Randy Stewart | KBIA

Randy Stewart

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning "Arts News." Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's "Ozzie Award" in 2006.

Eddie Gumucio, host of KSMU’s Wednesday night program “Beneath the Surface,” talked by phone about the 10-year anniversary of Queen City Shout, the annual music and arts fundraiser to support poverty relief here in the Ozarks. Normally it takes place on Historical Commercial Street in numerous food-and-drink venues there.  COVID-19 has caused quite a few changes to the festival this year, he said.                         

This week on “Arts News” I talked with Arya Eledath, a student at MSU’s Greenwood Laboratory School, just about to start her Senior year.  Last year she and Greenwood choir director Alberta Smith began organizing a benefit concert for spring 2020—originally to raise funds for global climate-change issues.  But that concert got scuttled due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Now, this weekend—Saturday July 11 to be exact—they will hold the event online, raising funds for Convoy of Hope.                                    

This week on “Arts News” I caught up with Emily Frankoski, Director of Joplin’s arts agency Connect2Culture.  Normally, she and I will do a monthly interview we call “Spotlight on Joplin,” but since the pandemic hit, we haven’t talked about how the arts community in Joplin has been getting along.   

This week on KSMU's "Arts News" we hear from Avery Parish, coordinator of the First Friday Art Walk, about the impact of the pandemic and social distancing on the monthly Springfield arts event.                                   

Mark Applegate works for the local SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging.  He writes a blog called "Digital Cornbread," which just passed its one-year anniversary online back in March, when we first started working on these KSMU "Sense of Community" stories.

In it, he chronicles the journey he, his sister, Pam Lavin, their stepfather, John Alexander, and their mother, Brenda, have taken since Brenda went into a nursing home in Republic because of advancing Alzheimer's Disease.

In March, during one of the Alzheimer's Association's classes on Living with Memory Loss presented at The Library Center in Springfield, Deb Bryer from the  Alzheimer's Association St. Louis Chapter got the crowd in a jovial mood.

"I'm going to ask a question:   if you can answer 'yes' to the question, you get a 'kiss.'" As the attendees started laughing, she was quick to add, "It's a CHOCOLATE kiss! We're keeping it clean in here!"   

This week’s “Coronavirus Edition” of “Arts News” features a talk with Christopher Koch, Music Director and conductor of Springfield Regional Opera.  I asked him what SRO was working on when the stay-at-home order hit in March.                                                                

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed lots of plans.  Symphony orchestra concert seasons, for one.

“Everybody in society is navigating uncharted waters. But it's been especially strange and difficult for us in the live performing arts, because everything we do involves gathering together. So we've definitely had to change and reschedule and cancel and rethink things on a pretty broad scale here.”                                             

On this week's "Arts News" our guest is Nick Nelson, Director of the Springfield Art Museum.  The Art Museum. like all other businesses or organizations deemed "non-essential," had to close its doors to the public some six weeks ago to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  It remains closed, even though the local stay-at-home order has been lifted, said Nelson.          

The 40th anniversary of a springtime tradition in Springfield is yet another casualty of social distancing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  ArtsFest on Walnut Street 2020 was scheduled to take place this Saturday and Sunday, May 2nd and 3rd, in the Walnut Street Historic District between South National Avenue and John Q.

For this week’s “Coronavirus Edition” of “Arts News,” we checked in with Rick Dines, Managing Artistic Director of Springfield Contemporary Theatre, to hear how SCT is weathering the stay-at-home order.            

The April concert in the Springfield Symphony Orchestra's 2019-2020 season, "Great American Road Trip," was scheduled for Saturday, April 18.  It has, of course, been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In its place, they have decided to produce a live fundraiser for the orchestra and its musicians on the Symphony's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/springfieldsymphony.  Lexi Locke, Marketing Manager of  the Springfield Symphony, explains.

For this week’s “Coronavirus Edition” of KSMU’s “Arts News,” we checked in with Beth Domann, Executive Director of Springfield Little Theatre, to see how they are dealing with the current shutdown. Of course, as Domann said, it has “put a halt to our entire season—that’s for sure.                                                                     

Like many people Missouri State University Managing Director of Theatre and Dance, Mark Templeton, is hunkered down at home during the Coronavirus stay-at-home order.  But so are the many students, Theatre and Dance faculty, and theatre professionals who would normally be gearing up for the 58th consecutive season of MSU Tent Theatre, scheduled for June 10-July 18, 2020. The 2020 Tent season has been cancelled, and Mark Templeton discussed the reasons why, and what the Theatre and Dance Department hopes to offer to fill the gap.            

The Springfield Regional Arts Council has published an "Update on Artsfest 2020" at https://www.springfieldarts.org/index.php/Artsfest.  It reads in part:

Missouri State University Tent Theatre was preparing for their 58th consecutive season of plays and musicals performed in the big tent erected every spring behind Craig Hall by the MSU Theatre and Dance Department.  

