The Spark

Aired on WMRA 2011 - 2016

The Spark aired on WMRA from late 2011 to December 2016, with a creative look at --well-- creativity. Our interviews focused on whatever people are passionate about in the WMRA region: sculpture, model railroading, costume-making, poetry, whatever.

Please note, we no longer produce The Spark due to host Martha Woodroof's retirement, but her interviews are still available online.

Making Shoes

Feb 24, 2012

Gabe and Peggy Leasure of Rockbridge County talk about shoemaking and their late shoemaking father/husband Glen Leasure.

In the End

Feb 24, 2012

An essay by Eric LaFreniere.

In honor of Black History Month, a MLK-memorial sound piece by Elliot Majerczyk.

The Cairo Rooster

Feb 17, 2012

Bob Bersson debuts a new occasional feature on The Spark, short, creative non-fiction, with his story “The Cairo Rooster.”

Jeff McCormack

Feb 17, 2012

Jeff McCormack’s long relationship with plants includes starting Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Garden Medicinals and Culinaries, co-founding Virginia Plant Savers, and being lead author of Bush Medicine of the Bahamas,  an ethno-botanical study of the native uses of medicinal plants on San Salvador Island.

JMU student Shanell Dowling reads “Won’t You Celebrate With Me” a poem by Lucille Clifton,  in honor of Black History Month.

Urban Renewal XVIII

Feb 10, 2012

To honor Black History Month, JMU student Kirsten Warne reads Major Jackson’s poem Urban Renewal XVIII.

Stan Driver

Feb 10, 2012

Hop grower Stan Driver talks about his fantastical vines, and the burgeoning Virginia hop-growing business.

Blue Mountain Brewery Hops

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.