Encore May 2018

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Para athlete Nicolas Nieboer

May 2018

Stulberg Competition hits a national note

Peace Pizzazz spreads the word

Meet KAR's Bonnie Sexton

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

More than Meets the Eye The subversive art of Mary Hatch



Call 269.381.4416 or visit www.kalfound.org to learn more.

2 | ENCORE MAY 2018

Inspiring healthcare careers. Positivity is about more than advancing the health of our community today. It’s also about advancing it tomorrow. That’s why, at Bronson, we reach out to area youth and help them explore the many possible careers that exist in healthcare. It’s why we support our staff’s passion for learning with scholarships and tuition reimbursement. And it’s why we continue our decades-long dedication to training the next generation of healthcare professionals. As southwest Michigan’s leading health system and top employer, we’re proud of the caring team we have serving our community today, and the one we’re building for the future. Join us. For more, visit bronsonhealth.com/careers. Or follow us on Facebook.

Para athlete Nicolas Nieboer

Stulberg Competition hits a national note

Peace Pizzazz spreads the word

May 2018

Meet KAR's Bonnie Sexton

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

More than Meets the Eye The subversive art of Mary Hatch


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www.encorekalamazoo.com 117 W. Cedar St. Suite A, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 Telephone: (269) 383-4433 Fax: (269) 383-9767 Email: Publisher@encorekalamazoo.com The staff at Encore welcomes written comment from readers, and articles and poems for submission with no obligation to print or return them. To learn more about us or to comment, visit encorekalamazoo.com. Encore subscription rates: one year $36, two years $70. Current single issue and newsstand $4, $10 by mail. Back issues $6, $12 by mail. Advertising rates on request. Closing date for space is 28 days prior to publication date. Final date for print-ready copy is 21 days prior to publication date. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by those interviewed and published here do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Encore Magazine or the official policies, owners or employees of Encore Publications.

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From the Editor The best things about being the editor of Encore are the wonderful

people I meet and the efforts and enterprises I learn about each month through our magazine’s writers and articles. I often get asked if we ever run out of story ideas, since Encore has been around for 45 years and has published thousands of stories. The answer is no. Never. There are stories everywhere you look in the greater Kalamazoo area. People doing creative, innovative things, people doing good works in the community, people who are just interesting — they are everywhere. And we revel in finding them and bringing them to our readers. May's issue is a great example. We had so much to tell you this month! There’s the young para athlete, Nicolas Nieboer, heading to national competition in June; a national radio show, From the Top, coming to record the Stulberg International String Competition; a moving story about why the upcoming performances of "Requiem for Those Who Died of Famine" are so personally important to Kalamazoo Philharmonia conductor Andrew Koehler; the dedicated volunteers who put on the annual Peace Pizzazz festival; a Q&A with Bonnie Sexton, who leads the Kalamazoo Area Runners, the largest running group in the state; and a profile of talented local painter Mary Hatch, written by equally talented local poet Elizabeth Kerlikowske (in her Encore debut!). Wow! And whew. The next best thing to being the editor of Encore is being an Encore reader, because you get to meet the same folks I do through our magazine. We are truly the lucky ones, so let’s savor every word.

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FEATURES Handbike Hotshot


What’s Going On Here?


Para athlete Nicolas Nieboer eyes national competition Mary Hatch’s paintings tell stories and ask questions

DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor 8 Contributors Up Front

10 First Things

Happenings in SW Michigan

14 Five Faves — Five ways going outside will help you discover Kalamazoo

16 Stulberg on Top — Why NPR’s From The Top is coming to this Kalamazoo youth string competition

30 Good Works

Peace at Play — Peace Pizzazz and Peace Mama bring a message of harmony

46 Back Story

Meet Bonnie Sexton — She leads the pack when it comes to running in Kalamazoo

ARTS 35 Music with a Message — Requiem about Ukrainian famine hits home for local conductor

39 Events of Note 43 Poetry On the cover: Painter Mary Hatch stands in front of one of her works at her Kalamazoo home. Photo by Brian K. Powers.

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Jordan Bradley

Margaret DeRitter

Elizabeth Kerlikowske

In researching her story on the Stulberg International String Competition and its attention from National Public Radio show From the Top, Jordan says she was impressed by the passionate and dedicated musicians she spoke with. Never without a moodappropriate playlist, Jordan is a huge fan of music and found the opportunity to dig into the renowned competition inspiring. "That From the Top recognizes a slice of Kalamazoo's dynamic music world is just the cherry on top," she says. An editorial intern at Encore, Jordan will graduate from Michigan State University this month.

When Margaret talked with Kalamazoo Philharmonia conductor Andrew Koehler about its upcoming performances of "Requiem for Those Who Died of Famine," she discovered why he had great empathy and emotion for this piece. “It was very interesting but sad to learn about the often-overlooked tragedy in Ukraine known as the Holodomor and his family’s sufferings in it,” she says. Margaret is copy editor and poetry editor for Encore and a former editor and reporter at the Kalamazoo Gazette. She has also taught journalism at Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University.

Elizabeth didn’t have to wander very far afield for her profile of painter Mary Hatch; she co-authors the forthcoming book Art Speaks with the painter. She is also the author of seven other books, and her writing appears in many anthologies and journals. She is president of Friends of Poetry in Kalamazoo and of the Poetry Society of Michigan. She was awarded the Community Medal of Arts by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo in 2017.

Lisa Mackinder

Lisa says two words came to mind when she spoke with Nicolas Nieboer: enthusiasm and excitement. Nieboer is a Kalamazoo resident training to compete in the 10K handbike road race for the 2018 Junior Nationals and USATF Para Youth Championships, the oldest continuously held competitive sports event in North America for junior athletes with physical disabilities. “To say Nicolas Nieboer loves racing and competition is putting it mildly,” Lisa says. “His eyes literally light up when he talks about being out on the road — and he is the only person that I have met who can do 65 handstand pushups!” 8 | ENCORE MAY 2018

Robert M. Weir

The authors’ adage, “Write what you know” applies to Robert’s article about Peace Pizzazz and its sidebar on Peace Mama. Being associated with the Peace Pizzazz founders, he was on the fringes of the organization’s inception a decade ago and has participated in a few Peace Pizzazz festivals since. He has walked with Peace Mama in parades in Kalamazoo and South Haven. Bob says writing about this topic was an occasion for him to reconnect with longtime friends and revisit familiar territory in a new, creative way.

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First Things Something Animal

Find out more about Fluffy and Fido It’s estimated that Americans have some 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats. These creatures have lived alongside us for 15,000 years, but do we really know our four-legged companions? Well, thanks to a new exhibit at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 N. Rose St., we can become more enlightened. Cats & Dogs, which opens May 16 and runs through Sept. 9, will let visitors experience what it is like to be in a cat’s world and a dog's world. More than 20 hands-on exhibits will highlight the anatomy and physical skills of the animals, what’s going on inside those furry little heads and the relationships between humans and animals. For more information, including museum hours, visit kalamazoomuseum.org or call 373-7990.

Something Fresh

Farmers’ markets reopen for season It’s not just leafy green trees, blue skies and sunshine that signal summer is coming;

another sign that summer is nigh is when area farmers’ markets open for the season. The Kalamazoo Farmers Market, 1204 Bank St., opens 7 a.m.– 2 p.m. May 5. Come for the vibe, stay for the locally grown food, artisan wares and live music from Dogpatch Lullaby at 8:30 a.m. and Kzoo Prairie Dogs at 11:30 a.m. The market, which features more than 100 businesses weekly, is open every Saturday through October. It’s also open Tuesdays and Thursdays, June–October, with night markets every third Thursday, through September. A day later, the Portage Market opens at Portage City Hall, 7990 S. Westnedge Ave. It’s open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays, May-October, and features about 30 businesses. More information on the Kalamazoo and Portage markets can be found at pfcmarkets.com. The next weekend, on May 12, Fresh on Q! Farmers Market, at 7110 West Q Ave., in Texas Township, begins it season. Up to 35 vendors will be on hand to sell everything from seasonal produce, meats, eggs, cheeses and baked goods to potted plants and cut flowers. The market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon until Oct. 20. For more information, visit texastownship.org.

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Something Inspiring

Dream and sing along with Billy Elliot Billy Elliot comes from a family of coal miners, but dreams of becoming a ballet dancer even though his father wants him to be a boxer. Combine that story line with a score by music legend Elton John and you’ve got a smash musical. It takes the stage May 4-20 at the Civic Auditorium, 329 S. Park St. Billy Elliot: The Musical, which is based on the hit international film, is the inspirational story of a young boy's struggle against the odds to make his wish come true. It’s set in a northern English mining town against the backdrop of the 1984 miners' strike. Show times are 7:30 p.m. May 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19 and 2 p.m. May 6, 13 and 20. For more information or to buy tickets, visit kazoocivic.com or call 343-1313.

