Nathan Irwin

Program Director

Nathan Irwin has been WCBU’ s Program Director since 2001. Prior to that, he was a talk-show producer and announcer for New Hampshire Public Radio. His first radio job was KFJM-FM in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He grew up in upstate New York, Wisconsin and Karachi, Pakistan. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in political science.

Outside the studios, Nathan spends most of his time as an actor and singer. He has performed with Corn Stock Theatre, Peoria Players and the Bradley Community Chorus.

Ways to Connect

Peoria Area Civic Chorale

This week, we're talking with Mark Grizzard, from the Peoria Area Civic Chorale, about their spring concert, "Music of Our Homeland." The program draws from range of American musical traditions -- folks songs, gospel, bluegrass and contemporary pop. Grizzard talks about some of the individual pieces, and about what ties them together. Performances are Saturday night at 7:30, and Sunday afternoon at 2:30, at First Federated Church in Peoria.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. They've added an additional concert to their 2013-14, featuring a return appearance by soprano Barbara Padilla. Padilla has performed with the HFO. For this concert, she'll be presenting material from her forthcoming CD. The concert is Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

Illinois Central College

Illinois Central College closes its current theatre season with Humpty Dumpty,” which uses the children’s nursery rhyme as a metaphor for contemporary life. Stan Strickler has this review for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League of Peoria. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall”

This week, we;re talking with Mary Rous, about the Arts in Education Spring Celebration. Now in its 29th year, the program spotlights the performing arts programs in local schools with performances and exhibits at the Peoria County Courthouse Plaza. The Spring Celebration continues weekdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., through May 23rd.

Peoria Symphony Orchestra

This week, we're talking with banjo virtuoso and multiple-Grammy-winner Bela Fleck. He's performing his composition "The Imposter," a concerto for banjo and orchestra, with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra in their concert on Saturday night. He talks about the piece itself, the story behind its composition, and his wide-ranging musical career and collaborations.

 

Peoria Art Guild

We're talking with Josh Cox, Exhibitions Coordinator at the Peoria Guild, about two current exhibits: "Between the Void" by Mel Cook, and "Memorial" by Angela Inez Baldus. Cox says both artists bring novel approaches to traditional genres, such as portraits and landscapes. Cooks incorporates other media and thick brush strokes into her paintings; Baldus bases her portraits on people and stories she's drawn to. Both shows continue through April 30th.

Sandy Fisher

This week, we're talking with Sandy Fisher about "Beginnings" -- an exhibit of her work -- at Exhibit A Gallery, at Junction City Shopping Center in Peoria. Fisher talks about her choice of medium, her collaboration with gallery owner Barbara Milaccio, and about the inspiration behind some the works on display. The exhibit opens with a reception Friday night at 5:00 p.m.. It continues through April 28th.

Corn Stock Theatre

This week, we're talking with Alex Larson, director of Corn Stock Theatre's production of "Superior Donuts." He talks about why he chose the script, about the subjects the play addresses, and the actors he cast to play the two principal roles. "Superior Donuts" continues with performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Corn Stock Winter Playhouse.

Peoria Players Theatre

The play, “The Miracle Worker” re-tells the story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan. Douglas Oakey has this review of a production at Peoria Players Theatre, for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

Peoria Players Theatre dusts off William Gibson’s “The Miracle Worker” this spring, directed by Charles Killen.  Good news: The play retains all of its charm and emotional power. 

Illinois Central College

This week, we're talking with Jacob Colgan, about "An Evening with Fred." The event honors Peoria's Fred Stobaugh, who became a YouTube sensation, and the oldest songwriter to make the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with his song, "Oh Sweet Lorraine." Colgan talks about discovering Stobaugh through a songwriting contest, and about the love story that inspired the song. The event also features performances by the ICC Vocal Jazz Ensemble, the Larry Harms Trio and others. It takes place Saturday night at 7:00 at the ICC Performing Arts Center in East Peoria

Peoria Players Theatre

This week, we're talking with Charles Killen, director of Peoria Players Theatre's upcoming production of "The Miracle Worker." He talks about his own history with the play, about casting the two principal roles, and about the subject matter of the show remains relevant in 2014. "The Miracle Worker" runs March 14th through 23rd at Peoria Players.

Illinois Central College

The musical “Working” presents a multi-faceted look at work and its role in American life. A production of the musical is now on stage at Illinois Central College. Marty Lynch has this review for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League of Peoria. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

Bradley University Theatre

This week, we're talking with Egla Birmingham, director of Bradley University Theatre's production of "Clybourne Park." Set in the same house as "A Raisin in the Sun," the play offers a perspective on how race and family have changed over the past fifty years. Birmingham talks about what she finds appealing in the script, and about working with young actors to bring the text to life. "Clybourne Park" continues through Sunday, March 9th.

This week, we're talking with Cindy Hoey, Corn Stock Theatre Manager, about their production of "Art." The play tells the story of three friends, whose friendships are upended when one of them acquires a piece of modern art. She talks about the three actors who make up the cast, and about what the show has to say about both art and relationships. She also talks about an art exhibit Corn Stock is hosting in conjunction with the production.