However, due to the Coronavirus, it was announced that "with heavy hearts, but sincere optimism for the future, Tent Theatre announces the cancellation of its 2020 summer season scheduled for June 10-July 18."

The "Note To Our Audience," published at https://tenttheatre.missouristate.edu, continues:

Jeff Houghton, host of the Mystery Hour TV show, contacted Springfield Regional Opera artistic director Michael Spyres to help with a special project earlier this week at several area independent and assisted living and nursing facilities. Michael, a major tenor soloist at opera houses around the world, is currently at home near Rogersville, and we talked on the phone yesterday about his nursing home concerts.                    

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all Evangel University campus activities have been canceled for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, including the theatre production that was scheduled to open this week, “Little Women: The Musical.” The six performances have been postponed by Evangel’s Humanities Department until the Fall 2020 semester “if campus operations have returned to normal by that time,” said  Paul K. Logsdon, Evangel’s Director of Public Relations and Publications. “Details are still being worked out.”

According to Joshua Best, Development & Marketing Coordinator at the Springfield Art Museum, the Museum will remain closed to the public until Tuesday, April 28, 2020 "in response to the 30 day Stay-At-Home order issued by the City of Springfield and Greene County on March 24, 2020.

"This is a further attempt," says  Best, "to assist in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The Museum will reassess the status of public operations on April 28."

The Gillioz Theatre has announced on their website that the theater "always prioritizes the safety and security of its audiences, artists and staff, and this includes health safety. In the wake of concerns around the Coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting many parts of the U.S., the Gillioz will cease events until May 1st, 2020." Here is a list of Gillioz events currently affected:

Lukas Nelson – 3/22 (postponed, new date to be announced)

Bert Kreischer – 3/26 (rescheduled, new date 7/31/20)

Colter Wall – 3/27 (rescheduled, new date 12/10/20)

As with virtually every other arts organization and/or venue, Missouri State University's Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts has had to adjust their schedule of upcoming events. According to an update on the Hall's web page, "In response to concerns of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and a declaration of a Missouri and federal emergency, our top priority is protecting the health and well-being of our patrons, staff, volunteers, students, and touring artists." Here is their current list of cancellations:

Due to health concerns surrounding the current coronavirus pandemic, Music Monday of the Ozarks has decided to cancel their upcoming monthly event on April 6th at the Elks Club in Springfield featuring a history of local songwriter Ronnie Self.   Chris Albert of Music Monday told KSMU it has been "cancelled until a later date.  We at Music Monday hope everyone will stay safe and healthy through these trying times."

Springfield Sister Cities Association has cancelled the Cherry Blossom Kite and Piñata Festival scheduled for Saturday, April 4, 2020  at the Springfield Botanical Gardens.

According to a press release issued by the organization, "Sister Cities made this decision in conjunction with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board," following Springfield Mayor Ken McClure's proclamation of civil emergency within the City of Springfield. "At this time, the Kite and Piñata Festival will not be rescheduled," according to Sisters Cities.

Officials with the University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department at Missouri State University-West Plains have canceled the department’s remaining theater events scheduled for this spring.

            These include:

            • Joe and Nick’s VCR Party on March 24;

            • Art Around Town exhibit March 31-April 9, including the April 5 awards ceremony;

            • Thom Wall, Master of Modern Vaudeville, on April 30.

Megan Buchbinder, Marketing Director of Springfield Little Theatre, has told KSMU that Little Theatre has postponed their opening of "Matilda The Musical" due to Coronavirus concerns.

"At this time... our leadership team is currently working on the calendar for the rest of the season to see where things can move around." They will let the community know when the production will be rescheduled.

For information call (417) 869-1334, or visit https://www.springfieldlittletheatre.org.

 

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra has cancelled their March 28 concert, "The Civil War In Missouri," at Hammons Hall. According to a press release issued by the Symphony:

According to a press release received from Springfield Regional Opera:

Local film production company Passive Aggressive Films has begun a Kickstarter campaign to help them raise funds to produce "Eldrich, USA," "an energetic feature-length horror/comedy/musical film about sibling rivalry, a backwoods cult, and the lengths we'll go to in order to right a wrong.” The man behind Passive Aggressive Films, Ryan Smith, will produce and direct the new film.                                                       

Local non-profit theatre production company Actors Theatre of Missouri has announced they have postponed their upcoming production of the play "Museum," originally scheduled for March 26-29 at the Springfield Art Museum.  According to the organization's Facebook page, "We're working out all the new details and will update this event as soon as possible. To those who already purchased tickets: We hope you will be able to attend our rescheduled dates, but if not, refunds are available by contacting Brown Paper Tickets. Please have your order confirmation number handy.

"Music and Mark Twain," featuring songs of the Mississippi with Will St. Clair as Mark Twain, scheduled for April 7th at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Springfield, has been postpoined due to concern over the spread of COVID-19. Organizers intend to reschedule the event for "late May or early June," according to the church website, https://springfielduu.org/marktwain.

 

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