Something Good

Scholarship fundraiser features social entrepreneur When Veronika Scott designed a coat that could be made into a sleeping bag to give to homeless people in Detroit, her efforts were greeted mostly with enthusiasm by the recipients. But one woman said she needed a job, not a coat. That’s how Scott’s EMPWR coat led to the Detroitbased Empowerment Plan, a nonprofit that has employed more than 50 previously homeless people and distributed more than 25,000 sleeping bag coats since 2012. On May 23, as the keynote speaker for the annual Opportunities for Education Dinner, Scott will talk about her nonprofit’s efforts to remove families from generational cycles of homelessness. This fundraising dinner, which benefits KVCC scholarship funding, is sponsored by the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation and takes place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites, 100 W. Michigan Ave. Tickets are $75 for students and $160 for other individuals. To order tickets, visit kvcc.edu/foundation or call 488-4442. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 11


Something Acoustic

Phillip Phillips opens Bell’s Beer Garden Looking to feel like a broken record when people ask you what you’re doing on May 31? Great. Then tell them you’re going to see Phillip Phillips when the American Idol winner with the repetitive name opens the summer season at Bell’s Beer Garden, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave. Phillips, best known for his single “Home,” will perform an acoustic set. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 the week of the show and $40 the day of the show. Visit bellsbeer.com for tickets or more information.

Something Fabulous

Play Drag Bingo at Union brunch On May 20, you can camp up your Sunday afternoon, play some bingo and eat a tasty brunch, all for a good cause. The second annual Drag Bingo Brunch, to be held from 1-4 p.m. at the Union Cabaret & Grille, 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall, offers entertainment, eats and a little bingo to boot. A cover charge of $10 will get you admission and a brunch of eggs, sausage, salad, spinach dip and rib tips. Bingo sheets are $1 each or six for $5. The event is hosted by Kalamazoo’s own Monique Madison and is a fundraiser for OutFront Kalamazoo, which provides services and support for the LGBTQ community in the greater Kalamazoo area. For more information or tickets, visit outfrontkzoo.org or call 349-4234.

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Something Local

KIA shows off regional artists Two shows at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts this month focus on talented artists of the Southwest Michigan area. If you want a chance to glimpse future greatness, the 36th annual High School Area Show will showcase the best highschool-age artists in the area May 18-June 10. This juried competition and exhibition offers cash prizes and scholarships. A reception with the artists is set for 5:30– 7:30 p.m. May 17 at the KIA. To see some of the best work being created by regional artists, check out the West Michigan Area Show. This annual juried exhibition and competition showcases the work of artists from 14 Michigan counties. A reception will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. May 24, with winners announced at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit kiarts.org.

Top: Deborah Rockman’s Companions 8, a low-tech digital drawing on a photograph, was the Helen Sheridan Memorial Grand Prize Winner at the 2017 West Michigan Area Show. Bottom: Cameron Hoogstraten with her digital illustration Native American Dancer, which was the Sixth Congressional District Art Competition winner and a 2017 High School Area Show prize winner.

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Five Faves

Five ways going outside will help you discover Kalamazoo by


Ah, May. It’s that time of the year when Kalamazoo County starts to come alive with outdoor activities. As the official destination marketing organization for Kalamazoo County, we know of the many ways to get out and get some fresh air (and fresh food) while enjoying the warmer days of late spring. Here are our favorite ways to celebrate spring:

Flowers, flowers, flowers Find fresh food With summer starting to creep up on us, we can hardly wait to take advantage of the abundance of freshly picked produce and locally sourced goodies and to reconnect with our friends and neighbors at one of the local farmers’ markets. With 10 farmers’ markets in the county, finding locally sourced produce and goodies is easy, no matter what day it is. Check out some of the local markets’ opening days on Page 10.

Kalamazoo was once known as the bedding plant capital of

the world and when our local greenhouses are bursting with a riot of colors in the spring, it's easy to see how we earned that title. From choosing the perfect flat for our gardens to taking part in Kalamazoo in Bloom’s planting day in and around Bronson Park in early May to watching the installation of dozens of topiaries throughout the county, nothing signals the coming of summer better than the sight of Kalamazoo awash with color from thousands of flowers in bloom.

Take a nature hike Got wanderlust after a long winter? We don't blame you, so when you get the urge to bask in the sunshine, observe wildlife or roam along the prairies, lace up your boots and go! There's a park or trail around every corner in Kalamazoo County, and all of them offer the perfect escape to nature. Where can you go to find a list or map of these trails? Check out DiscoverKalamazoo.com for a list of local parks and hiking trails. Want to really get off the beaten path? Head to our blog and read about eight lesser-known parks and trails in Kalamazoo County.

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Start swinging (clubs, that is) When the weather breaks and the lilacs bloom, golfers can tee up

Bust out those bikes From the Kal-Haven Trail to the Portage Bikeway to the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, Kalamazoo offers a wide variety of bicycle trails for riders of any level. From scenic trails that meander through meadows and overlook the Kalamazoo River to the challenging single tracks at Fort Custer State Recreation Area or the new Maple Hill Trail at Markin Glen Park, riders of any surface and skill will find their perfect path. Need to refresh, relax and rehydrate after a long ride? The KRVT’s connector trail provides easy access to the restaurants and breweries that call downtown Kalamazoo home.

at an any of the nearly two dozen courses located within an hour of downtown Kalamazoo. The natural topography of the area and the quality of our greens lend themselves to some of the most beautiful courses in the state. Prices vary depending on your age, time of day, and whether you are walking or riding in a cart, but there’s most likely a course in your price range.

Discover Kalamazoo is the official destination marketing organization for Kalamazoo County. We feature a staff of sales, service and communication professionals whose mission is to be the inspiration that encourages visitors and residents to discover Kalamazoo.



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From the Top

Stulberg youth string competition captures national attention by



very May Kalamazoo hosts the Olympics of the string music world, but many local folks don’t even know it. “Every year we fight the battle of being the best-kept secret in Kalamazoo,” says Margaret Hamilton, executive director of the Stulberg International String Competition, an annual competition for young string musicians. Hamilton has been involved with the coordinating of the competition for 13 years,

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so if anyone knows the struggle, she does. “It’s ironic that we aren’t recognized in town because we’re known as a place where a young talent can take the first step towards greatness,” she says. Well, someone is paying attention. Christopher O’Riley, the host of National Public Radio’s From the Top, is coming to little ol’ Kalamazoo to produce a segment on the Stulberg competition on May 18. From the Top is a radio show that highlights budding classical musicians and will feature

both the semifinal and final performances of the Stulberg competition. While the judges are deliberating, O’Riley will interview participants. “Stulberg attracts some of the very best pre-collegiate musicians in the country,” says David Balsom, tour producer for From the Top, in an email to Encore. It “provides an environment that is nurturing and encouraging.” For 42 years, the Stulberg has been an international competition for young string musicians about to enter their college

Peter Halstead


Opposite page: The 12 Stulberg finalists of 2017, back row from left: Joseph Hsia, Zachary Brandon, William McGregor, Jeremy Tai, Alena Hove, Rachel Siu and Nathan Le. Front row, from left: Isabelle Durrenberger, Mei Hotta, Karisa Chiu, Qing Yu Chen, and Alice Lee. Above: Christopher O’Riley, host of NPR’s From the Top, will be recording the show at this year’s Stulberg competition. Right: 2013 Stulberg Gold Medalist Youjin Lee performs during competition.

years, meaning musicians 19 years old or younger as of Jan. 1. Students aiming to qualify for the competition submit video pieces for consideration, and a jury prunes the entrants down to 12 finalists. Those 12 then venture to Kalamazoo to compete to be among the six finalists, who then vie for the first-place prize, the Burdick-Thorne Gold Medal, which comes with a $6,000 award and the opportunity to perform with either the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra or the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra. The Stulberg competition grew out of the late Julius Stulberg’s legacy as a shaper of budding musical minds, says Hamilton. Stulberg, who was a Western Michigan University violin professor, conducted the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra for 31 years and the University Symphony for 28 years. This year’s competition drew 170 applicants, according to Hamilton. While those who become finalists are all highly proficient at their craft, says former competition judge Rachel Barton Pine, a three-time Stulberg contender and a worldclass concert violinist who debuted with the Chicago Symphony at just 10 years old, it is a musician’s spirit and personality that win medals. “These days everyone can play fast and in tune,” says Pine, one of the Stulberg judges in 2012. The Stulberg competition is like the Olympics, in that the technical level of performers increases every year, she says. “As a judge, I can think critically about the technicality of a piece, but ultimately

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See A Rising Star Stulberg International String Competition When: May 18 Where: Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU What: T he semifinals begin at 9 a.m.; the finals start at 7:30 p.m. How much: T he semifinals are free to the public; finals are $20, or $5 for students.

I come back to who I would want to hear again — the person who grabs you and whose artistry you remember. That’s what’s important in competition and in life.” Anthony Ross, a cellist for 48 years who grew up in Kalamazoo, was the 1979 Stulberg Competition winner and is returning to Kalamazoo to be a judge at this year’s competition. Ross, who has led the cello section of the Minnesota Orchestra since 1991, says the Stulberg is important in a young artist’s career because it gives that person a “lofty goal to shoot for in practice and craft.” Pine says the Stulberg has another advantage for the young competitors. “At a more advanced level like the Stulberg an applicant has the opportunity to be inspired by their peers, see how they stack up,” she says. “It’s important to hear other contenders, but they also meet friends and future colleagues.” That’s why From the Top was interested in featuring the Stulberg, says producer Balsom. “Many of our young guests have talked about the impact being part of major competitions has had on their development, and we wanted to delve a little deeper into that for our national radio audience,” he says. Both Ross and Pine say competitors win even if they lose. 18 | ENCORE MAY 2018

Top: 2013 Silver Medalist Ariel Horowitz, seen here during her Stulberg competition performance, has gone on to perform around the world. Bottom: Rachel Barton Pine, a two-time Stulberg medalist, has judged the competition in the past.

