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.

Dance China

Jun 27, 2013

JMU Dance Professor Shane O’Hara just got back from China, where he and a bunch of his students taught –and learned– some new steps. 

Some people are born "techies" --as a kid Renee and her dad electrified her dollhouse (see photo). Today she makes websites. 

Think of Betty Mooney as Charlottesville’s "Queen Mum" of massage therapy.

Make compost?  A sort of mid-life crisis turned Eric Walter into a professional composter. 

Creepy Junk Shop Story

Jun 18, 2013

Terry Ward tells about his favorite thrift store --a creepy place that gets one thinking about mortality.

What do you do when the Hells Angels* and the Chicago Outlaws break into a bar fight all around you?  Um... leave.

Meet art-film festival organizer/ poet/ skate-head/ barkeep Paul Somers.

Battling Blooms

Jun 14, 2013

Glenna Graves talks about growing flowers –gulp– competitively. 

Music Feeds Us

Jun 13, 2013

Violist Fitz Gary is in Charlottesville to co-host the Second Annual Music Feeds Us concerts to benefit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. 

Mesmerizing hip gyration and fluid arm movement are second nature to Julia Skinner, who,  while living in Hawaii, spent many childhood hours in the obligatory hula-instruction.  Julia still hulas and shares some stories. 

Film director Robert Altman's odd connection to Martha Woodroof --who managed to not-become a Hollywood celebrity.

Area Bach Boosters

Jun 6, 2013

Long time Shenandoah Bach Festival organizers and performers join us --including Ken Nafziger, Les Helmuth, and Jeremy Nafziger. 

Odd Old Va. Maps

May 31, 2013

Bear right at the mountain-sized turkey (according to an antique map).  Off our coast on a French-made nautical chart, exaggeratedly large French warships dwarf and scare wimpy British ships.  In his new book, Mapping Virginia: From the Age of Exploration to the Civil War, map expert Bill Wooldridge notices how we once pictured our own land and how the world-beyond once pictured Virginia. 

Back to the Basics

May 23, 2013

The Spark is taking a vacation this week, but will be back next week.  In the meantime, we're presenting State of the Re:Union - Back to the Basics.

Eliza Doolittle is among the best-loved fictional flower-sellers.  Mary Jo Swartzendruber is a real flower seller --and she grows her own too.

Tomato Guru

May 17, 2013

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. 

Champion Liar

May 10, 2013

State two-time tall-tale-telling champ Mack Swift on storytelling. 

The Handley Library looks more like something out of Vienna or Dresden than Winchester, Virginia. Architectural historian Richard Guy Wilson 

Staunton photographer Pat Jarrett has moved on from spot news coverage for the Staunton News Leader to his own brand of “nonfiction visuals.” 

Storyteller Mack Swift appeared on The Spark.  Here is his rendition of "Jack and the Old Conjure Man":