Arts & More

Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

The Kalamazoo Ringers say that it is the oldest continuous community handbell choir in the country. Next week they’ll celebrate their 35th anniversary with their biggest concert ever. The free concert takes place Sunday, May 22nd at Grace Harbor Church at 4p.m.

Portage Northern High School Director of Choirs Robert Jordan (far left) hired music students from Western Michigan Universary to play their cabaret show.
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

Last weekend, Portage Northern High School put on a contemporary cabaret. The audience sat at candlelit round tables on the lower stage as students sang songs from modern Broadway hits like Wicked and Motown: The Musical. Vocalists were backed by a four-piece band, but no one in the band was a student - at least not from Portage Northern. 

Fred Western

Last month, the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo announced that it had selected a new executive director. And it was a familiar face for many in the Kalamazoo arts scene – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre executive director Kristen Chesak. The Arts Council plays a major role in the city, from organizing every month’s Art Hop to providing grants to local institutions and artists. And as the council prepares for a new shift in leadership, it's also preparing for major new challenges such as a growing Art Hop and decreased arts coverage in Kalamazoo. 

Nardos Osterhart has a rather unique origin story. For one thing, she was born in Ethiopia, and political turmoil took her family to Germany and Oklahoma as a child. But it’s here in Michigan that she found her real calling: stand-up comedy. In 2013, she was named the “Funniest Person in Grand Rapids.” Now, she's created a one-woman show, Halfricana kind of half-memoir, half-comedy show detailing her life and childhood. Osterhart will perform Halfrican at Louie’s Back Room in Kalamazoo on April 29th.

On April 24th, comedian and “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me…” panelist Paula Poundstone will bring her unique brand of stand-up comedy to Kalamazoo’s State Theatre. Despite more than 30 years in the business, Poundstone still tours as much as just about any comedian out there. Poundstone says her live show is vastly different from her "Wait, Wait..." appearances -- it's more personal, she says, and nearly a quarter of the show is just Poundstone interacting with the audience.