“It’s not about winning, though (that’s) great,” Ross says. “It’s really about the process and developing yourself as an artist.” Pine, as a Stulberg competitor, took bronze in 1990 and silver in 1986 but didn’t place the last time she competed, in 1991. “You can be someone who doesn’t win and still goes on to find life and a career in music, and I’m a good example,” she says. Of From the Top’s interest in the competition, Hamilton says she’s excited not only for the young contenders, but for the audience as well. “There’s a chance to hear your laughter and applause on the radio later, to be a part of the documentary process,” she says. The best part of being an audience member, though, is hearing the young musicians play, as Pine points out. “I feel there’s something really special happening in Kalamazoo for these young kids,” Pine says of the Stulberg. “These are the superstars of tomorrow, and you get to hear them first. “It is really thrilling.”

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Brian Powers 20 | ENCORE MAY 2018

Handbike Hotshot

Para athlete Nicolas Nieboer eyes national competition LISA MACKINDER

photography by



hen 19-year-old Nicolas Nieboer competed in his first handbike competition at Saginaw Valley State University last June, he had no idea he would qualify for the 2017 Junior Nationals Para Youth Championships, the oldest continuously held competitive sports event in North America for junior athletes with physical disabilities. “I didn’t know what to expect,” admits Nieboer, a Kalamazoo resident born with spina bifida. Nieboer is in a wheelchair and had never competed in a competitive sports event before this 10K road race. “I really didn’t know anything about it (the race) except that I was going to see where I placed and see how good of a racer I actually am,” he says. Nieboer came in first in his age group and third in the overall race of approximately 20 racers. Having ridden a recreational handbike since age 7, he thought prior to the competition, “Maybe I have a shot of doing well in this.” After flashing across the finish line he got his answer: a qualifying time for Junior Nationals of 24 minutes and 38 seconds — and that was his first time on a racing bike and without any training. Even though he opted not to compete in the 2017 national competition, the Saginaw race pushed Nieboer toward a goal of competing in the 2018 Junior Nationals, to be held July 2128 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It also inspired him toward an even bigger dream: the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. “That’s been my dream since I was a little kid,” Nieboer says, referring to the Paralympics. “I believe that I can make it. I just have to work really hard every day. I have to bike every day. I’ve got to work out every day. I’ve got to eat right. I know the things that I’ve got to do — I just have to stay consistent with it — and know that I’ll be able to get there.”

Brian Powers


Training regimen His training isn’t for the faint of heart. In the summer, Nieboer bikes 15-20 miles per day and lifts weights five to six times per week, concentrating on curls, military presses, bench presses and handstand pushups. For cardio exercise during the winter months, he does laps in his wheelchair. “You really have to have a lot of shoulder muscle,” Nieboer explains. He also eats a gluten-free diet, which has helped him shed 44 pounds in the last year. “I’m in the best shape of my life,” he says. In the Nieboer household, sports are a top interest. The entire Nieboer family “loves competition,” Nieboer says, leaning forward, his

Opposite page: Part of Nicolas Nieboer’s workout regimen includes doing pull-ups, wheelchair and all. Above: Nieboer will compete in the Junior Nationals Para Youth Championships in handbike racing.

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injuries. Though his mom, Joy, doesn’t participate in sports, she is immersed in them with the family, especially Michigan football games. Even Grace, his younger sister who leans toward creative endeavors, will watch football, Nieboer says. Left: Nieboer does handstand push-ups as part of his workout routine. Right: Nieboer’s friend Mike Shirripa spots Nieboer while he lifts weights at Kalamazoo Central High School’s gym.

Brian Powers

eyes lighting up and a huge grin spreading across his face. Nick’s dad, Steve, was an all-state running back for Kalamazoo Christian High School and went on to play for Western Michigan University until an injury took him out of the sport. Nieboer’s sister Josie played varsity soccer for Kalamazoo Christian for four years and was on Spring Arbor College’s soccer team before being sidelined by numerous

Sports have been a part of Nieboer's life since childhood, when he began playing wheelchair tennis at West Hills Athletic Club and wheelchair basketball at The Point. Nieboer says his dad taught him to throw a football, shoot hoops and something even greater: “He’s taught me to never give up on my dreams. And I want to live that out.”

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As Nieboer prepares to compete in the 2018 Junior Nationals competition, he notes the only obstacle on the path to achieving his goal is purchasing a racing bike. His current bike is 12 years old and designed for recreational use. Nieboer has his sights set on an Invacare Top End Force K Handcycle Kneeler, a model used by Cycliste Internationale Para-cycling Circuit champions Oz Sanchez and Tim DeVries. “I truly think the kneeler goes faster because you lean forward and you have more momentum that way,” Nieboer says. But racing bikes don’t come cheap, ranging from $7,000 to $10,000. Nieboer has launched a GoFundMe page to help raise the funds and has raised more than $4,500. Nieboer plans on concentrating on the 10K, but for fun a friend timed him in the 100 meters. The fastest time for the 100 meters on a handbike is 14.84 seconds, held by Matt Cameron at the Sydney Track Classic in 2012.

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Nieboer tried it on his own handbike, not a racing handbike like the one Cameron used. “I ended up getting 14.92,” Nieboer says. “I’m .08 seconds away from the world record.” As for those handstand pushups? Nieboer is up to 65. Someday, he says, he might try beating the world record for handstand pushups and the 100-meter handbike racing record as well. “Those are just side dreams,” Nieboer says, chuckling. Right now he is singularly focused on the Junior Nationals, which would take him one step closer to his ultimate dream: Tokyo 2020. After watching the Olympic Games throughout his life, and seeing the winner taking a victory lap and waving the United States flag, he says he always thinks, “Man, I want to be that person.” “That’s what gives me motivation every day. It’s just trying your best and doing everything you can to achieve your goal,” Nieboer says. “My motto is ‘Don't stop when you're tired; stop when you're done.’”

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Brian Powers 24 | ENCORE MAY 2018

What’s going on here?

Mary Hatch’s paintings tell stories and ask questions by



ainter Mary Hatch wears big red glasses and a slash of lipstick. She's slim as a magic wand, with which she shares many powers: to create novel experiences for herself and viewers, transform the environment, alter perception and, above all, entertain. If you haven't seen Hatch herself at an Art Hop or other exhibit opening, you've most likely seen her paintings at the Epic Center, the Oshtemo Branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts or the Richmond Center for the Arts. Her work also can be seen on book covers (like Deborah Percy’s Invisible Traffic), in area homes and, most recently, in Triggerfish, an online literary journal.

The red glasses that artist Mary Hatch, left, wears are nearly as memorable as her many paintings including Gentle Days, above.

As an artist, Hatch loves to paint the human figure and create intriguing optical narratives that invite viewers to fill in the backstory of the action (or inaction) occurring on the canvas. Her particular fascinations are ballet dancers, couples in reserved conflict, Alice in Wonderland, cats, brides, babies and birds. Hatch’s Kalamazoo studio is high up in her house, snug and brown like a nest. It’s here she “converts energy to matter.” “A painting is an enormous amount of energy,” she admits. Since 1975, Hatch has been applying her considerable energy to paintings that have won awards, been displayed internationally and been sold to art lovers. She recently became adept at printmaking. Her printer, an Epson Stylus Pro 9600, is the size of a small church organ and lives in her basement. “I love talking about my printer,” she says. “By the time Epson developed archival technology for inkjet printers I was already a painter — in love with color — which is simply gorgeous viewed on a computer screen. The monitor easily becomes a perfect 'matrix' for prints. Images can be created by all imaginable means and proofed and experimented with endlessly. Like paintings, they evolve over time, often years. Yet, comparing this to painting isn't quite accurate, since it has its own distinct visual personality — totally unique — unlike any other medium.” Hatch’s work is quietly subversive — it satisfies viewers with palette and form, but challenges them with content. For example, viewers first think her painting Gentle Days is a pleasant beach scene, but none of the adults are watching the children. Keep looking and a ghost chair appears. That can’t be good. And why is that man dressed so formally? “As someone once said, ‘Art asks questions. It doesn’t answer them,’” says Hatch. Her work is also subversive because at a time when many artists were throwing paint onto canvas or eschewing canvas altogether and when abstract expressionism and conceptual art were common, Hatch was perfecting her painting of human figures. Many of her figures are redheads, as she is, and while her work is realistic, it is not realism. Hatch instead describes it as “a study of a problem.” “For years I wasn’t happy with a painting unless the people looked angry,” Hatch says. “There is some kind of problem when I start painting, and I’m trying to solve that problem. I don’t start out with a picture in my head.” w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 25

Brian Powers

Clockwise from below: Mary Hatch at work in her studio; her paintings Alice Grows Up and Cat Walkers; detail of her brush strokes; War Games.

