewelry, had several rare books on display at the 2018 congress, including religious texts from the 1400s and 1600s. Laura Brettholle, a Les Enluminures gallery manager, said the oldest book in the company’s collection — one that didn’t make it to the congress — is called the Liesborn Gospels and dates to the year 990. “It smelled holy,” she said. “I love the history that’s imbued in the relics.”
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Blake Morgan travels the world but is still inspired by home by
hen Blake Morgan graduated from high school, he was a bit of a rebel. “I was threatening my parents to not go to school and be in a rock band and tour the world,” says Morgan, who grew up in Dearborn. “I guess in a hilarious sense I’m doing that now.” The 2013 graduate of Western Michigan University is a tenor for the world-renowned British vocal ensemble VOCES8 and as a member of that group tours the globe, performing in places such as the Tokyo Opera City, Vienna Konzerthaus and Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and in thousandyear-old cathedrals. He has also recorded albums in legendary locales. “We’ve recorded our latest album at Abbey Road Studios, in the same room where the Beatles recorded all of their songs,” says 28year old Morgan. “So that was pretty cool.” After graduating from WMU with degrees in music education and music performance, Morgan moved to New York City and started subbing as a singer at St. Paul’s Chapel of the Parish of Trinity Church Wall Street, a suggested freelance venue for singers. Then Glen Miller called. Miller is the director of music and organist at Kirk in the Hills, a Presbyterian church in West Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Morgan had met Miller during his last year at WMU, after being invited to help establish a vocal group in Ann Arbor called Audivi (now based in Detroit). “We hit it off really well, and, of course, I was already a huge fan of his incredible vocal ability,” Morgan says. “I just wanted to learn everything I could from being in the same room with him, but in the end I think he somehow became a fan of my musicianship as well.”
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Becoming one of the ‘8’
WMU alum Blake Morgan, left, is traveling the world as a member of the world-renowned VOCES8 vocal ensemble. Above, Morgan performing with VOCES8.
Miller asked Morgan if he could record a really difficult piece of extended harmonies called “Path of Miracles” in Austin, Texas, with the Grammy-Award-winning ensemble Conspirare two days later. Their tenor was sick. Morgan agreed, the group shipped him the several-hundred-page piece, and he hopped on a plane for Texas the next day.
Jobs came very quickly after that for the 22-year-old. “My resume was stacked over the course of this three or four months,” he says. Then, in 2014, the eight-member male vocal a cappella ensemble Cantus came knocking. Morgan spent a little more than a year with that group before joining Chanticleer, a Grammy-Award-winning male classical vocal ensemble based in San Francisco. While on tour with Chanticleer,
Morgan met Barnaby Smith, VOCES8’s artistic director. Morgan wasn’t aware of it at the time, but VOCES8 had an opening for a tenor. The group’s tenor must sing pop songs well, belt out solos and change the mechanism of his voice to sing almost a male alto, says Morgan, a “niche” skill he apparently has. In 2016, Morgan became the first American to join the British ensemble. He describes the first time singing with VOCES8 as “surreal” and admits to plenty of nerve-racking moments onstage. The other singers have a “pedigree,” he explains, having spent their childhoods singing in cathedrals across the United Kingdom without much rehearsal time — approximately 15 to 30 minutes of rehearsal for an hour-long service, “which is very different than the U.S. mentality,” he says, which involves more preparation. Now Morgan has to be ready to sing quickly. “With VOCES8 you kind of hang on for dear life when you walk up on stage,” he says.
Music in the genes Morgan grew up in a household where music was akin to breathing. His dad, Rick Morgan, was a drummer for Motown artists in Detroit. His mom, Rayleen Morgan, sings and plays the flute. Blake “was raised on a
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drum set” and also picked up the guitar, French horn, piano and bass. He initially headed in the direction of an instrumentalist, auditioning as a jazz drummer for the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Jazz Touring Ensemble. But Mark Webb, director of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp International Choir at the time, asked if Morgan could sing and urged him to send in an audition tape. Morgan got a spot, and that changed his life, he says. “You don’t have anything to hide behind,” Morgan explains. “Before that, I always played instruments in band and orchestra or rock bands, and I always had something to hide behind. Even when I was singing lead in a rock group, I always had my guitar strapped on and I could hide behind that. It’s a real vulnerability to be just using the thing that comes from your body: the voice.” Yet, when Morgan enrolled in the jazz department at WMU, he auditioned as an instrumentalist. Again, Morgan was pulled aside — this time by the late Steve Zegree, then WMU professor of music and director of WMU Gold Company, who suggested he apply to the jazz voice school, saying, “We’ve heard you scat before.” “I ended up getting a scholarship,” Morgan says. Morgan gives Zegree and retired WMU opera director and private voice coach David Little credit for his growth as a singer. Morgan says he had catching up to do when joining VOCES8, but he was prepared for that challenge by Zegree. “He had this ability to recognize potential in someone even when that individual couldn’t see it, and that’s a rare skill,” Morgan says. “He pushed me beyond what I ever thought I was capable of. He really held me to the fire many times, and I know the things I do now will never be as difficult as how extreme he pushed.” Little also saw Morgan’s potential and allowed him to “unlock it,” supporting
Morgan’s interest in studying classical voice and singing in operas, in addition to fulfilling his jazz requirements. “He never told me that you can’t do both,” Morgan says. “He always said when you’re a musician — and Steve Zegree said this as well — versatility is the most important thing. You have to be flexible and willing to adapt if you want to make a living in music.”
