The Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra performing under the direction of Stephen Alltop.
Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra
October 03, 2013

Are Orchestras in Crisis?

It’s no secret that classical music’s listener base has been shrinking over time, and there’s no easy answer to why. One thing is for certain, attendance at orchestral concerts is down. But what's the best way to reverse the trend? Classical musicians, conductors and fans tend to disagree.  


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MTV logo
Wikimedia Commons
August 14, 2013

Encore: I Want My MTV

Did video kill the radio star? If so, it was with a lot of help from MTV. This hour on Focus, we’ll listen to a conversation Jeff Bossert had with Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, authors of “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution.”


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Vinyl record album covers standing in a row
August 05, 2013

Encore: Record Sales Continue to Climb in US, Illinois

“Vinyl sounds warmer….it’s about the experience….I like the crackle….” Do you enjoy listening to music on a turntable? This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation about music in the 21st century and if vinyl’s “comeback” really means anything to the future of the music industry.


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Murphy Henry
August 01, 2013

Encore: Pretty Good For a Girl

We’ve all heard someone say “she’s pretty good for a girl,” and according to Murphy Henry, that’s especially true when it comes to women who play bluegrass music. This hour on Focus, Chris Berube talks with Murphy about the history of women in bluegrass.


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Murphy Henry
June 10, 2013

Pretty Good For A Girl

We’ve all heard someone say “she’s pretty good for a girl,” and according to Murphy Henry, that’s especially true when it comes to women who play bluegrass music. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Murphy about the history of women in bluegrass.


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a stack of records
Wikimedia Commons
May 02, 2013

Record Sales Continue to Climb in US, Illinois

“Vinyl sounds warmer….it’s about the experience….I like the crackle….” Do you enjoy listening to music on a turntable? We’ll talk about music in the 21st century and if vinyl’s “comeback” really means anything to the future of the music industry.


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November 09, 2012

The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Library of Congress commissioned audio recordings of amateur singers and songwriters throughout the United States. These have come to be called "field recordings," and the recordists travelled the country in search of them. Musician, recording artist, and writer Stephen Wade tells the story of thirteen of these recordings made across the United States between 1934 and 1942 in locations reaching from Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and the Great Plains. Working 18 years on this project, Wade travelled the country, seeking out the original artists, their families or friends present at the recordings and interviewed more than 200 people for the book. Most of the original artists were amateur singers or musicians who were being recorded for the first and only time; many of their famililes were not even aware that the recordings were made. And yet many of the songs have enjoyed long afterlives, influencing musicians and featuring in films. 

Stephen Wade is a musician and writer whose latest album is Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition, out on Smithsonian Folkways Records.


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