Hatch grew up in Battle Creek (as Mary Holmes) and began painting at 14 while attending Lakeview High School. However, after she discovered boys and quit doing her schoolwork, her parents sent her to Cranbrook Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, where she learned figure drawing with charcoal and never looked back. “Kingswood was a very strict boarding school with many rules I didn’t choose to follow," she says. Still, because “people love a rebel,” she was elected class president. Hatch then attended Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs, New York, for two years and married Van Hatch, a third-generation lawyer from Marshall, whom she’d met in Battle Creek. They moved to Kalamazoo, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Western Michigan University. She taught school in Parchment and Portage, but when she had the chance to be a full-time artist, she took it. Van and their children, Mary and David, are very supportive of Hatch’s work. Even when 26 | ENCORE MAY 2018

Encore’s Featured June Art Hop Artist Mary Hatch

To see more of Mary Hatch’s work, check out:

Who: V isual artist Mary Hatch and poet Elizabeth Kerlikowske What: Art Hop exhibition When: 5–8 p.m. June 1 Where: M ercantile Bank, 107 W. Michigan Ave. Hatch was not home and the children went exploring, David would not let his friends into her studio. Van also provided critiques of her work, albeit reluctantly. When Hatch needed another view or had lost her vision, he would oblige. “For a painter, it is a tough thing to lose your vision,” she says. “For example, I should have asked for support when I once put the thumbs on the wrong side of the hand in a painting.” Many Kalamazoo area residents have been models for Hatch’s work. When people sit

• triggerfishcriticalreview.com/interview-withartist-mary-hatch • tamarackartgallery.com (Click on "Artists" tab and then "Mary Hatch") • saatchiart.com (Search for “Mary Hatch”) • petterwinegallery.com (Click on “Gallery Art” tab at bottom of page and then on "Mary Hatch" to review revolving paintings) for a regular portrait, they can expect the result to resemble them. When they model, however, they cast their fates to the wind. Hatch has borrowed cats, babies and friends for models. Her painting Cat Walkers needed models to hold a cat on their heads, but a real cat wouldn’t cooperate, so friends posed instead with watering cans atop their heads. Hatch says she has to paint or she’s unhappy, since “painting is trying to figure out what I want to say.” For example, she’s currently at work on a painting that features

Brian Powers

mannequins in store windows, “and one of them is so self-assured,” she says. “I just hate her! And I started this six months ago!” She will not know what the painting says until it’s done, which is “when the painting looks like it has always been that way,” she says. "There is nothing else physically to add.”

Another rich aspect of Hatch’s work is the implication of certain objects: Taxis, for instance, are always a means of escape, however tiny. Planes are not for escaping but for being above the fray. In one of her most political paintings, War Games, babies sit on an American flag teething on the implements of war. Sometimes the objects in Hatch’s paintings form a sort of Greek chorus to the work’s main subjects — the way other people can see our weaknesses, but we can’t. In several of her paintings that include rabbits, the rabbits seem to be all-knowing observers, exactly what we think we are. Although Hatch has many paintings that share subject matter, “they are not series,” she says. "Each painting came separately unconnected by time. Each one helps develop the vocabulary of that area of my brain.” Hatch’s work is also subversive in its strong image and implied action that pretends not to be there. Hatch undermines viewers’ senses in the most subtle ways. In Dance Class, five dancers wait to be selected for one solo. On the wall is a shadow that matches no one in the room. Of course, it’s the shadow of someone who has already been eliminated. How else to show that process? The paintings are very smart. Hatch’s latest project, which she has been working on for the past two years, is just about to culminate in a book, Art Speaks, published by Celery City Books in Kalamazoo, an imprint of Friends of Poetry. A sample of the poetry and art in the book can be seen in this issue on Page 43. (Full disclosure: the author of this article is president of Friends of Poetry, and her poems appear in the book.) Mary Hatch is an artist of Kalamazoo and of the Midwest; her paintings are of us, the inhabitants of this place, our habits and barely visible terrors. A huge woodpecker works at a tree outside her kitchen window. “I used to marvel at his size too, but then he started eating my roof.” She looks past him at the clouds striped by saplings. “We are lucky to be artists,” she says. “I don’t know what (other) people do with their lives.”

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Peace at Play

Peace Pizzazz brings message of harmony to kids ROBERT M. WEIR

Ken Campbell



f you want peace in the future, you have to start by introducing the concept to children now, say organizers of the annual Peace Pizzazz family festival. “It’s better to teach children about the way of peace than to try to change the minds of young adults later,” says Deb Picard, secretary of the Kalamazoo Peace Pizzazz board. The festival will take place in Bronson Park May 19 and will feature music, dancing and art. At its core, Peace Pizzazz is a children’s peace program that introduces the idea of peace to kids through a variety of activities and learning experiences. “We’re helping youngsters recognize bullying so they can handle it in a peaceful way,” says Marilyn Eccles, one of Peace Pizzazz’s originators. “We help teach kids how to use the Golden Rule as a tool for conflict resolution,” adds the organization’s former board president, Jim Pero. 30 | ENCORE MAY 2018

“And self-responsibility about how to be kind to themselves so they can be kind to each other,” says Luana VanDam, another original Peace Pizzazz volunteer.

Sowing the seeds The first Peace Pizzazz festival occurred in 2009. “We wanted to teach children healthy ways to handle feelings in classrooms and on playgrounds,” says longtime local peace activist Lowey Dickason, who was the inspiration for Peace Pizzazz. “But we soon became focused on molding a child-centered culture of peace to emphasize empathy, compassion and ethical teachings found in all great religions.” The theme of the first festival was “Children Set the Table for Peace,” which was artistically conveyed via ceramic and paper dinnerware created by area children that included quotes from famous peace


more people could see what we were about. That helped us grow a lot.” The Peace Pizzazz group also obtained a proclamation from the Kalamazoo City Commission that designated May as “Peace Education Month in Kalamazoo,” a designation still in effect today. In its first five years, Peace Pizzazz received annual grants and donations that averaged $5,000. Initial donors included the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, Harold and Grace Upjohn Foundation, Kalamazoo Rotary Club, Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and many individual citizens. “This funding had a positive impact on more than 6,000 children through peace-promoting projects,” Dickason says. Peace Pizazz is now officially a nonprofit organization with a clearly stated mission: “To give the children of the Kalamazoo area the tools to create peace in their schools, homes and playgrounds by teaching them to employ the Golden Rule as a way of peaceful conflict resolution.”

Brian Powers

advocates as well as the children’s own statements. Kathy Murphy, then an art teacher at Winchell Elementary School (she is now retired), was a big influence on other teachers, encouraging them to become involved and create art projects for the Peace Pizzazz festival. “We started with no knowledge whatsoever,” says volunteer Peg Bozarth, “but we learned. We pulled ourselves through. We got permission to use Bronson Park. We got it set up. Six hundred people showed up, and we had fun.” “We had an attitude of ‘We can do this.’ I don’t think we ever decided that it couldn’t be done,” adds VanDam. Prior to the first festival, Dickason and Bozarth contacted every church and mosque in the community. They met with Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice and engaged individual teachers. “That first year the core were people who were already thinking toward peace,” says Bozarth. “The second year, after we had a success,

Making an impact Despite its initial success, Peace Pizzazz almost fizzled in 2016 as the originators began to wonder whether they had the energy and desire to continue. Then some enthusiastic young people began to take on greater responsibilities. One of them was Abby Pero, Jim Pero’s wife. “My aunt is Kathy Murphy,” she says. “She asked me to be the secretary; now I’m the treasurer. I work with at-risk youth at a camp and with foster kids at a shelter. I see what they’re growing up with. Peace Pizzazz is a good way to help them get what they might not be getting at home and to deal with conflict issues at school.” Ken Campbell, now the organization’s board president, says, “When I heard about Peace Pizzazz and the idea of peace being introduced to children at a young age, I decided it was something I should be involved in.” Julie Klick, who recently became Peace Pizzazz’s executive director, says, “We’re a fun group that’s a preventative resource for kids in our community.” Diversity and inclusivity have always been the main components of Peace Pizzazz. “The festival brings Muslims with Jews with Christians with African-Americans with Caucasians, all mixed together in one place,” VanDam says. "This is an incredible opportunity for people to work on solutions to bullying, to take responsibility for conflict resolution, to express commonality.” Van Dam recalls a children’s Jewish/ Muslim/Christian choir that performed at Opposite page: The annual Peace Pizzazz festival attracts young and old. This page: Peace Pizzazz board members meet at Studio Grill to plan the festival, clockwise from bottom left: Jacquis Robertson, Julie Kortidis, Deb Picard, Ken Campbell, Nathan Moore, Daphney Dotson, Julie Klick, Luana VanDam and Marilyn Eccles.

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Peace Mama connects with kids by


You could call her the official mascot of Peace Pizazz, but Peace Mama is more than that. The towering figure, which is a large puppet with human legs, presents a larger-than-life, loving, motherly persona to whom children are naturally drawn. “Kids are fascinated and come right up to her,” says Chris Orsolini, one of Peace Mama’s creators. “She gives them a loving pat on the head.” Orsolini says the idea for Peace Mama came about in 2003 when she and peace activists Martha Faketty, Dru Carter and Shelly Stull attended a peace march in Washington, D.C. “I had seen an article in Orion Afield magazine on 'Puppets and Politics,’” says Faketty. “At the march in D.C., we saw wonderful women dressed in costumes on stilts and puppets as well. They were so powerful.” “They grabbed attention and made a big impact, so we decided to make one for Kalamazoo,” adds Orsolini. With little experience in papier mache, Orsolini, Faketty, Carter and Stull formed the puppet’s head and shoulders, which they propped on a nine-foot-tall piece of stout bamboo. They added braided hair made of sheep’s wool. They made Peace Mama’s arms of fabric-covered rope and her hands of papier mache. Her clothing is a long, flowing robe, which covers the head and

torso of the human carrying her. For jewelry, she wears a large peace symbol necklace. “She has a benevolent, motherly appearance, a nice, gentle look, with a subtle smile,” Orsolini says. “She’s sort of a pinky brown and her eyes are of a purple color, because we didn’t want to make her white or any other ethnicity. We made her to be a universal symbol of peace and love.” Three puppeteers are required to present Peace Mama: one to carry the primary prop under her robe and two to manipulate two smaller pieces of bamboo that animate her hands. They demonstrate her dexterity by having her rub her tummy while simultaneously patting the top of her head. Peace Mama made her initial appearance at a peace vigil in early 2003 and then her formal debut at a Code Pink disarmament ceremony on July 26 of that year. She has since been a featured guest at area festivals and in Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Do-Dah parades. At the Peace Pizzazz festival, she leads a children’s parade. With not much prompting, she will stop along the parade route, turn to face one curbside crowd or the other, place her hands in front of her chest in a prayerful position and bow from the waist, bestowing motherly peace and compassion on all.