Alias: Esto On the side, Morgan composes and sings folk music under the name Esto. The Spanish
Above: Morgan, center, among his VOCES8 colleagues. Left: Morgan’s folk music album, Houghton Hancock Hum-Alongs, was inspired by his time in the Upper Peninsula.
pseudonym refers to the first song he ever sang with the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp International Choir, “Esto Les Digo” (meaning “This I Say to You”), by composer and choral arranger Kinley Lange. “It really struck me,” he admits. “That piece has sort of been a constant in my life ever since.”
Another mainstay in Morgan’s life has been northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Though he’s been around the world, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan continue to fuel his work. Morgan wrote and recorded a folk music album about Houghton, Michigan, titled Houghton Hancock HumAlongs, inspired by the summer he spent there working as a counselor at a camp for advanced high school students interested in engineering. Morgan patrolled the halls at night and hosted dorm activities, including playing his guitar and singing Top 40 hits with “young engineering geniuses.” “The ‘night-centric’ nature of the job meant I could spend the bulk of my days exploring the Keweenaw Peninsula or writing music,” Morgan says. “There’s so much untapped, untouched beauty up there.” Absorbing landscapes and nature allows him to become more of a vessel, he explains, so that sound becomes a gift rather than a creation, and writing and arranging stem from inspiration rather than logic. “I see something or hear something that just strikes me and falls into my lap, and it’s like, ‘Oh, wow, it’s complete,’” he says, “sort of like stumbling on a buried treasure. You stumble upon this ancient city, and you’re sort of digging it up rather than building it. That manifests itself into my songwriting.”
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Beyond Broadway — Julie Nemitz and Nat Zegree perform Broadway hits, 8 p.m. May 10 & 11, Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, 343-2727.
Spring Cabaret — The New Vic entertains with music and stories of motherhood, 8 p.m. May 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 & 25, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328.
Chase Marlow, U.S. Marshal: The Return of the Sandal Creek Kid — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. May 4, First Baptist Church, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 342-5059.
Bands & Solo Artists
Amazing Grace — Black Arts & Cultural Center's Face Off Theatre Company presents the story of a girl who learns she can do anything she sets her mind to, 7:30 p.m. May 16–18, 2 & 4 p.m. May 19, Jolliffe Theatre, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 359-1046.
Moss Jaw Album Release Show — Local fourpiece band, 8:30 p.m. May 2, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332.
Twelfth Night — Shakespeare's comedy about love and gender identity, 7:30 p.m. May 16–18, 2 p.m. May 19, Balch Playhouse, 129 Thompson St., kzoo.edu/festivalplayhouse.
Michael Schenker Fest — German rock guitarist, 8 p.m. May 2, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500.
Home Free: Timeless World Tour — All-vocal country music group, 8 p.m. May 3, State Theatre, 345-6500. The Steel Wheels — Virginia-based Americana roots band, 8:30 p.m. May 3, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332.
The Jackal and the Lion: The Tale of a Tail — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. May 18, First Baptist Church, 342-5059.
Jessie James Decker — Country music singer/ songwriter, 8 p.m. May 4, State Theatre, 382-2332.
After Ours — Jazz duo, 9 p.m. May 4, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332.
War Paint — The story of the rivalry between two cosmetics empires from the 1930s to the 1960s, 7:30 p.m. May 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18; 2 p.m. May 5, 12 & 19, The Civic, 329 S. Park St., 343-1313. Pippi Longstocking — Civic Youth Theatre presents the adventures of a freckled-faced, pigtailed 9-year-old girl, 7:30 p.m. May 17 & 24, 1 & 4 p.m. May 18, 2 p.m. May 19 & 25, 9:30 a.m. & noon May 22 & 23, Parish Theatre, 405 W. Lovell St., 343-1313.
