Blue Lake Public Radio’s unique blend of programming mandates our on-air hosts are personally well-versed in the fine arts through performance and other means. We are proud to introduce you to our Blue Lake Public Radio hosts, as well as some of the nationally-recognized hosts of the fine arts network programming we broadcast. Thank you for your listenership and on-going support of the Blue Lake stations.
As Station Manager, Steve is responsible for ensuring 100% of the programming content on Blue Lake Public Radio meets our discerning audience’s standards. His responsibilities also include hosting “A Michigan Saturday Night” from 8:00-9:00pm (immediately following Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”), as well as sharing hosting duties with Greg Johnson for our Saturday 11:00am-1:00pm Classical program. Steve furthermore directs the “live” broadcasts of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp’s numerous faculty, staff, and professional performance concerts each Summer. The Kalamazoo native’s parents ensured Steve was well-versed in Opera, Classical, and Bluegrass. His particular love of Bluegrass led to becoming an accomplished banjo player, guitarist, singer, and founding member of the popular Oat Bran Boys Bluegrass Band. Steve says, “I absolutely love the fact that Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and within that, Blue Lake Public Radio, is all about the arts.”
Bonnie hosts Blue Lake Public Radio’s weekday 8:00am-12:00 noon Classical music, and Sunday 8:00-9:30am “Choral Traditions” programs. The Grand Rapids native earned a Music Education degree from the University of Michigan. Bonnie’s notable accomplishments as an Oboe player led to performing with the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra; teaching music in the Alpena Public Schools; and being a guest oboist for the Calvin College Oratorical Society, Civic Theatre, and area churches. She also performed with the West Michigan (formerly West Shore) Symphony, and teaches oboe lessons for children and adults. Her long-time association with the Grand Rapids Symphony included hosting its weekly broadcasts on Blue Lake Public Radio for twelve years, the highlight of which was a “live” concert from Carnegie Hall marking the Symphony’s 75th Anniversary. Bonnie says, “What we do at Blue Lake Public Radio is very important. Sharing great music, keeping our listeners actively connected to the arts by encouraging them to attend as many “live” performances as possible – these are just some of the reasons I love my job so much.”
Greg’s introduction to Classical music came from his parents’ cultural belief that every family must have one person who can play the piano, effectively leading to his Classical piano lessons. The melodies have lasted a lifetime. Following graduation from Alleghany College, Greg taught high school English, Speech, Drama & Spanish. While pursuing his Masters degree at Indianapolis University, he taught Freshman Composition and continued teaching on the college and high school levels the remainder of his career. Greg developed a listening passion for Blue Lake Public Radio thirty years ago. He serves as our Monday-Friday 6:30-8:00pm Classical host, and also shares hosting duties with Steve Albert for our Saturday 11:00am-1:00pm program. Greg oversees the daily station program logs, as well. He says, “Working at Blue Lake Public Radio means a shared commitment by Bonnie, Foley, Lazaro, Steve and me to produce the best programming possible for our passionate listeners each and every day.”
Encouraged by creative parents, Foley began his music career at age 7, studying violin with Jean Manning at North Muskegon Public Schools. As a Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp “camper,” he became Blue Lake Public Radio’s first high school intern. Foley earned an English Literature degree from Hope College, and Masters in Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the Warren Wilson College. He has performed with the West Michigan (formerly West Shore) Symphony; served on the English Department faculty at Muskegon Community College, and been the Music, Art & Theatre reviewer for the Muskegon Chronicle. Foley received the 2014 Charles H. Hackley Commendation for Services to the Humanities Award, and was also recognized for his contributions to the community with the 2011 Richard Charles Ford Award for Individual Service to the Arts & Humanities. He follows his love of the arts around the globe, but says, “There is no place like the Blue Lake setting, sharing extraordinary music with our listeners.” Foley hosts Blue Lake Public Radio’s weekday 1:00-5:00pm Classical Music, and Sunday 9:30am-1:00pm “Sunday on Blue Lake” programs.
During his teen years, Lazaro would usually find himself a minority in primarily African American audiences listening to “live” Jazz. At Michigan State University, the East Grand Rapids native became the Jazz writer for the State News. Later, Lazaro served as the Jazz columnist for the Grand Rapids Press and Muskegon Chronicle for twelve years. His articles have been published by the Jazz Institute of Chicago, and he’s authored liner notes for numerous Jazz performers’ albums, nationwide. Lazaro has additionally produced concerts for the West Michigan Jazz Society, served on the Great Artists & Music Committee at St. Cecilia Music Center, and hosted the Detroit Jazz Festival’s network Radio broadcast. Lazaro says, “Blue Lake Public Radio’s commitment to Jazz, and Jazz education, allows me to connect a large listening audience with great musicians who’ve expressed themselves in sound. How do you measure soul?” His programs on the Blue Lake stations include “Jazz from Blue Lake” (Monday-Friday 10:00pm-3:00am & Sunday 7:00-10:00pm), and “Jazz a la Carte” (Saturday 7:00-10:00am).
Garrison Keillor Hosts
In 2011, Garrison Keillor reported he was planning to leave A Prairie Home Companion in 2013. But a few months later, he changed his mind. “You don’t want to walk down that slippery slope too soon because if you do, other things may happen.” At this stage in his life, Keillor believes he can still do better work. “That’s really the motivation,” he said. “If I thought we had reached our high point in the 1990s, I’d quit in a moment. But I don’t.”
