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.

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.


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."


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.)


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.