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Samples of the books that the Peace Pizzazz will provide to elementary classrooms across the city.

one Peace Pizzazz festival. “As I looked at the audience, I saw all those people smiling and taking pictures of their kids. The diversity was as beautiful offstage as it was onstage.”

By the book The Peace Pizzazz festival is just one way the group imparts its message of peace; it also does so through book donations. Each year, Peace Pizzazz purchases up to four titles with themes of peace, conflict resolution and the Golden Rule to donate to each elementary school classroom in Kalamazoo Public Schools that participates in Peace Pizzazz. Books are also given to local religious schools, private schools and home-schoolers. “In the second year, we brought in the books,” says Bozarth, who notes that it was partly because Superintendent Rice was an enthusiastic supporter who “wanted us to bring in some aspect of learning.” Among the more notable selections have been Desmond and the Very Mean Word, by Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu; I Am Malala, by Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai; What Does Peace Look Like? by Vladimir Radunsky; Seeds of Change, by Jen Cullerton Johnson; and Peace Baby, by Linda Ashman. This year, the organization will distribute Can You Say Peace? by Karen Katz; Peace Begins with You, by Katherine Scholes; Most People, by Michael Leanna; and Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts About Peace, by Anna Grossnickle Hines. Organizers admit it’s hard to quantify the extent of Peace Pizzazz’s impact. Annual attendance at the May festival is 500 to 600 people, but dozens of teachers use the donated books as the foundation for peace projects in their classrooms.

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“Consider Parkwood-Upjohn Elementary School,” says Picard. “We expect the books will reach 550 students there.” “And that’s just one school,” Campbell interjects. “We involve 20-some schools. That’s 10,000-plus families.” The ripples of Peace Pizzazz have also extended beyond Kalamazoo. In recent months, thanks to a new website design by Campbell, Peace Pizzazz is becoming known in Battle Creek and Grand Rapids. “Our message is starting to get out there and

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grow. We hope it continues to expand,” says Jim Pero. VanDam gives much credit to the young adults who have been involved in recent years. “They are more technologically sound. Last year and the year before, I found classroom activities that relate to the books we donated, and Ken (Campbell) put those activities on the website,” she says. In addition to perennial donation baskets at the festival, the group is also expanding its fundraising opportunities through the website, special birthday donations on Facebook, and local musicians who give time and talent to perform at local cafés, where a percentage of the money spent by patrons goes to Peace Pizzazz. “The Peace Pizzazz festival is for the children,” says Campbell, “but our ultimate goal is to make sure the children and their teachers have the peace books and the peace activities that go with them. That’s the truly long-lasting part of our purpose.”


Music with a Message

Requiem about Ukrainian famine hits home for local conductor by



or Kalamazoo Philharmonia conductor Andrew Koehler, when the orchestra and the Bach Festival Chorus present the North American premiere of “Requiem for Those Who Died of Famine,” it will be more than a performance — it will be personal. In the early 1930s in Ukraine, one of Koehler’s maternal great-grandfathers was starving, so he ate a few kernels of wheat from what had been his own farm. As a result, he was put in jail by Soviet authorities and, as far as the family knows, ended up dying there. The farm had been taken by the Soviet state during the collectivization process that followed the Russian Revolution, Koehler says, and his great-grandfather and other Ukrainian farmers were told: “The farm is no longer yours. It all goes to the state, and the state determines what you will get. If you don’t meet the (production) quota, you won’t get anything.” In 1932, the Soviets thought Ukrainians were intentionally sabotaging the harvest and brutally punished them for it, exporting grain even as people starved to death, Koehler recounts. “They were opening cupboards, looking for grain anywhere,” he says. “You could be shot on sight (for keeping any of the harvest) or sent to prisons. The people tried to get to the cities because the cities had more food than the villages. They (the Soviets) stopped the trains so people couldn’t go to the cities. There were reports of cannibalism and other horrors.” Millions of Ukrainian people died of starvation in the Soviet-induced famine of 1932 and 1933 that came to be known as the Holodomor, meaning “extermination by hunger.” Other Ukrainians died from other forms of Soviet aggression. Many of Koehler’s ancestors were among those who died. Like the farmer on his Andrew Koehler will conduct the Kalamazoo Philharmonia when it performs “Requiem for Those Who Died of Famine” with the Bach Festival Chorus in Chicago and Kalamazoo.

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Andrew Koehler with pictures of his grandparents who emigrated from the Ukraine to the U.S. following the Holodomor there.

mother’s side, a paternal great-grandfather was also jailed by Soviet authorities and never heard from again, says Koehler. Now, more than 80 years later, Koehler will shine a spotlight on the Holodomor in two performances by the Kalamazoo Philharmonia and the Bach Festival Chorus. They will perform the North American premiere of “Requiem for Those Who Died of Famine” May 19 in Chicago, and on June 2 they will present the requiem to Kalamazoo in a Bach Festival performance at Chenery Auditorium. The requiem was written in 1992 by Ukrainian composer Yevhen Stankovych and incorporates the words of Ukrainian poet Dmytro Pavlychko. “It’s remarkable that it was created the year after the Soviet Union dissolved,” Koehler says, noting that the piece includes religious themes and “names the crimes that were committed.” “None of that would have been possible even a few years before,” Koehler says, because a totalitarian state would not have allowed that freedom of expression. Musically, “there’s a pretty fascinating range of idioms at work in the requiem,” says Koehler, an associate professor of music at Kalamazoo College. It mixes canonical classical themes with orthodox religious chants, veering between the secular and the sacred. It has passages of “violence and roughness,” but also passages of “beautifully austere simplicity.” It also includes what are called aleatoric passages, where the notes are not written out and the musicians play at will. “This is an assertion of the individual against the hierarchical leader,” Koehler says. The Holodomor, which occurred under Stalin’s rule, is not as widely known a tragedy as the Holocaust, but in some ways it bears a resemblance to the Holocaust, Koehler says. “It was carried out with such intentionality, such cruelty.”

(continued on page 38)

Resonating Themes

Two choral pieces share themes of power abuse When Bach Festival Chorus member Rick Van Enk heard that the chorus would be singing a requiem for those who died in the Soviet-induced famine in Ukraine in the 1930s, he thought of another piece of music that might go well on the same program. He suggested “Belshazzar’s Feast” to the chorus’s conductor, Chris Ludwa, and Ludwa passed the suggestion on to Kalamazoo Philharmonia conductor Andrew Koehler, since the two groups would be performing together June 2. “Belshazzar’s Feast” will open the concert. The piece, composed by William Walton with biblical text selected by Osbert Stillwell, is based on a story in which Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, uses the temple goblets of the Jews, who were then slaves in Babylon, to drink wine at a big banquet with his nobles, wives and concubines. During the banquet, the fingers of a human hand appear and write on the wall that God will bring Belshazzar’s reign to an end. Belshazzar is killed that night, and his kingdom is taken over by the Medes. Musically, “Belshazzar’s Feast” is quite different from “Requiem for Those Who Died of Famine” but the themes are similar, say both 36 | ENCORE MAY 2018

Koehler and Van Enk. “The major connection is that these are both tales of historic injustices,” Koehler says. Both deal with power and powerlessness, with food being used as a tool of power — some are allowed to enjoy it while others are denied it, he says. VanEnk sees resonances to contemporary events in both the requiem and “Belshazzar’s Feast.” Van Enk says he suggested “Belshazzar’s Feast,” “as a way to call attention to the precedent of a blasphemous national leader and what happened to him when he went too far.” Van Enk says the concert as a whole “shows that choral music can have an important role in society beyond just aesthetics. The power of this music is in the social commentary.” A portion of the concert proceeds will go to the Foods Resource Bank, which raises funds to support developing-world farm families and communities in growing their own food, earning incomes, and achieving sustainable food security.


Hunger is theme of student art exhibit Hunger in the Kalamazoo community and other parts of the world will be the theme of a student exhibit at the Kalamazoo Public Library planned in connection with the Bach Festival’s “Feast or Famine” concert. The exhibit will feature artwork by Kalamazoo Public Schools students and Ukrainian students. The students from Konotop, Ukraine, were inspired by their education about the 1930s Soviet-induced famine in Ukraine known as the Holodomor, which is also the subject of a requiem in the “Feast or Famine” concert. The Ukrainian artwork is on loan from the private collection of Nicholas Kotcherha, president of the

Four of the works of art inspired by the Holodomor created by students in the Ukraine that will be featured with works by Kalamazoo Public Schools students in a joint June 1 Art Hop exhibit.

Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation-USA Inc., according to Kalamazoo Philharmonia conductor Andrew Koehler. Beth McCann, deputy director of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, said she was very moved by seeing the work of the Ukrainian children. “I remember finding it startling, yet humbling, the way that children were able to convey their feelings,” she says. Kalamazoo Central High School art teacher Kellen Deau is organizing the local portion of the exhibit.

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ARTS ENCORE Koehler (continued from page 36)

Estimates of the number of people who died in the Holodomor vary widely, from 3 million to 14 million. And even though those who died in the Holodomor were overwhelmingly ethnic Ukrainians, there’s some debate, he explains, as to whether the Holodomor can be classified as a genocide, since Stalin also killed or mistreated people from other groups. Koehler’s mother’s parents fled from Ukraine after someone tipped them off that authorities were planning to seize them and most likely execute them. His father’s parents fled to Austria from Ukraine, and, despite having lost many relatives to starvation, Koehler’s grandmother wanted to return to their homeland at some point, but his grandfather said they would be shot on sight. “I think the strife over that led to their divorce,” Koehler says. His grandfather stayed in Austria, but his grandmother immigrated to the U.S. Koehler, who grew up in Philadelphia, didn’t meet his paternal grandfather until he was in fourth grade. “He called my father and said, ‘I’m your father, and I’d like to talk to you.’ He died about 10 years after that.” Koehler says he didn’t learn a lot about the Holodomor when he was growing up. As an adult, though, Koehler has been very interested in Ukrainian history and culture. He has traveled to Ukraine several times and conducted there. When he lived in Chicago

Concert Notes What: “Feast or Famine,” a Kalamazoo Bach Festival concert with performances of “Requiem for Those Who Died of Famine” and “Belshazzar’s Feast” Who: T he Kalamazoo Philharmonia and the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus When: 8 p.m. June 2 Where: C henery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave. How much: $15-$29, or $5 for students with ID. Website: kalamazoobachfestival.org

Related Events Lectures: On the history of the Holodomor and on the contemporary Ukrainian composer who wrote the requiem, 5:30 p.m. June 1, Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St.; 7 p.m. June 2, Chenery Auditorium. Chicago performance of the requiem: 7 p.m. May 19, Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Drive, harristheaterchicago.org.

before moving to Kalamazoo 11 years ago, he served briefly on the board of the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. For the upcoming requiem performances, he transliterated the Ukrainian text into Latin letters. “It was a lot of work but it was personally meaningful and rewarding for me to do that,” he says. Now that the 38-year-old Koehler has a son, born in January, he will talk with him about his Ukrainian heritage as he grows up and maybe even teach him the language. His own parents were young when they came to the U.S. — his mother was 5 and his father 12 — and “they felt trapped between two worlds,” he says. “My parents wanted to distance themselves to some extent (from Ukraine), but I, as the next generation, want to come back and reconnect,” Koehler says. Even so, his parents plan to attend the Chicago performance of “Requiem for Those Who Died of Famine.” Neither they nor Koehler have forgotten what their ancestors endured. “She’d hate for me to say this, but my mother is the kind of person who will get a spatula to make sure the last remnants of a jar are cleaned out and then use her finger to clean the spatula,” Koehler says. “I’m absolutely that person now. If something in the fridge is on the verge (of spoiling), I try to use it. And if I make someone dinner and they don’t eat all of it, it really bothers me.“

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PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Plays Ananse and His Spider Tales — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. May 12, First Baptist Church, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 342-5059. Intimate Apparel — A play about race, love and dreams, 7:30 p.m. May 17–19, 2 p.m. May 20, Balch Playhouse, 129 Thompson St., 337-7333. Harriet the Spy — Civic Youth Theatre play about an 11-year-old writer who is a spy, 7:30 p.m. May 18 & 25, 1 & 4 p.m. May 19 & 26, 2 p.m. May 20, 9:30 a.m. May 23 & 24, noon May 23 & 24, Parish Theatre, 405 W. Lovell St., 343-1313. The Emperor's New Clothes — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. May 26, First Baptist Church, 342-5059. Musicals Liberace — A tribute to a performer known for his charm, glitz and glamour, 7:30 p.m. May 3 & 10, 8 p.m. May 4, 5, 11 & 12, 2 p.m. May 6 & 13, Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, 343-2727. Billy Elliot: The Musical — A young boy's struggle to achieve his dreams during the 1984 miners’ strike in northern England, 7:30 p.m. May 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 & 19, 2 p.m. May 6, 13 & 20, Civic Theatre, 329 S. Park St., 343-1313. Radio Gals — A retired music teacher in the 1920s begins broadcasting via radio station WGAL, 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., May 4–26, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328. MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists Sir Mix-A-Lot — Grammy Award-winning rap artist, 8:30 p.m. May 2, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. One ... The Only Tribute to Metallica — Heavy metal, rock band, 8:30 p.m. May 3, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Kalamusic — Americana, blues and folk group, 6 p.m. May 4, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 N. Rose St., 772-3370. Black Violin — String duo plays a blend of classical, hip-hop, R&B and rock, 8 p.m. May 4, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. Glen Phillips — Folk, acoustic and pop singer/ songwriter, 8:30 p.m. May 4, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Dacia Bridges Presents — The singer/songwriter performs with The Dacia Bridges Project, 7–9 p.m. May 5, Paw Paw Playhouse, 404 E. Michigan Ave., Paw Paw, 913-4153. The Mersey Beatles: Four Lads from Liverpool — Beatles tribute band, 7:30 p.m. May 5, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Zion Lion — Kalamazoo reggae band, 9 p.m. May 5, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. David Virelles Nosotros — Cuban-born pianist/ composer, 7 p.m. May 10, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332.

Vandalay, Young Pioneer & Valley Girl — Michigan-based rock and alternative rock bands, 8 p.m. May 11, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Big Boss Band — Original roots rock and blues music, 7–9:30 p.m. May 12, Paw Paw Playhouse, 913-4153. BoneHawk — Kalamazoo-based hard rock band, 9 p.m. May 12, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Leftover Salmon — Americana bluegrass band, 8 p.m. May 16, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Justin Townes Earle — Americana, country, indie singer/songwriter, 8 p.m. May 17, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. John Pizzarelli — Jazz guitarist and singer, 7 p.m. May 18, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Steppin’ in It — Lansing-based Americana folk group, 8:30 p.m. May 19, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Mipso — Americana, bluegrass, folk quartet, 9 p.m. May 20, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. The Marcus King Band — R&B, soul and Americana band performs with vocalist Erin Coburn, 7:30 p.m. May 24, State Theatre, 345-6500. The Cadillac Three — Nashville-based country rock trio, 8:30 p.m. May 24, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Los Lobos — Mexican-American rock band, 8:30 p.m. May 25, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Phillip Phillips — Folk, rock and soul singer/ songwriter and American Idol winner, 8:30 p.m. May 31, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More Gilmore International Keyboard Festival — Multiple concerts featuring world-class musicians, through May 12, various area locations, 342-1166; see gilmore.org for schedule. Festival of Praise: Texture of a Man — A multimedia show including comedy, drama and music, 7:30 p.m. May 3, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Academy Street Winds Concert — "Out of the Blue," 8 p.m. May 11, Dalton Theater, Kalamazoo College, 337-7070. Jazz Band Concert — 8 p.m. May 12, Dalton Theatre, Kalamazoo College, 337-7070. 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. Beethoven & Prokofiev — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performs Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 and Beethoven's Triple Concerto, featuring the Eroica Trio, 8 p.m. May 19, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 349-7759. Kalamazoo Ringers Spring Concert — Community handbell choir, 4 p.m. May 20, Grace Harbor Church, 811 Gorham Lane, kalamazooringers.org. Disney in Concert: The Jungle Book — The KSO performs the music of the Disney classic film, 3 p.m. May 26, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 349-7759. KSO Burdick-Thorne String Quartet — KSO members perform music by Philip Glass, noon May 30, Atrium Lobby, Borgess Medical Center, 1521 Gull Road, 349-7759.