The purchase of a piece of modern art escalates into a conflict among three friends, in the play “Art.” A production is now on stage on Corn Stock Theatre. Douglas Oakey  has this review for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto, about "Romance," tonights concert with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Stelluto talks about striking  a balance between large, orchestral pieces on the program and smaller works performed by a jazz combo. He also talks about working with soloists Linden Christ and Ryan Lanning to select the music in the concert. And he talks about some of his own favorites -- from Nat "King" Cole and Billy Eckstine, among others.

Peoria Players Theatre

This week, we're talking with Chip Joyce, who plays Fagin in Peoria Players' upcoming production of the musical "Oliver!" Joyce says it's one of a handful of roles on his "bucket list." The role requires a fair amount of stage makeup, and adopting a specific voice and gait. "Oliver!" opens tonight, and runs through February 16th at Peoria Players Theatre.

Nathan Irwin and Suzette Boulais talk with Roberta Koch about "Seasonings," a multi-media presentation at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. A group of actors will read from essays and columns by Jerry Klein, longtime columnist for the Peoria Journal-Star. The essays, which reflect on the changing seasons in Central Illinois, will be accompanied by local photographs by Joe Couri. "Seasonings" will be performed Sunday, February 9th at 2:00 p.m. in the Giant Screen Theatre.

Randy Witte

This week, we're talking with Randy Witte about "The Monkey Project," a multi-year effort to collect drawings, paintings and sketches of monkeys. Participants have included celebrities like Betty White and Jack Black; artists and filmmakers; and notable Peoria residents. An exhibit at the Contemporary Art Center features 30 works drawn from his collection of more than 900. It runs through February 7th.

Corn Stock Theatre

The play, “A Piece of My Heart” presents a different perspective on the Vietnam War, telling the stories of six women who served. Douglas Oakey has this review of a production at Corn Stock Theatre, for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

Corn Stock Theatre

This week, we're talking with Cindy Hoey, manager of Corn Stock Theatre.  Their latest production, "A Piece of My Heart," recounts the stories of six women during the Vietnam War. Hoey talks about the cast director Amy Williams has assembled for the production, about the play's resonance at a time when more women are involved in and affected by wartime service, and about the theatre's desire to stage a production with multiple strong roles for women. "A Piece of My Heart" opens Friday night, and continues through January 26th.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, talks about the orchestra's upcoming concert, "Vienna to Broadway," which traces the musical evolution from Viennese waltzes and light opera to the Broadway stage. The concert features a return performance from vocalist Doug LaBrecque, and newcomer Lisa Vroman. It begins Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

Sam Gappmayer is the new President and CEO of the Peoria Riverfront Museum. He talks about his plans for the museum: He hopes to make it more "nimble," to pursue programming that reflects the region and be  open to collaboration with partners across the community. He also talks about one of the Museum's current exhibits.

Peoria Area Civic Chorale

This week, we're talking with Mark Grizzard, Music Director of the Peoria Area Civic Chorale. They're presenting their annual holiday concert, "An American Family Christmas," with performances Friday and Saturday at 7:30, and Sunday at 2:30, at Five Points Washington. This is Grizzard's first season with the Chorale, and he talks about bringing his own touch to the group's signature concert. Grizzard also contributed two original arrangements to the program.

Peoria Ballet

The Peoria Ballet presents its annual production of "The Nutcracker" this weekend, with three performances at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre. The Ballet's Tamra Challacombe explains what makes "The Nutcracker" a good introduction to the art form. She also talks about what a live orchestra adds to the experience, and about some of the guest artists featured in the production this year.

Eureka College

Joseph Henry directs the Eureka College Chamber Singers in their 25th annual Christmas Renaissance Dinner this weekend. Henry talks about the program, and how it differs from other madrigal dinners in the region. The event features a new script written each year, and period music selected to tell the story of the Nativity. Performances begin at 6:00 Saturday and Sunday at the Cerf Center at Eureka College.

Illinois Central College

We're talking with Loyd Kirby, from the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center. They're presenting Chicago-based comedy troupe The Second City, with their "Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue." It's The Second City's third appearance at ICC in the last several years. The performance features improv and sketch comedy based on familiar holiday situations. The performance is Saturday night at 7:30 at the ICC Performing Arts Center in East Peoria.

photo: Bradley University Department of Music

This week, we're talking with John Jost, conductor of the Bradley Community Chorus. Their fall concert, with the Bradley Symphony Orchestra, presents settings of the "Te Deum."  Jost talks about the celebratory nature of the text has inspired many composers to "pull out all the stops," and about how the chorus and orchestra practice separately for most of the rehearsal process. The concert will be presented Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria.

This week, we're talking with Blake Stubbs, from Corn Stock Theatre. He's one of three directors in their upcoming production, "Relatively Speaking," a set of three one-act plays. He talks about the "act" he's directing, about collaborating with the other two directors and about what he's learned as a first-time director. "Relatively Speaking" runs next weekend, with performances Thursday through Sunday at the Winter Playhouse.

The 1940s film “Meet Me in St. Louis” is best known for introducing the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Peoria Players Theatre is currently presenting the stage adaptation of the film. Marty Lynch has this review for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League of Peoria. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

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