The Spark

Friday 6:20pm

The Spark is WMRA's own creative look at --well-- creativity. We dig into whatever people are passionate about in the WMRA region: sculpture, model railroading, costume-making, poetry, whatever.

Please note that while we no longer produce The Spark as a full-length program (due to Martha Woodroof's retirement), her interviews continue to appear within our Friday broadcast of All Things Considered.

We want to hear from those who are doing artsy or interesting or wonderful or obsessive things.  We also recognize that lots of creatives are a tad shy and might not ever speak up for themselves. 

You can put something on our radar about yourself or can tell us about someone you know of who might be interesting by sending an e-mail to the show host, Martha Woodroof:
(To launch an email to Martha automatically click here. )

Scroll down to hear past segments.

Consider this a community-wide celebration of the many people among us who invest time, energy and discipline into pushing against life's boundaries.

Listen to a typical 2012 version of the show's end credits (including Martha asking to hear from those who know about creative goings-on) : here (60 seconds).

2013 Spark intern Julia Skinner has been tasked with blogging about potentially Spark-worthy peers, and you can find the link to that blog on this page.

Ellen Butchart

Feb 10, 2012

When Staunton’s Ellen Butchart unexpectedly lost her job working on the creative side of Rosetta Stone, she responded by going back to school for an MBA in sustainable business.

20-year-old Austin Shifflett blows the blues on his harmonica.

At the Carnival

Feb 3, 2012

To honor Black History Month, JMU student Patrick Ragland reads Ann Spencer’s poem At the Carnival.

Henry McHenry

Jan 27, 2012

Henry McHenry talks of his passionately held beliefs about the responsibilities inherent in substitute teaching.

Essayist Kate Cohen is a writer and editor who grew up in the Shenandoah Valley and now scrambles eggs in Albany, NY.

Blue O'Connell describes herself as, "profoundly deaf," and she joins us to talk about her love of music and songwriting... which she pursues despite her loss of hearing.

Kelly Harris

Jan 27, 2012

Kelly Harris lives in Lexington where she does an astonishing number of different things to earn a living.

Essayist Ernie Didot reflects on home movies and the power of nostalgia as presented in Harrisonburg's Super Gr8 Film Festival.

Harrisonburg’s Tim Estep describes himself as a "film maker."

The Judy Chops

Jan 13, 2012

The Judy Chops, whose five members hail from various parts of the Shenandoah Valley, share their eclectic music and love of making that music.

Eye on Art : Town-Coolness and Real Public Art

Jan 13, 2012

Terry Ward's essay on public art and what impression it can make on visitors --and what constitutes "real" public art.  (Virginia's fiberglass apples don't count.)

Stonemason Dana Nelson, a guest of WMRA's The Spark, teases us with just one of his funny Irish stories.

Patricia and Don Lansky each had successful careers before being called to the Ministry… and to each other.

Kate Kessler

Jan 6, 2012

A tribute to Kate Kessler, intrepid teacher, dancer, WMRA contributor and solo hiker of the entire Appalachian Trail. We just heard this week that Kate is in hospice.

Jonathan Coleman

Jan 6, 2012

Best-selling author, Jonathan Coleman, talks about his collaboration with NBA icon, Jerry West, on West by West, My Charmed, Tormented Life.

Information about Jonathan’s WriterHouse talk on “The Art and Responsibility of Narrative Nonfiction Writing”

Earl Martin

Jan 6, 2012

Earl Martin, life-long Asian traveler, discusses his recent house-building foray into North Korea.

The Fuller Center for Housing web account of Earl’s trip

Andi Arndt

Dec 16, 2011

Former WMRA classical music announcer (and Harrisonburg resident), Andi Arndt, has taken her voice international through the magic of the WEB.

Roanoke resident Jeff Ell is the author of Ruth Unsensored.

Royce Campbell

Dec 16, 2011

Jazz guitarist Royce Campbell backed-up Marvin Gaye, toured for almost two decades with Henry Mancini, and has written music for the movies.

Dana Nelson, a guest on WMRA's The Spark,  is mostly a stone mason, having learned his trade over a decade spent working in Ireland. But occasionally, he moonlights as a musician... and he’s allowed The Spark to premier his soon-to-be Christmas classic, "Rockabilly Christmas on the Radio."