38 | ENCORE MAY 2019
The Way Down Wanderers — Alt folk/Americana band, 9 p.m. May 11, Bell's Eccentric Café, 3822332. Aaron Kamm and the One Drops — Roots reggae, blues and soul band, 9 p.m. May 17, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Donna the Buffalo — Americana, country and roots band, 9 p.m. May 18, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332.
Steppin' In It with May Erlewine & the Motivations — Lansing-based Americana group and a retro-groove band kick off Bell’s Beer Garden Opener Weekend, 8 p.m. May 31 (doors open at 7 p.m.), Bell’s Beer Garden, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. Individual concert tickets and May 31/ June 1 combined tickets available. Lettuce — Funk/jazz/fusion band, 9 p.m. June 1 (doors open at 8 p.m.), Opener Weekend at Bell’s Beer Garden, 382-2332. Sunday Funday — Free all-day, all-ages event starting at 11:30 a.m. (doors open at 11) June 2, with music by Uncle Kooky, DJ House of Boogie, Barn on Fire and evening performance by Grand Rapids folk band The Crane Wives, Bell’s Beer Garden, 382-2332. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More 2019 Bach Festival Week — Concerts highlighting the works of J.S. Bach and other composers, through May 6, 337-7407; see kalamazoobachfestival.org for schedule. Bach's Brunch Concert — Cellist David Peshlakai performs, 11 a.m. May 2, Dalton Theatre Lobby, Kalamazoo College, 337-7407. Breaking Barriers with Bach — Heartside Harmony Chamber Music Society presents works that explore the human condition, 7:30 p.m. May 3, Dalton Theatre, Kalamazoo College, 337-7407. The Spring Quartet — Fontana presents these multi-generational all-star jazz musicians, 7:30 p.m. May 4, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 382-7774. Visions and Miracles — Featuring the Bach Festival Chamber Singers and the Arcato Chamber Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. May 4, Stetson Chapel, Kalamazoo College, 337-7407. KSO Woodwind Quartet — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra musicians present a Sunday morning brunch concert, 11 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. May 5, Sarkozy Bakery, 350 E. Michigan Ave., 349-7759.
O Canada! — Kalamazoo Singers perform contemporary Canadian choral compositions, 3 p.m. May 5, First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park St., kalamazoosingers.org. Pianist Kirill Gerstein — 2010 Gilmore Artist in the Piano Masters Series performs works by Liszt, Beethoven, Debussy and Ravel, 8 p.m. May 7, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 359-7311. Arcadia Woodwind Quintet — Performing classic chamber music, 7:30 p.m. May 10, Ladies' Library Association, 333 S. Park St., 344-3710; reservations required. Classics on Tap — KSO artists in residence perform 20th-century French chamber music, 8 p.m. May 10, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. Classics Uncorked — KSO artists in residence perform 20th-century French chamber music, 3 & 8 p.m. May 11, Jolliffe Theatre, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 349-7759. New York Philharmonic Quartet — Fontana presents the principal string players of the Philharmonic, 7:30 p.m. May 11, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 382-7774. Bartók & Stravinsky — The KSO performs Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 2, with violinist Susie Park, and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, 8 p.m. May 17, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 349-7759. 44th Stulberg International String Competition — Twelve young musicians from around the world compete; semifinals, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; evening finals, 7:30 p.m. May 18, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 343-2776. Crescendo Academy of Music Student Recital — 2 p.m. May 19, First Congregational Church, 345 W. Michigan Ave., 345-6664. Kalamazoo Ringers' Spring Concert — Handbell ringers perform jazz, classical and contemporary music, 4 p.m. May 19, Grace Harbor Church, 811 Gorham Lane, kalamazooringers.org. DANCE
Eyes Back, Feet Forward Spring Concert of Dance — Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers and the Last Gasp Collective, 7 p.m. May 2, 8 p.m. May 3 & 4, Wellspring Theater, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 342-4354. COMEDY Family Secret — This local improv group presents short- and long-form improv comedy, 8 p.m. May 3, Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 599-7390. All-Play Improv Jam — Try your hand at performing improv comedy, 4–6 p.m. May 4, Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 599-7390. Fun Dumpster — Graduates of Crawlspace Theatre Productions classes present improv comedy, 8 p.m. May 4, Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 599-7390. A Special Comedy Night Featuring Dwayne Gill — Fundraiser for Special Olympics Michigan, 8 p.m. May 15, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 39
