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.

Miller's Music

Jan 16, 2015
AIM Studios of Virginia / Allen Moore

Martha speaks with Dawn Miller, who grew up listening to her parents play music. So, naturally, she started making music as soon as she was old enough to carry a tune.

Funding Creativity

Jan 9, 2015

Next Time on The Spark: Martha talks with Christina Cain Executive Director of the Staunton Creative Community Fund. And she sparkles when she talks about helping her hard-working, creative fellow citizens fund their dreams.

Staunton Creative Community Fund

Local Investing Project

hOUR Economy

A Stunting Past

Dec 19, 2014

Martha Woodroof speaks with retired stunt man Steve Winegard.

Sculpting the Earth

Dec 12, 2014

Martha talks with Winchester’s Catherine Peek, an urban designer and groundworks artist.

Gary Freeburg

Part two of Martha Woodroof's conversation with photographer Gary Freeburg.

Gary's work focuses on photographs of the barren, windswept and unpopulated areas around Alaska's volcanoes.

Alaskan Zen

Nov 28, 2014
Gary Freeburg

JMU professor and gallery director Gary Freeburg served two tours in Vietnam. He escaped the noise and confusion of war by visiting Japanese Zen gardens. He now takes photographs of the barren Alaskan wilderness in the hopes of capturing that same kind of calm peace.

Gary Freeburg's Photographs

Information about the Ryoan-ji Japanese Zen Garden

In honor of the recent defeat of nationally ranked UCLA, we present Martha Woodroof's conversation with longtime JMU Women's Basketball coach Kenny Brooks. Note - This interview originally aired May 30, 2014 and at that time, the JMU Women's Basketball team had just defeated UVa.

Nashville Dreams

Nov 14, 2014

Harrisonburg’s John Samson loves, plays, and writes music that leans toward country.

John, who installs dropped ceilings for a living, recently went to Nashville with his family.

He got there as a tourist and left with a recording contract.

This is part two of Martha's conversation with writer Jack Greer.  They talk about the four years he mostly spent sailing the Caribbean on a 40 ft sailboat with his wife Bobbi. Oh yes, and about changing from writing mostly non-fiction to fiction.

In part one of Martha's conversation with writer Jack Greer, she asks him why he is as drawn to water as a sugar ant is to chocolate cake. Their conversation also centers on his involvement with the efforts to reclaim the Chesapeake Bay.

Heart-Felt

Oct 17, 2014

Martha Woodroof speaks with Staunton’s Lisa Jacenich, a fiber artist who creates felt garments, scarves, and art out of a fabric she describes as, "not your grandmother’s felt."

At Lisa's website, Artful Gifts, you can learn more about creating felt, which involves, "a process of laying out combed or carded fibers of wool either in the ultimate shape for their use or as a sheet of fabric later to be sewn into a garment."

WEB EXTRA:

Joy and Sunshine

Oct 10, 2014

Joy Loving talks with WMRA's Martha Woodroof about why Virginia should go solar. College towns like Harrisonburg should solarize, she says. (Oh, and this also involves a spoonbread recipe.)

Squaaaaawwwk!

Oct 3, 2014

Dr. Dave McRuer works at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. As a wildlife veterinarian, his mission is to treat  wild animals and educate humans how to interact with them.

Jazz Singer

Sep 26, 2014

After years of absorbing musical influences from Brooklyn and Boston, jazz singer Nadine Chase in 2007 settled in the Shenandoah Valley.

Barclay Rives describes his family as being on a riches to rags trajectory —he’s directly descended from politicians and landowners who were part and parcel of the Commonwealth’s Colonial History.

Editing The Breeze

Sep 12, 2014

Sean Cassidy is starting his second year as editor of The Breeze, JMU's seriously award-winning campus newspaper. Preparing himself to boldly go into the changing world of journalism, ready to change everything but his ethical standards.

Now he's an agnostic professor of music industry. On WMRA's The Spark, we meet Joey Taylor  AKA Ojo Taylor of the 80's-90's Christian punk band, Undercover.

Navy vet Karl Beckett amazed WMRA's Martha Woodroof by sporting the biggest hair she'd seen "since the 1970’s." Martha just had to introduce herself and ask his story.

Like A Rolling Ssam

Aug 14, 2014

Harrisonburg's foodie scene got more variety with the arrival of Mashita, a food truck serving Korean cuisine.  WMRA's Martha Woodroof chats with enterprising epicurean, Mikey Reisenberg.  

Tomato Guru

Aug 8, 2014

How does one pick a bushel of tomatoes without kneeling? It depends on how they're strung up. Though he'd humbly disagree, many Harrisonburg folks think that Singers Glen farmer, Marlin Burkholder, knows all there is to know about growing tomatoes. 

Bob Driver!

Aug 1, 2014

Homegrown bluesman, regional acoustic guru, musician-booster  and long-ago owner of the legendary Little Grill:  Bob Driver. Bob chats with WMRA's Martha Woodroof about some 'a this and some 'a that.

A chat with self-described "Author, Poet, Spoken Word Artist, Motivational Speaker, & Artist" Angela Carter.

We meet Luke Frazier, Fairfax Symphony Orchestra's New Principal Pops Conductor, who premiers 2 new programs July 25th and 26th at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs. One  explores the Civil War through period music, journal entries, speeches, and historical accounts.

Charles Marsh, the acclaimed author of Reclaiming Bonhoeffer discusses his new book, Strange Glory: A life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which the Wall Street Journal calls “truly beautiful and heartbreaking.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and  anti-Nazi dissident who was executed by the Nazis just weeks before the end of the war in Europe.

This time on the Spark, Martha speaks with audio book producer Paul Heitsch.

In 1978, she was in the vanguard of female pastors (being only the second-ever ordained Presbyterian woman in her state). Ann Held remembers the long and winding road she took to first become a pastor, back in the 1970's when there weren’t many women in the field. 

HOOs Cryin' Now?

May 30, 2014

WMRA's Martha Woodroof meets longtime JMU Women's Basketball coach and vanquisher of Wahoos, Kenny Brooks.

Marvin VanRoane Jr

May 23, 2014

He sold pizzas. He sold drugs. He did time. Now Marvin VanRoane Junior hopes to turn his life around with art. WMRA's Martha Woodroof chats with the newly self-made artist behind the "Urban Art Exhibition" posters which have been popping up in parts of Virginia. 

Silent film wasn't silent: a theater keyboardist would play along to the on-screen action. Ben Model is a professional film accompanist for MoMA and numerous historic theaters. WMRA's Martha Woodroof meets Ben and learns about the process of making DVD music for long-lost silents which are now being digitized and seen for the first time in almost a century.

Updating Organs

May 9, 2014

Dan Smith of Crimora services pipe organs and also can hybridize them with 21st Century digital technology.

Miller's Music

May 2, 2014
AIM Studios of Virginia / Allen Moore

Dawn Miller grew up listening to her parents play music. So, naturally,  she started making music as soon as she was old enough to carry a tune.

Pages