A Prairie Home Companion debuted as an old-style variety show before a “live” audience on July 6, 1974, featuring guest musicians and a cadre cast doing musical numbers and comic skits replete with elaborate live sound effects. The show was punctuated by spoof commercial spots from such fictitious sponsors as Jack's Auto Repair ("All tracks lead to Jack's where the bright shining lights show you the way to complete satisfaction") and Powdermilk Biscuits, which (“Give shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done”). Later imaginary sponsors included Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery ("If you can't find it at Ralph's, you can probably get along without it"), Bertha's Kitty Boutique, the Ketchup Advisory Board (which touted "the natural mellowing agents of ketchup"), the American Duct Tape Council, and Bebop-A-Reebop Rhubarb Pie (“Sweetening the sour taste of failure through the generations").
The second half of the broadcast showcases a weekly monologue by Keillor entitled The News from Lake Wobegon. The town is based in part on Keillor's own hometown of Anoka, Minnesota. Lake Wobegon is a quintessential but fictional Minnesotan small town "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."
Keillor also does 90-minute one-man shows, just him with a microphone and a wooden stool. “It’s sort of a character-building exercise,” he said. “I tell stories and try to twine them together, maybe recite a few poems if the audience is in the mood, maybe sing a song or two. It’s improv. You take your chances. It’s a way to stay in mental shape and stay in touch with your audience.”
Could A Prairie Home Companion live on without him? “Oh, sure,” he said. “Whether it will or not, I don’t know. But it certainly could. I could teach someone how to do this.” In classic Keillor self-deprecating style, he added, “I could find someone twice as appealing and teach them what they need to know in a week and a half.”
The New York Philharmonic This Week, the coast-to-coast broadcast (originated in 1930) of one of the most highly recognized symphony orchestras in the world, is heard on Blue Lake Public Radio every Friday from 8:00-10:00pm.
Founded in 1842, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world. The Philharmonic has appeared in 63 countries on five continents, performing over 15,000 concerts. Since its inception, it has been the apex for composers, soloists and conductors, alike.
The roster of composers and conductors who have led the New York Philharmonic includes such historic figures as Antonín Dvořák, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Arturo Toscanini, Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein. In 2009, Alan Gilbert became the first native New Yorker to head the Philharmonic, and is among the youngest music directors in the orchestra's storied history.
Alec Baldwin has been the host of The New York Philharmonic This Week since 2009. His stage credits Prelude to a Kiss at the Circle Reparatory, earning him Obie Award; A Streetcar Named Desire, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award; and Macbeth at New York Shakespeare Festival. Mr. Baldwin has appeared in more than 40 films, including The Hunt for Red October, Glengarry Glen Ross, and It’s Complicated. For seven years he starred as Jack Donaghy opposite Tina Fey on NBC’s 30 Rock. For his portrayal, he received seven Screen Actors Guild Awards, three Golden Globes, the Television Critics Award, and two Emmy Awards as Best Actor in a Comedy Series. In 2011, he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Mr. Baldwin donated $1 million to the New York Philharmonic in 2012 to honor Zarin Mehta, its outgoing president and executive director.
Blue Lake Public Radio broadcasts Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin weekdays from 12:00-1:00pm.
McGlaughlin has served as an educator; performer (trombonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra & Pittsburgh Symphony); conductor of the St. Paul (MN) Chamber Orchestra; and music director for orchestras in Eugene, Tucson, San Francisco, and Kansas City.
His long-running Radio program, Saint Paul Sunday, received the highest honor in broadcasting, the George Foster Peabody Award, in 1996. In November 2002, the National Endowment for the Arts announced a special grant to fund the development of a new daily program: Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin.
Exploring Music delves into a wide variety of topics in Classical music, and each five-program, one-week series has a single theme such as the music of dozens of composers, explorations of various cultures, styles, forms, time periods, and numerous other topics and areas of exploration.
Bill McGlaughlin received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 from Fine Arts Radio International, which stated, "Exploring Music, with its weekly thematic concept, provides the Classical Radio listener with both in-depth education and compelling Radio listening, a balance that is rarely achieved."
Speaking about Exploring Music, McGlaughlin said, “I don't know any scientific proof that human beings must have music in their lives to flourish, but I've noticed that if we don't, there's an empty spot. With our programs we try each week to take you into a new area, hope to find that hollow spot, and nourish it.”
Blue Lake Public Radio airs the Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network broadcasts each Saturday from 1:00-5:00pm.
The Met’s hugely successful Radio broadcast series, now in its 82nd year, is the longest-running Classical music series in American broadcast history. It is heard around the world on the Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.
Many great conductors have helped shape the Met, beginning with Wagner’s disciple, Anton Seidl, in the 1880s and 1890s, and Arturo Toscanini, who made his debut in 1908. There were two extraordinary seasons with both Toscanini and Gustav Mahler on the conducting roster. James Levine made his debut in 1971, celebrating his 43rd anniversary in the 2013–14 season.
Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz
Marian McPartland was an English-born American pianist, composer, and writer. She pursued classical piano studies in London, but to the dismay of her family, developed a love for American jazz, and musicians such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Mary Louis Williams, Teddy Wilson, and others.
During World War II, Marian performed in Billy Mayerl’s Claviers, a four-piano vaudeville act, entertaining Allied troops throughout Europe.
In 1958, a black and white group portrait of 57 notable jazz musicians, including McPartland, was photographed outside a Harlem brownstone for Esquire magazine, which called it, “A Great Day in Harlem.” The photo became a well-known image of New York's jazz musicians of the time.
Her encyclopedic knowledge of jazz led National Public Radio (NPR) to launch Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz in 1978. It became the longest-running cultural (jazz or otherwise) program in NPR history. The format featured McPartland at the keyboard with guest performers, usually pianists, but also singers, guitarists, and other musicians. After Partland stepped down as host in 2011, Piano Jazz soonreturned in repeat broadcasts.
Marian lived to be 95 years old, but her legacy continues with Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazzheard on Blue Lake Public Radio, and hundreds of other NPR stations every week.