Crawlspace Theatre Productions: Tomato — Improv and sketch comedy show inspired by tomato soup, 8 p.m. May 17 & 18, Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 599-7390. FILM Kalamazoo Film Society — Local filmmaker Kelly Wittenberg discusses her two-time awardwinning film Representative, the story of her relationship with her father, 5–8 p.m. May 3, Jolliffe Theatre, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, kalfilmsociety.net. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 Exhibits
The Expressionist Figure — Mid-20th century Expressionist paintings, through May 5. High School Area Show — Artwork by high school students in the region, through May 26. The Feeling is Mutual: New Work by Maya Freelong — This new exhibit features tissue paper sculptures, through May 31. Rewards of Wisdom: Contemporary Chinese Ink Painting — Distinguished artists and rising stars express virtue, peace, wisdom, beauty, meditation, science, knowledge and philosophy through their brushwork, through June 16. West Michigan Area Show — A juried exhibition showcasing work in all media from artists in 14 Michigan counties, May 18–Aug. 25. Events ARTbreak — Weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions: Wantanabe Shozaburo: Reinventing the Japanese Print, talk by Andrew Stevens, retired curator from Chazen Museum of Art, in Madison, Wisconsin, May 7; talk by West Michigan Area Show Juror Vera Grant, May 14; talk by two West Michigan Area Show artists, May 21; talk by Alison Watson, Director, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, May 28; sessions begin at noon, KIA Auditorium. Films by Kalamazoo College Student Filmmakers — Films about local people and places, including the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, Crow’s Nest & Fourth Coast Cafe, Rootead, the Kalamazoo drag community, and the shops of downtown Kalamazoo, 6:30 p.m. May 9. Book Discussion: Dark Side of the Boom: The Excesses of the Art Market in the TwentyFirst Century — Kendra Eberts leads a discussion on this book by Georgina Adam, 2 p.m. May 15. Other Venues
17 Days (Volume 11) — One artist's video work per day is played on 50-inch plasma screens, May 1, Atrium Gallery, Richmond Center for Visual Arts, WMU, 387-2436. 2019 Westminster Art Festival: Migration: Traveling Mercies — Juried exhibition of visual art and poetry on the theme of migration, concludes May 1, Westminster Presbyterian 40 | ENCORE MAY 2019
Church, 1515 Helen Ave., Portage; see schedule at westminsterartfestival.org. Art Hop — Art at locations in Kalamazoo, 5–8 p.m. May 3, 342-5059. Glass Blowers Battle 2019 — Competition of glass blowing by flame shop artists, May 3–5, Glass Arts Kalamazoo, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 100, 552-9802.
Illustrated Accordion — Exhibition of books created in the accordion form, May 3–30, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A, 373-4938. Get Hooked on Art — Art fair and market featuring nature-inspired works, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. May 4, Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, 34270 County Road 652, Almena Township, 668-2876. Painting in the Parks — Create a masterpiece, 6–9 p.m. May 9, Schrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave., Portage, happyourart.com; registration required. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library May the 4th Be With You — Screening of a Star Wars movie, themed crafts and family fun, 2–4 p.m. May 4, Alma Powell Branch, 1000 W. Paterson, 553-7960. Meet the Author: Raeven Barnes — Conversation with the author of Tales of a Broken Girl, 6 p.m. May 6, Eastwood Branch, 1112 Gayle Ave., 553-7810. Page Turners Book Club — Discussion of Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent, 6:30 p.m. May 6, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St., 553-7980. Michigan, My Michigan: The Automotive Industry in Michigan — Historian Lynn Houghton discusses the end of the 19th century to the start of the growth of the automotive industry, 7–8:30 p.m. May 9, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 342-9837. Reading Race Book Group — Discussion of What the Eyes Don't See, by Mona Hanna-Attisha, 6:30–8 p.m. May 14, Boardroom, Central Library, 342-9837. Classics Revisited — Discussion of Collected Fictions, by Jorge Luis Borges, 7–8:45 p.m. May 16, Boardroom, Central Library, 342-9837. Urban Fiction Book Discussion — Discussion of Desperate: I'll Do Anything for Love, by B. M. Hardin, 6 p.m. May 28, Alma Powell Branch, 553-7960. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747 Parchment Book Group — Discussion of Man in the Crooked Hat, by Harry Dolan, 6:30 p.m. May 6. Front Page: Donuts & Discussion — Birding 101 tips and tricks with Lisa Duke of the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, 10:30 a.m.–noon May 18. Mystery Book Club — Discussion of Light Thickens, by Ngaio Marsh, 6:30 p.m. May 20.
Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544
meet at Maple Street YMCA parking lot, next to tennis courts.
