Gold Company will celebrate its 40th anniversary this weekend with three performances in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University. Along for the festivities are GCII, a live band, and several starry alums associated with Gold Company, including singer/songwriter Matt Giraud (of American Idol fame), Hollywood vocalist Nayanna Holley, Grammy award-winning John Proulx and jazz recording artist Kate Reid, as well as past directors Duane Davis, Kellyann Nelson and April Arabian-Tiniwho.

Director Greg Jasperse recruited his friend, sound technician/artist manager Bryan Farina, to handle the sound engineering of the shows, returning him to a role he had filled as a WMU student. Jasperse, Farina, and Matt Giraud joined Cara Lieurance at WMUK to preview the concerts. 


Violinist François Henkins, a native of South Africa who studied at Western Michigan University, has maintained his ties to the school and his former mentor, professor Renata Knific. Since forming the Kontras Quartet in 2009, the group has broken out in new directions. Their collaboration with the neo-bluegrass trio Kruger Brothers resulted in a well-received album, Roan Mountain Suite, and they're now working on a collaboration with saxophonist Branford Marsalis.  Saturday night in the Dalton Center Lecture Hall, the Kontras Quartet will perform bluegrass fiddler/composer Mark O'Connor's String Quartet No. 3 "Old-Time," and the String Quartet No. 1 in D by Tchaikovsky. Henkins previews the concert with Cara Lieurance.

Mike Lanka / WMU University Relations

Despite growing up in the strictly segregated world of 1940’s Detroit, Dennis Archer put himself through college and law school through determination and a lot of hard work. He was the first person of color to become president of the American Bar Association, and of the State Bar of Michigan, which once banned African Americans from joining. Archer became the associate justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and then was twice elected mayor of Detroit. He's co-written his autobiography, Let the Future Begin (Atkins & Greenspan Writing, 2017) with journalist and TV host Elizabeth Ann Atkins.

Western Michigan University

Andrew Rathbun, director of the Advanced Jazz Ensemble, and composer/programmer Christopher Biggs, both School of Music faculty at Western Michigan University, talk about their first-time collaboration. It has resulted in a concert of works for the Advanced Jazz Ensemble plus digital process and live electronics, played by Christopher Biggs. They describe just how the electronic sounds and processing dovetails with the music, in an interview with Cara Lieurance.  

Kaitlin LaMoine Photography

In her new novel, Thisbe Nissen delves deep into the midlife crisis of a 50-year-old woman. Yes, women have them, too. Our Lady of the Prairie (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) is Nissen’s third novel, along with a story collection and a cookbook.