DANCE Ballet Arts School of Dance Recital — 2 & 7 p.m. May 19, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 345-3433. COMEDY Jeanne Robertson — This motivational speaker shares her humorous observations about life, 8 p.m. May 5, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. Michael Blackson — The "African King of Comedy," with comedians Mike Bonner, Kenny Howell and Coco, 8 p.m. May 12, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Crawlspace Eviction Improv Comedy: Life — Improv and sketch comedy show inspired by the board game Life, 8 p.m. May 18 & 19, Jolliffe Theatre, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 599-7390. DeAnne Smith — OutFront Kalamazoo event featuring award-winning comedian and writer, 8 p.m. May 19, State Theatre, 345-6500. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 KIA Exhibits Young Artists of Kalamazoo County — Creative, colorful, whimsical art by students in grades K–8, through May 6. My Hero! Contemporary Art & Superhero Action — Superhero and pop idol imagery, through May 13. Passion on Paper: Masterly Prints from the KIA Collection — Including works by ToulouseLautrec, Mary Cassatt, Howard Hodgkin, Richard Anuskiewicz, Luis Jimenez and Vija Calmins, through July 15. Vibrant Bounty: Chinese Folk Art from the Shaanxi Region — Folk paintings and artifacts of rural China, through Aug. 12. High School Area Show — Artwork by high school students in the region, May 18–June 10. West Michigan Area Show 2017 — Works of artists from 14 Michigan counties, May 26–Sept. 2. KIA Events ARTbreak — Programs about art, artists and exhibitions: Living Without a Cape, performance by Wellspring dancer Dasan Mitchell, May 1; My Hero!, artist Mark Newport discusses his work, May 8; America's Favorite Artist, Norman Rockwell Revisited, Patrick Norris reviews the artist's life, May 15; Art is the Permanent Revolution, video about printmaking and the impact of master printmakers, May 22 & 29; sessions begin at noon. Sunday Public Tours — Docent-led tours: Young Artists of Kalamazoo County, May 6; My Hero!, May 13; Vibrant Bounty: Chinese Folk Art from the Shaanxi Region, May 20; TBA in the KIA Collection, May 27; all tours begin at 2 p.m. Unreeled: Film at the KIA — A screening of Somewhere West, by Michigan filmmaker David Marek, 6:30 p.m. May 10, KIA Auditorium. Remember Kirk Newman — A time to remember the late artist, with reception following, 2–4 p.m. May 11, KIA Auditorium. Book Discussion: Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art — Pat Norris leads a discussion of this true story by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo, 2 p.m. May 16, KIA Library. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 39

EVENTS ENCORE Richmond Center for Visual Arts Western Michigan University, 387-2436 17 Days (Volume 10) — One artist's video work per day is played on 50-inch plasma screens, through May 1, Atrium Gallery. Black White Color Life — Exhibition of works by Peter Plagens and Laurie Fendrich, through May 20, Netzorg and Kerr Gallery. Richard de Peaux — Drawings and paintings by retiring WMU Professor de Peaux, through May 30, Monroe-Brown Gallery. Rita Grendze: Signs for Those Seeking Light — Cast-off books that have been cut by hand, mounted and suspended give voice to writing as a powerful visual language, through Dec. 16, Atrium Gallery. Other Venues Westminster Art Festival: Honoring H.O.M.E.S. — Juried exhibit on an environmental theme, through May 20, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1515 Helen Ave., Portage, westminsterartfestival.org. Battle of the Glassblowers 2018 — Glass artists compete for prizes, 3–10 p.m. May 3, noon–10 p.m. May 4; Hot Glass on Tap fundraiser, 7–10 p.m. May 5, Glass Art Kalamazoo, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 100, 552-9802. Art Hop — Art at locations in Kalamazoo, 5–8 p.m. May 4, 342-5059. Disfigured Reasons — Oil paintings by Gabriele McKenzie, 5–8 p.m. May 4, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 N. Rose St., 772-3370.

Solo Gallery: Hannah Owens — Colored pencil, digital and pastel art, May 7–June 29, Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, 329-4544. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library First Saturday @ KPL — Stories, activities and door prizes for families, 2 p.m. May 5, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 342-9837. Animals and Society Book Club — Vegan Kalamazoo's monthly book discussion, 7 p.m. May 10, Central Library Boardroom, 342-9837. Red Terror in Kalamazoo: An Incident in the Shakespeare Strike of 1948 — Local historian Tom Dietz recounts the story of the Shakespeare Co. workers' strike, 7 p.m. May 10, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 342-9837. A Novel Idea Book Club — Discussion of The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, 6:30 p.m. May 21, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St., 553-7980. Michigan, My Michigan: A History of This State — From Territory to Statehood — Lynn Houghton discusses Michigan's growth and development from its early beginnings to recent years, 7 p.m. May 21, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 342-9837. Reading Race Book Group — Discussion of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, by Heidi Durrow, 6:30 p.m. May 22, Alma Powell Branch, 1000 W. Paterson St., 553-7960.

REGISTER FOR COURSES AND TRIPS Registration begins May 8 for members and May 22 for non-members. View selections and register online at wmich.edu/olli or call (269) 387-4200.

Making a Positive Impact


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Urban Fiction Book Group — Discussion of It's a Thin Line, by Kimberla Lawson Roby, 6 p.m. May 29, Alma Powell Branch, 553-7960. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747 Yum's the Word: Cook with La Piñata — Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a Mexican cooking demonstration, 6:30 p.m. May 2. Parchment Book Group: Author Visit — Discussion of The Lake and the Lost Girl, with author Jacquelyn Vincenta, 6:30 p.m. May 7. Front Page: Donuts & Discussion — Discussion with recruiters from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines about their jobs and experiences, 10:30 a.m. May 19. Medieval Faire — Demonstrations of weaving, blacksmithing, calligraphy, music and armored combat, 1–4 p.m. May 19. Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544 Take a Hike: Walking in Nature — Experts from Lee's Adventure Sports explain equipment, places to hike and safety tips, 2–4 p.m. May 5. Sci Fi/Fantasy Discussion: Summer Movie Preview — Previews and discussion of upcoming movies, 7 p.m. May 7. International Mystery Book Group — Discussion of The Devotion of Suspect X, by Keigo Higashino, 7 p.m. May 10. A Queen of Thieves: Hacking Heroines in Crossover Fiction — Portage author Stacey Filak reads from her new novel, The Queen Underneath, and discusses women in fantasy fiction, 2 p.m. May 12. Open for Discussion — Discussion of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson, 10:30 a.m. May 15. Other Venues Meet Michigan Author Jack Lessenberry — Meet the author and journalist, 7 p.m. May 8, First Presbyterian Church, 8047 Church St., Richland, 629-9085. MUSEUMS Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089 First Cruise-in of the Season — Wednesday Night Cruise-ins begin with collector cars and oldies music, 5–8 p.m. May 2. Donald Gilmore Pre-1942 Showcase Driving Tour & Show — Pre-1942 vehicles driving tour, May 18, and show, May 19; both events 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990 Habitat Earth — An award-winning film that journeys through vast networks of life on Earth, 3 p.m. Sun., Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat., through June 15, Planetarium. Kalamazoo A–Z — Rarely seen items from the museum's collection, through Aug. 26. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon — The band's eighth album set to visuals, 7 p.m. May 4 & 4 p.m. Sat., through June 9, Planetarium.

IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System — This show follows NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer and its mission, 4 p.m. Sun., May 6–June 10. Cats & Dogs — Entertaining and interactive environments that help us understand life as a cat or dog, May 16–Sept. 9. NATURE Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574 Birding with the Stars — A guided morning hike to watch for spring migrants and to learn techniques for better birding, 8–9:30 a.m. May 1, 8 & 15. Birding the Kleinstuck Preserve — Join KNC research staff as they survey for spring migratory birds, 8 a.m. May 2, 9, 16 & 23. DeLano Wildflowers — Learn to identify spring wildflowers, 5:30 p.m. May 3. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510 Birds and Coffee Walk — A walk to view birds of the season, 9 a.m. May 9. Mother's Day at KBS — Moms get in free with families, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. May 13. Other Venues Weekly Birding Walks on the Kal-Haven Trail — Enjoy the sights and sounds on a 5-mile walk, 8–11 a.m. May 1, 8, 15 & 22, starting at the trailhead on North 10th Street between G and H avenues, 375-7210. Hatchery Tours — Discover how the DNR raises fish to stock Michigan's lakes and rivers, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat. & Sun., May 5–27, Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, 34270 County Road 652, Mattawan, 663-2876. Pilgrim Haven Grand Opening — Enjoy this natural area and barrier-free beach path, 3:30–4:30 p.m. May 12, Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, 17540 77th St., South Haven, 324-1600; registration requested. Mother's Day Tike Hike — Enjoy a hike through nature, 3:30 p.m. May 13, Wolf Tree Nature Trails, 8829 West KL Ave., 324-1600; registration requested. Hike Our Preserves (HOP) Kick-off Event — Take a group hike on Wolf Tree Nature Trails, 4–5:30 p.m. May 19, 8829 W. KL Ave., 324-1600; registration requested. MISCELLANEOUS Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour — An interactive live concert for the family, with Disney Junior characters, 6 p.m. May 2, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Kalamazoo Rock, Gem, Jewelry, Fossil & Mineral Show — Michigan Mineral Masterpieces: dealers, games, presentations and hands-on areas, 4–8 p.m. May 4, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. May 5, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. May 6, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 979-3348. Welcome to Kalamazoo — Learn about Kalamazoo, past and present, through a multimedia performance, 5:30 p.m. May 4, Jolliffe Theatre, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, www.NewToKalamazoo.com.