KSO Family Fun Chamber Series — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra presents Pictures at an Exhibition, by Mussorgsky, 2 p.m. May 3; registration required.
DeLano Wildflowers and Wine — Learn how to identify wildflowers on a leisurely hike, 5:30 p.m. May 3, DeLano Homestead parking lot, 555 West E Ave.
Sense of Place: A Tour of Michigan's Natural Diversity — Enjoy a walk at the Kalamazoo Nature Center to identify signs of spring, 10 a.m. May 4, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave.; registration required.
Discover the Beech Maple Trail — Take a hike along the Trout Run Stream, 2 p.m. May 5.
International Mystery Book Discussion: Readers' Choice Night — 7 p.m. May 9.
Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior's Life & Legacy — Crazy Horse family elder Floyd Clown Sr. joins author William Matson to discuss their book, 6:30–8 p.m. May 13. SciFi/Fantasy Discussion — Watch previews of upcoming movies and receive a summer movie guide, 7 p.m. May 14. Open for Discussion — Discussion of Celine, by Peter Heller, 10:30 a.m. May 21. MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555
Game Changers — Interactive exhibit exploring how innovation has shaped gameplay, through Aug. 10.
Golf Cart Tour: Spring Wildflowers — A tour through the woods to enjoy emerging wildflowers, 4 p.m. May 6. Birding with the Stars — Join expert birders for a guided morning hike, 8 a.m. May 7, 14 & 21. Mother's Day Wildflower Walk — A leisurely hike to observe wildflowers, 2 p.m. May 12. Spring Night Hike — An evening hike to learn about nocturnal animals, 8:30 p.m. May 23. Canopy Tour Season Opening — Zoom through the treetops on a zip line, 1–4 p.m. May 25. Boomers & Beyond: Birding Basics — Learn tips and tricks from an expert birder, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. May 28. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510
ce n e i r ony th e p x E mph 9 the
r h ou Season
09.11 | Fall Craft Music at Bell’s 09.20 | MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition KSO MOVIES
10.11 | Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert 10.20 | Family Discovery: Icarus at the Edge of Time – 3 p.m.
Birds and Coffee Walk — A morning bird walk and discussion over coffee, 9–10:30 a.m. May 8.
10.26 | GERSHWIN: Rhapsodies
Memories and Milestones: Forty Years of the Air Zoo — A celebration of four decades of flight, spacecraft, science and education, through December.
11.08 | Classics Uncorked: 11.09 Sounds of Chile
Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089
Portage Farmers Market — 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sundays, through October, City Hall, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., 329-4522.
12.13 | Sounds of the Season
60th Anniversary Kalamazoo Rock, Gem, Jewelry, Fossil & Mineral Show — Kalamazoo Geological and Mineral Society's 60th anniversary show with dealers, games, presentations and hands-on areas, 4–8 p.m. May 3, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. May 4, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. May 5, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., KalamazooRockClub. org.
01.25 | How to Train Your Dragon in Concert – 3 p.m.
Marinarathon Pasta Dinner — Outdoor, familystyle dining experience before the big race, 5:30– 8:30 p.m. May 3, DeVisser Alley, 214 S. Kalamazoo Mall, downtownkalamazoo.org.
03.07 | MAHLER: Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)
Walking Tour of Downtown Kalamazoo Breweries — Learn about the local beer culture, noon–4:15 p.m. May 4 & 18, starting at Old Burdick's Bar & Grill, 100 W. Michigan Ave.; May 11, starting at Hop Cat, 300 E. Water St.; May 25, starting at Shakespeare's Pub, 241 E. Kalamazoo Ave.; 350-4598.
04.17 | E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in Concert
Hidden Treasures: Barn Finds and Their Stories — Vintage automobiles found in old garages and barns, through July. Duesenberg: Celebrating an American Classic — This exhibition showcases up to 20 rare Duesenbergs in rotation, through fall 2019. Kentucky Derby Julep Gala — Don your Derby attire to watch the race during an evening fundraiser for Spectrum Health Pennock program to improve infant and maternal mortality rates, 5:30–10 p.m. May 4. Donald Gilmore Pre-1942 Showcase Driving Tour & Car Show — Pre-war 1942 vehicles; tour May 17 and show May 18, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990
Math Moves: Experiencing Ratio and Proportion — A multi-sensory interactive exhibit to set up, measure, describe and compare ratios and proportions in a fun approach to problem solving, through June 2. NATURE Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574 Birding the Kleinstuck Preserve — Survey for migratory birds, 8 a.m.–1 p.m. May 1, 8, 15 & 22;
Kalamazoo Farmers Market — 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays, through November, 1204 Bank St., 359-6727.
