Great Lakes Concerts brings Michigan’s top classical performers to listeners everywhere

Dec 19, 2018

New weekly classical music series comes to Capital Region, Greater Detroit and Northern Michigan radio beginning in January.

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- WKAR Public Media at Michigan State, in partnership with WRCJ Detroit and WIAA Traverse City, is launching a new classical music radio series this January. Great Lakes Concerts brings Michigan’s top ensembles to classical music lovers around the state in a new weekly radio series featuring concert performances recorded in Michigan’s Capital Region, Ann Arbor, Greater Detroit, Traverse City, and beyond.

Great Lakes Concerts debuts at noon on Sat., Jan. 5, 2019, on WKAR 90.5 FM from East Lansing. Following the WKAR debut, the series airs on partner stations WRCJ 90.9 FM in Detroit on Sundays at 10am and on Classical IPR 88.7 FM from Interlochen on Mondays at 6pm. The stations also stream the program at those times, giving listeners anywhere the opportunity to hear the best from the Great Lakes region.

WKAR’s Jody Knol hosts the show. “The Great Lakes State has a wealth of regional orchestras and concert series quietly producing great music programs that go unheralded beyond their immediate communities,” says Knol. “We’ve been dreaming about a statewide program that would be a musical road trip visiting concert halls around the state. Our recent partnership with WRCJ and Classical IPR to air Detroit Symphony Orchestra concerts has paved the way to making Great Lakes Concerts a reality. I am excited to take WKAR’s long-running Community Concerts series, expand its scope, and share it with a statewide community of public radio listeners.”

Susi Elkins is director of broadcasting and general manager at WKAR. “Our state is rich with gifted classical musicians,” Elkins says. “Though we enjoy many opportunities to hear talented artists perform great music, it’s impossible to attend every classical concert around Michigan. Now, WKAR offers the chance to hear the beauty and excitement of concert music from across our state.”

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra and Absolute Music Chamber Series will be featured in the series. “We appreciate very much how WKAR promotes the musical scene happening live in concert halls throughout Michigan,” says LSO Music Director Timothy Muffitt. “To have so many wonderful orchestras--the LSO and all of our sister organizations--is truly something Michigan can be proud of. WKAR highlights that beautifully.”

Lansing Symphony’s principal flutist Richard Sherman is a professor of flute at MSU and artistic director of Lansing’s Absolute Music Chamber Series. “We call Absolute ‘chamber music up close and personal.’ WKAR’s new series will embrace that spirit.”

As executive director of the Ann Arbor Symphony, Mary Steffek Blaske shares her enthusiasm for Great Lakes Concerts. “We are all looking forward to hearing our great Michigan symphonies being broadcast throughout the mitten. We are honored to be part of these wonderful Michigan partners.”

Dave Devereaux, station manager at WRCJ, also sees the excitement of concert performance as key to the new series. His station offers recordings by the Michigan Philharmonic and Ann Arbor’s Academy of Early Music. “One of our missions is to encourage people to see music performed live,” said Devereaux. “With this series, we’re pleased to introduce our listeners to many excellent classical music experiences available in Michigan.”

Rounding out the ensemble array is the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, the Shoreline Music Society, and the Baroque on Beaver Festival Orchestra.

Interlochen Public Radio’s Amanda Sewell holds up the Traverse City end of the statewide partnership. Sewell says, “Interlochen Public Radio is excited to partner with other stations around the state of Michigan to share outstanding performances. This collaborative effort shows how alive music is across the state.”

Great Lakes Concerts looks to expand its lineup in coming seasons. Peter Whorf, WKAR radio station manager, is executive producer of the series.

For more info, contact:

Julie Sochay, Content and Community Engagement Manager,