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1204 Bank St. MAY – NOV Saturday: 7AM – 2PM JUN – OCT Tuesday: 8AM – 1PM Thursday: 3PM – 7PM

Movies in the Park: Despicable Me 3 — 9 p.m. May 4, Grain Elevator, Celery Flats Historical Area, 7328 Garden Lane, Portage, 329-4522. Humane Society Dog Walk & K-9 Festival 7900 S Westnedge Ave. — Walking trails, dog contests, kids' area and MAY – OCT entertainment, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. May 5, Prairie Sunday: 10AM – 2PM View County Park, 899 East U Ave., Vicksburg, kazoohumane.org/dogwalk Spring Arts & Crafts Show — 9 a.m.–4 p.m. May Night 1204 Bank St. 5, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. May 6, Wings Event Center, 3600 Market JUN – SEP Vanrick Drive, 345-1125. Every 3rd Thursday: 5PM – 10PM PFCmarkets.com | (269) 342–5686 | Markets proudly operated by Haunted History of Kalamazoo Tour — Learn about Kalamazoo history mixed with the paranormal, 8–10 p.m. May 5, Bronson Park, 220-9496. 2018 Bach Kalamazoo Marathon & Borgess Run for the Festival Week Health of It — Full and half marathon, 10K and 5K Fri June 1 runs, 5K walk, starting times vary, May 6, Borgess 2017 2018 Sat June 9 Nazareth Campus, 3427 Gull Road, 345-1913. Chris Ludwa, Music Director Bike the Zoo — A community bike ride for all ages, The Dave Sharps Feast ot Famine Festival Finale 5:30 p.m. May 7, PFC Natural Grocery & Deli, 507 World Quartet June 2, 8:00 pm The Merling Trio Harrison St., 568-6870. June 6, 7:30 pm Chenery Auditorium June 9, 7:30 pm Dalton Theater, 2018 TrailBlazer — A spring bike ride on the KalBelshazzar’s Feast, Walton Dalton Theater, Haven Trail, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. May 12, with starting K-College for Died K-College ROTCERRequiem ID CISUM ,W ADThose UL SIRHWho C points at the trailheads on North 10th Street, of Famine, Stankovych NOSAES TRECNOC 8102-7102 Baroque Meets Celtic in Bloomingdale or in South Haven, 383-8778; Bach Festival Chorus, June 8, 7:30 pm Chris Ludwa, conductor registration at snapregistration.com/kalhaven. Kalamazoo Philharmonia, Recital Hall, For tickets and full details Andrew Koehler, conductor Mother's Day Market & Craft Show — Crafts, Stefan Szkafarowsky, barritone on these events and more: K-College Jessica Louise Coe, soprano local artists, vintage & home décor, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. (269)337-7407 May 12, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South, KalamazooBachFestival.org 903-5820. Touch-A-Truck — Hands-on exploration of fire trucks, police cars and heavy machinery, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. May 12, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, East Lawn, 815-0034. Master Gardener Plant Sale — Plants of all types UPCOMING and handcrafted garden gifts, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. May SHOWS 18, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. May 19, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South, 383-8815. Antique Toy Show — Antique, vintage and April 28 collectible toys, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. May 19, Kalamazoo DAN TURNER, County Expo Center, 262-366-1314. HOLLYWOOD DETECTIVE: Family Fishing Fair — Activities and instruction THE DEPARTED MAN’S GUILT on fishing, environmental conservation and safety, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. May 19, Ramona Park, 8600 S. CHRIS LUDAW, MUSIC DIRECTOR Before the Internet. Before Television. May 12 Sprinkle Road, 329-4522. ANANSE andCONCERT SEASON 2017-2018 Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — 10 HIS SPIDER TALES a.m.–3 p.m. May 19, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 779-9851. May 26 All Ears Theatre presents 11 FREE shows in the Kalamazoo Dance — Monthly ballroom dancing EMPEROR’S style of radio's golden age (comedies and THE at 8 p.m. May 19, with waltz lesson at 7 p.m., NEW CLOTHES dramas) each season. Actors, musicians and The Point Community Center, 2595 N. 10th St., 344-5752. sound effects artists perform on stage before a West Michigan Apple Blossom Cluster Dog live audience! Show — AKC dog show featuring all-breed show, obedience trials and rally trials, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. May 6:00 pm @ the First Baptist Church ( 315 W. MICHIGAN AVE., KALAMAZOO ) 24 & 25, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. May 26–28, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 616-706-2314. For full season schedule, visit: Garden Brothers Circus — Motorcycle Madness, KalamazooArts.org Chinese acrobats, human slingshot, aerialists and clowns, 7:30 p.m. May 24, Wings Event Center, 345-1125. Funding provided by


There was Radio.

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Art Speaks

Poet and painter collaborate on new book Many people have noted to poet Elizabeth Kerlikowske that she has the same sort of “skewed sense of humor” as painter and fellow Kalamazoo resident Mary Hatch. So, when they met at a party several years ago, Kerlikowske proposed an artistic partnership involving poems and paintings. The result of that partnership, Art Speaks, a book featuring Hatch’s art and Kerlikowske’s writing inspired by those works, will be published this month by Celery City Books.

The paintings featured in the book span nearly 40 years of Hatch’s artistic life. Kerlikowske says it took two years for the pair to marry art and poetry together. Art Speaks, priced at $30, will be available at Kazoo Books and at maryhatch.com. It will also be for sale at Kalamazoo’s June Art Hop (see Page 26 for details).

Flying Lessons I know an immodest duck roosts on my head But, admit it, you can’t believe your eyes. Her webbed feet wrap my skull in a way I can only describe as artichoke. You pretend That’s a comfort. She always accompanies me in public, sez me. Her plumage bends, light to reflect my mood, and my plumage, like a recessive gene, picks up the nuance and recapitulates today’s theme of renewal. Keep trying to ignore my duck, who cocks her head and looks at you because you can’t imagine her, she’s right in front of you, oh, You are the rut ruts were named after, but my duck is fantastic and green as if springnew, and I am too. — Elizabeth Kerlikowske

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INDEX TO ADVERTISERS All Ears Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Arborist Services of Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4


Betzler Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Bravo! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Bronson Health Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The Civic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Clear Ridge Wealth Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Constance Brown Hearing Centers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Cosmo’s Cucina & O’Duffy’s Pub . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Dave’s Glass Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 DeMent and Marquardt, PLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 DeNooyer Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6


DeVisser Landscape Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Fence & Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19


First National Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Food Dance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Four Roses Café . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Gilmore Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Halls Closets & More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13


Hettinger & Hettinger, PC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Home Builders Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Kalamazoo Bach Festival . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Kalamazoo Community Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Kalamazoo Institute of Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Keyser Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

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44 | ENCORE MAY 2018

BACK STORY (continued from page 46)

Have you always been a runner? I was a runner in high school and college — a sprinter and a long jumper, actually. I ran on scholarship at Liberty University through my sophomore year. After that I didn’t run regularly at all. I would exercise and work out and stay healthy and fit, but I wasn’t a runner. I had my three kids during that time and went to grad school, so I was busy with family and getting my career started. In 2002, though, I started running to lose the baby weight after my third child was born. After six weeks, I entered a 5K and won my age group and thought, “Maybe this is something I could be good at.” You know, I enjoyed it and had fun because there was a lot of camaraderie with the other runners.

How did you become involved with Kalamazoo Area Runners? I joined Summer Safari, a half-marathon and marathon training program that’s a partnership of Gazelle Sports and KAR. Everyone who joins that program becomes a member of KAR. During Summer Safari I met Rollin Richmond, KAR’s treasurer at the time. I would run regularly with his marathon group, and he started talking to me about available board positions on KAR. The vice president of membership position was open, and that’s how I first got involved.

Why do you like being part of KAR? KAR has grown from 200 to over 1,100 members and I think it’s really the support

and connection with other runners that are valuable to members. We provide group training programs and runs where members receive logistic support — like staying hydrated on the course — and social support from an encouragement standpoint. Our training programs have different pace groups and there’s a team leader with each group. Having a team leader assures everyone that you’re going to have someone that runs your pace and that you aren’t going to be out there all by yourself with no support. People also want that social connection — they want to be with other people, run with other people, share those experiences with other people and share their milestones with other people. Many of the folks that are on those teams become lifelong friends.

You’ve served as KAR’s president since 2008. What keeps you at it? From a leadership perspective, it’s great to be able to offer experiences that you know have been life-changing for people. Also, I have had the opportunity to collaborate on programs and our runs with all these other great community organizations like the Borgess Run, Gazelle Sports, the Kalamazoo Experiential Learning Center, Loaves and Fishes, Girls on the Run, the YMCA, the city of Portage, MRC Industries — the list goes on. It is amazing to see the power of collaboration and what can be done when you all come together to offer amazing experiences and nurture and grow this running community.

How often do you run? When I am training for a marathon, it’s five days a week typically, and I will peak at 40 miles a week. In the off-season, I cut back a little, but I still run at least four times a week.

What do you do when you aren’t running? I am the director of human resources and community relations at MRC Industries, which serves individuals in Kalamazoo County with developmental or intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, emotional impairments and mental illness so they can become independent at home, at work and in the community. I wear many hats — I do human resource management, marketing, public relations, community relations. I also have two college-age kids at home and a daughter who is in the military, so I spend time with them.

What keeps you up at night? I think being able to sustain KAR into the future and keep this wonderful running community and organization going and thriving. KAR is an all-volunteer organization, so we look to how we can sustain that as we bring on the next generation of runners. People talk about all the breweries and how that makes Kalamazoo unique and special, but running defines part of what Kalamazoo is all about too. We want to keep this great running community as an important part of the fabric of our larger community.

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Bonnie Sexton

President, Kalamazoo Area Runners


hose who think of the phrase “the loneliness of the long-distance runner” when they hear the word “marathon,” haven’t met Bonnie Sexton. Sexton, who will run her 40th marathon at Kalamazoo’s Borgess Run May 6, espouses running as a community activity that involves support, encouragement and camaraderie. She is the president of Kalamazoo Area Runners, the largest running organization in the state. It has more than 1,100 members and hosts seven training programs and six large-scale runs in the Kalamazoo region throughout the year (yes, even in winter), including the Kalamazoo Classic and the Turkey Trot. And leading the pack through all of these is Sexton. (continued on page 45)

46 | ENCORE MAY 2018

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