Moving Meditation for Peace on World Labyrinth Day — "Walk as One at 1," taking steps for peace as you walk a labyrinth, 12:45 p.m. May 4, Unity of Kalamazoo, 1204 Whites Road, 2174076, labyrinthsociety.org/world-labyrinth-day.
11.23 | BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica” 01.15 | Spring Craft Music at Bell’s KSO MOVIES
02.02 | Family Discovery: Carnival of the Animals – 3 p.m. 02.14 | Sounds of Love 02.21 | Classics Uncorked: 02.22 Soldier’s Tale
04.03 | BACH: St. Matthew Passion – 7:30 p.m. KSO MOVIES
05.22 | RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé 06.20 | Sounds of Kalamazoo ONGOING
| Free KSO Community Concerts
All concerts begin at 8 p.m. unless otherwise indicated
TICKETS KalamazooSymphony.com 269.349.7759 w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 41
Kalamazoo Marathon & Borgess Run for the Health of It — Full and half marathon, 10K and 5K runs, 5K walk, starting times vary, May 5, Borgess Nazareth Campus, 3427 Gull Road, borgessrun.com. Vintage in the Zoo Market — Vintage and antique clothing, furniture and housewares, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. May 5, Kalamazoo Farmers Market, 773-319-4866.
Kalamazoo Bike Week — Promoting the use of the bicycle as a means of transportation, May 11–18; see kalamazoobikeweek.org for schedule. 2019 Trailblazer – A spring bike ride on the KalHaven Trail, 7 a.m.–4 p.m. May 11, with starting points at the trailheads on North 10th Street, in Bloomingdale or in South Haven, 383-8778; registration at snapregistration.com/kalhaven. Mayors' Ride — Portage Mayor Patricia Randall and Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell lead an 8-mile bike ride, 8:30 a.m. May 11, starting at Bicentennial Park, 910 E. Milham Road, Portage, 329-4522.
Country Dancing in Kalamazoo — Contra and square dancing to live music, 7:30–10:30 p.m. May 11 & 25, with beginner's workshop at 7 p.m., Oshtemo Grange Hall, 3234 N. Third St., countrydancinginkalamazoo.com. Mother's Day Brunch — Enjoy brunch at the historic W.K. Kellogg Manor House, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. May 12, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, 671-2160; reservations required. Mothers & Mentors Day Luncheon at the Ladies' Library Association — Lunch with and lecture by author Linda Coppens about her book, What American Women Did, 1789–1920, noon– 1:30 p.m. May 13, Ladies' Library Association, 333 S. Park St., 344-3710; reservation required at llamothersday.eventbrite.com.
Kalamazoo Humane Society K9 Dog Walk — 9 a.m.–2 p.m. May 11, Prairie View Park, 899 East U Ave., Vicksburg, khsdogwalk.org.
LLA Day Luncheon — Celebrate the Ladies' Library Association Building's 140th anniversary at a luncheon with Sharon Carlson presenting the history of the building, 11:30–1 p.m. May 16, Ladies' Library Association, 344-3710; reservations required at 140thlla.eventbrite.com.
Mother's Day Market & Craft Show — Crafts, local artists, vintage and home décor, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. May 11, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South, 903-5820.
LLA Day Community Open House — Celebrate the 140th anniversary of the completion of the historic Ladies' Library Association Building, 4–6 p.m. May 16, 344-3710. Master Gardener Plant Sale — Plants of all types and handcrafted garden gifts, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. May 17, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. May 18, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South, 383-8815.
Antique Toy Show — Antique, vintage and collectible toys, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. May 18, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 262-366-1314. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and exotic pets, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. May 18, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 779-9851.
Stulberg International String Competition Saturday, May 18, 2019 Dalton Center Recital Hall, Western Michigan University
Portage Preservation Month Celebration — Historic demonstrations, music and games, noon– 4 p.m. May 18, Wetherbee Farm, 10209 Portage Road, Portage, 329-4522.
Judges Paul Coletti, viola Emilio Colón, cello Jennifer Frautschi, violin
Bike-a-Palooza — Open Roads Bike Program fundraiser, with live music, raffle and silent auction, 6–9 p.m. May 18, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 435 W. South St., openroadsbike.org.
Semifinalist Performances Free and open to the public 9 am to 4 pm Finals Concert 7:30 pm Tickets: $25 for adults, $5 for students Ticket information at stulberg.org
Kalamazoo Dance — Monthly ballroom dancing, 8 p.m. May 18, with Night Club 2-Step lesson at 7 p.m., The Point Community Center, 2595 N. 10th St., kalamazoodance.org.
