On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show #244 Kalamazoo, Michigan

Greeting from Kalamazoo, Michigan, where we just taped a show at the Western Michigan University School of Music. It was a wonderful show with one of the most exuberant live audiences ever.

Johannes Gray, “the mellow yellow cello fellow”

Kicking off the fun was local pianist, 17-year-old Marissa Uchimura, who performed Prokofiev’s Sonata No.3 in A minor Op.28 and spoke with Chris about her passion for arts advocacy.

Next up was tuba player Ben Darneille, 17, a student at Interlochen School for the Arts, who talked about one of his biggest inspirations, Carol Jantsch, who was on our show almost ten years ago and now is Principal Tubist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Ben played two movements from Suite for Tuba by Gordon Jacob.

Following Ben was 14-year-old cellist Johannes Gray, known to friends as “the mellow yellow cello fellow” for his trademark yellow clothing (he has worn yellow every single day of his life since he was a toddler)! He played “Capriccio” by Lukas Foss and spoke about finding creative inspiration from birds.

Next up was the percussion duo of 16-year-old Eric Goldberg and 17-year-old Shuya Gong, both members of the Percussion Scholarship Group in Chicago, Illinois. They performed “Udacrep Akubrad” by Avner Dorman. It was fascinating to watch them make their way around two marimbas and a variety of other percussion instruments. We’ll have a video of their performance online when the show airs the week of February 6.

Closing the show was 15-year-old Jackie Tso from Loveland, Ohio, who performed what she described as “the most fun piece ever” – Wieniawski’s Polonaise Brillante No.1 in D major, Op.4. A joyful way to end the show!