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:
WoodroMH@jmu.edu
(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.

Life Recycled

Aug 14, 2015

On this edition of The Spark: A conversation with Eric Walter, who’s mid-life reinvention took him from running his own IT business in Chicago, to running his own recycling business in Crimora.

On this episode of The Spark: Ann-Janine Morey is an English and Religious Studies professor at James Madison University, as well as Associate Vice Provost for Cross Disciplinary Studies. A.J. began collecting old pictures of people and their dogs while undergoing chemotherapy. And low and behold, the collection grew into her latest book, Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves: Vintage American Photographs.

On The SparkDennis Lynch first came to the Valley fresh out of college to work at the Wayside Theater. But he stayed to run the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival.

On This Episode of The Spark: These days 83-year-old Bob Brennan busies himself with Percheron Horses and a recalcitrant donkey on his Orange County farm. But he started his farming career raising chickens... at about the same time he started going to school.

Kara Lofton

On this episode of The Spark: Former Bridgewater college... and soon-to-be Sweet Briar college president,  Phillip Stone.

Chainsaw Glenn

Jun 26, 2015

On this episode of The spark: Meet Glenn Richardson... he has been making art for decades. Now in his fifties, Glenn has settled into sculpting phantasmagoria out of firewood using a chainsaw.

The Gate inspired by the Japanese Torii gate

Glenn Richardson's Website

The Avtex Legacy

Jun 19, 2015

On this episode of The Spark: Ralph Bolgiano remembers being part of the 1989 study that shut down AVTEX in Front Royal and put a stop to a major source of pollution in the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

Martha Woodroof speaks with DeLois Warr, who still carries anger from her days growing up in segregated Mount Jackson.

She has made a mission out of challenging her community to help her maintain Mount Jackson's antebellum black cemetery.

Note: This episode of The Spark originally aired October 24, 2014.

Valley Black Heritage Project

On this episode of The Spark: Patrick Mayerchak is taking retirement in stride and getting the band back together. He and four college buddies started a band back in the sixties, and now that they’ve all had careers and families… it’s time to jam again.

Daniel Stein

On this episode of The Spark: Martha Woodroof learns more about astrophotography from rising college senior Daniel Stein.  Daniel loves nothing better than spending entire nights photographing the night sky.

Daniel Stein's website

Chirp To Win

May 21, 2015

On this episode of The Spark: Did you know that some world class performers have beaks?

Meet canary expert Andre Dight. Andre is a canary club leader and travels to bird competitions. Bird enthusiasts have even created an online canary jukebox.

Pressing On

May 15, 2015

On This Edition of The Spark: Emily Hancock loves language and words, and also loves old-fashioned methods of printing them.  She revels in using vintage foot-powered or hand-cranked presses, and hand-carved illustration blocks.

On this edition of The SparkSkilled piano technician John Schaldach shows there’s more ways than just performance to be involved in making beautiful music. 

Jennifer Lockard Connerley

On this episode of The Spark: Martha Woodroof speaks with Jennifer Lockard Connerley, who paints portraits that, she admits, contain something of herself. 

Advising Alger

Apr 24, 2015

On this edition of The Spark: Martha Woodroof steps aside and lends the interview chair to JMU President Jon Alger.

In this special broadcast, President Alger interviews three James Madison University students about their academic life and their campus experience.

The Students:

Joe Balsamo

Finding the Form

Apr 17, 2015
Susan Bacik

On this edition of The Spark: Martha woodroof speaks with Charlottesville’s Susan Bacik. Susan has been creating sculpture out of found objects for over a quarter of a century.

On this edition of The Spark: Martha speaks with Perry Shank. Mr. Shank teaches music to the lucky students of Smithland Elementary School in Harrisonburg. And yes, that involves singing and playing the recorder. But it also means finger tutting and creating their own electronic music. 

Sounds created by Smithland Elementary Students:
DJ Maestro
Smithland Compositons

Boutique Catering

Apr 3, 2015

On this edition of The Spark, Martha speaks with Mike Lund. Mike spent seven years in the kitchen of the famed Inn at Little Washington, working his way up to second-in-command under chef/owner Patrick O’Connell. These days, Mike does his creative, culinary thing at Mike Lund Food in Staunton.

Mike Lund on Facebook

An Eye For Eating

Mar 27, 2015

On this edition of The Spark, Martha Woodroof speaks with freelance, commercial photographer Ron Rammelkamp.

Ron is not shy. His response to being laid-off by Rosetta Stone, was to knock on the doors of Charlottesville businesses and ask if anyone needed a photographer. A knock on C-ville Weekly’s door lead to Ron’s deep professional relationship with the city’s food.

The Magic of Radio

Mar 20, 2015

On this edition of The Spark, Martha Woodroof sits down for a chat with Lulu Miller.  Lulu lives half her life in Charlottesville, half in DC, and spends all her time making NPR’s wildly popular new show Invisibilia.

Lulu Miller's Website

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