Master Classes with Competition Judges Free and open to the public Sunday, May 19, 12:30 pm Dalton Center Recital Hall, Western Michigan University
Neil deGrasse Tyson — A conversation on science, exploration and the world as we know it, 7:30 p.m. May 22, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300.
A STEP TO GREATNESS stulberg.org | 269.343.2776
42 STU4677 | ENCORE MAY 2019 2019 Encore Ad.indd 1
Touch-A-Truck — Hands-on exploration of fire trucks, police cars and heavy machinery, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. May 11, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, East Lawn, 815-0034.
2/20/19 12:01 PM
West Michigan Apple Blossom Cluster Dog Show — AKC dog show, featuring all-breed show, obedience trials and rally trials, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. May 23 & 24, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. May 25–27, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 616-600-1578.
Saturday Syntax: American Goldfinch Style Window glass rattles, interrupting morningâ€™s silent flow. Dashing outside, we see, curled slightly, a yellow comma punctuating the brown porch. Dark wingsâ€” two slender parentheses hug a hollow body wrapped in gold. We pause, our bodies remembering to breathe as we gaze upon the tiny finch. A flight ended in mid-sentence. â€” Jennifer Clark Clark is the author of the poetry collections Necessary Clearings (Shabda Press, 2014) and Johnny Appleseed: The Slice and Times of John Chapman (Shabda Press, 2018). Her third collection, A Beginnerâ€™s Guide to Heaven, is due out from Unsolicited Press in June. She lives in Kalamazoo. This poem first appeared in The Midwest Quarterly.
The Next Day, Three Eggs The nest is suspended, a tight weave between fescue. I shut down the mower, set the brake. Two speckled eggs in a cradle of last yearâ€™s junk hay. Three more feet and that patch of grass will be cut and mixed in with this yearâ€™s crop. I raise the assembly, swing hard left. The deck brushes the top of the nest. The mother bird flies off, distracting. â€” Melanie Dunbar Dunbar lives on a farm in Southwest Michigan with her family and their rooster, Mr. Beautiful, and tends flowers for a living. She is also the contest coordinator for the Poetry Society of Michigan and the editor of Peninsula Poets. Her poems can be found in Sweet: A Literary Confection, KYSO Flash, Clade Song and elsewhere in print and online.
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INDEX TO ADVERTISERS Arborist Services of Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Betzler Funeral Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Blackberry Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Bravo! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Bronson Healthcare Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Carrier Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Civic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Clear Ridge Wealth Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Comensoli’s Italian Bistro & Bar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Comstock Community Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Cosmo’s Cucina & O’Duffy’s Pub . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Kuipers Advisors for all your
Dave’s Glass Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Investment and Insurance needs.
DeMent and Marquardt, PLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Serving the Kalamazoo area
First National Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
for over 50 years!
Fence & Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Food Dance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Four Roses Café . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Chad Schut • Mitch Wassink • Doug Koning
Gilmore Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Heritage Community of Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
268 East Kilgore Rd Portage 49002 • (269) 349-1432 Securities and investment advisory service offered through Cetera Advisors LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Kuipers Advisors, Inc. is not affiliated with Cetera Advisors LLC
Halls Closets & More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport . . . . . . . . 48 Kalamazoo Community Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Kalamazoo Institute of Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Kalamazoo Youth Development Network . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Kuipers Advisors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 LVM Capital Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Metro Toyota . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 North Woods Village . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Oakland Centre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Park Village Pines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Parkway Plastic Surgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services . . . . . . . . . . .33 Portage Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Potter’s Restaurant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 RAI Jets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Reverence Home Health & Hospice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Saffron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Stulberg International String Competition . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Trust Shield Insurance Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Tujax Tavern & Brewpub . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Vandenberg Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
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44 | ENCORE MAY 2019
Varnum Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Vlietstra Bros. Pools & Spas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Willis Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 WMUK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Zooroona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
BACK STORY (continued from page 46)
Now the 42-year-old Kalamazoo native and Loy Norrix High School graduate is president of Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership (formerly Downtown Kalamazoo Inc.), the rebranded and redefined nonprofit organization that works to enhance the economic health of downtown. Since Haan came on board two years ago, the organization has created the Downtown Economic Growth Authority and a new 422acre tax increment financing district to help the financially strapped organization raise $66 million in state and local taxes during the next 30 years to reinvest in downtown. DKP has also established citizen coalitions to advise the organization on its four-pronged plan for growth, focusing on infrastructure improvements, programming and events, attracting new business and forging new links with the diverse populations of downtown. “We're so eager to bring more voices into the organization. We have 76 new people that have joined, and, with those on our boards, we have over 100 people directly informing the work of the organization,” he says. “It's a lot to juggle and manage, but we're looking forward to deepening our networks and tapping into people that maybe felt like they weren't included in the growth of downtown in the past.”
How did you get where you are today? I did my undergrad in public history and got a master’s at Eastern Michigan University in historic preservation and urban planning. When I was finishing at Eastern, an opportunity arose in Muskegon to lead its downtown development organization. It was a one-person show and volunteerdriven, with a very modest budget. It was a transitioning downtown with all this open space and a smattering of historic buildings effectively on the shores of Muskegon Lake. I did that for about three years and learned a lot. Then (Michigan) Gov. (Rick) Snyder was looking to create an office for Southwest Michigan, and his office knew that I was from the area and I was offered the position. We found out we were pregnant with our first child the same day. I was like, “I guess we're supposed to move back home to Kalamazoo.”
I spent four years as the associate director of Michigan's Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives, focusing on urban policy, economic development, talent development, transportation and other urban issues facing the cities in the region and helping them learn how to tap into state resources. I was on the board at what was then Downtown Kalamazoo Inc., and there was a decision to go a different direction with the organization. I had an opportunity to interview for the president’s position and to come in and set a different course for the organization.
What is it about downtown development you find so appealing? In college, I didn't know what I wanted to do, and it didn't actually click for me until my first semester at Eastern Michigan. I loved old buildings and was really intrigued by some of the big adaptive reuse projects I'd seen with historic buildings. I took a course in downtown revitalization and was like, “Bingo, that's it!” Historic preservation is a part of a bigger toolkit to grow a place and build community around spaces where people come together and where business is transacted.
There is a lot of residential development downtown. Is that where you see downtown going in the future? It's part of the future. The best downtowns have a healthy mix of residential, commercial, office, retail and institutional uses. I think we've got all those, but it’s really important that we not put all of our efforts into one of those categories, because the others can suffer. I do see some interesting changes in the retail industry, where it's becoming more and more about experience. Small retailers can't compete with Amazon on price, but they can compete on experience and it presents an opportunity for well-programmed downtowns. I also see that as more people move downtown, companies will want to come downtown to where their workforce is.
of the work done downtown over the last 30 years, was no longer financially viable. There were several reasons, including the loss of a major employer in downtown that owned a huge percentage of the tax base (Pfizer Inc.). As our resources started to dwindle, our ability to have an impact dwindled too. We knew we had to stabilize and rebuild our financial foundation. We spent the year working with partners, including downtown businesses, residents, Kalamazoo County, WMU and KVCC, the library and transit authority, to figure out how to continue to fund the work that we do. We put a plan in place for the next 30 years, which is a very broad roadmap. We got an additional $11 million from the State of Michigan to go into infrastructure downtown on top of a projected $55 million that would be captured locally through taxes. So it's great. But it's important to remember that’s $66 million over 30 years. It grows, it grows exponentially, but it starts very small. Having reset that foundation is a big accomplishment, and we couldn't have done it without the support of the city. With the new revenues, new resources and new programming, we looked towards a new brand and a new location for our organization. We had a nice space, but it was isolated and not something that sent a message of, “Hey, come engage with us” and “Here we are. Help us grow downtown.” We moved to this ground-floor space (at 162 E. Michigan Ave.) where there's 20,000 vehicles going by a day and it’s a very busy pedestrian area. It’s been really fun to see more people come in and say, “Hey, what do you guys do?’”
What do you like about what you do? The variety and the ability to be creative. We have a couple square miles here and all this opportunity to knit it together and program it and maintain it and do fun stuff like public art projects and transportation projects. It's something different every single day. — Interviewed by Encore Editor Marie Lee
What are you most excited about? 2018 was a really big year for us. The Downtown Development Authority, which had sustained and funded about 90 percent
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BACK STORY ENCORE
President, Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership
Andrew Haan was skateboarding down the Kalamazoo Mall as a high-schooler and working at his family’s store, Warren’s Sporting Goods on North Burdick, or at the former Piranha Alley store next to Gazelle Sports, he didn’t know that downtown Kalamazoo was where he was destined to be. “I've just always loved it,” he says. “Looking back, I should have known earlier. I even lived for a couple of years in the Skyrise (apartment building downtown) when I was 21. It's kind of always been in my blood.” (continued on page 45)
46 | ENCORE MAY 2019
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Southwest Michigan's Magazine: Going Medieval: Kalamazoo is a mecca for middle ages scholars and theater; the non-GMO goodness of Bailey's M...