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Carla Eckels / KMUW

A New Take On A Holiday Classic: Ballet Wichita Modernizes 'The Nutcracker'

Ballet Wichita’s annual performance of "The Nutcracker" premieres on Friday -- but it won’t be the same show you’ve seen in the past. It's "The New Nutcracker". Guest Artistic Director Karen Brown and Director and Choreographer Sean McLeod are bringing some new moves to the holiday classic.

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For the first time in decades, a new conductor will lead the orchestra at Friday's premiere of Ballet Wichita's "The New Nutcracker."

For 20 years Wesley DeSpain performed as a clarinetist in the production under longtime conductor Jay Decker. It was Decker who recommended DeSpain to Ballet Wichita.

During a recent rehearsal, DeSpain said the most exciting part is how all the various art forms come together to create a mesmerizing effect for the audience.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Ballet Wichita’s annual performance of "The Nutcracker" premieres on Friday -- but it won’t be the same show you’ve seen in the past. It's "The New Nutcracker".  Guest Artistic Director Karen Brown and Director and Choreographer Sean McLeod are bringing some new moves to the holiday classic.                                                    

Kansas News Service/ File photo

A crowded field of candidates running for governor in Kansas gained its first woman Friday with the entry of state Sen. Laura Kelly.

Andrea Ramsey for Congress

Retired lawyer and former community health nonprofit executive Andrea Ramsey announced Friday that she is dropping out of the race for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District.

Connor Tarter / flickr Creative Commons

Demand for Obamacare coverage in Kansas appears strong ahead of Friday's sign-up deadline. Despite that, enrollment through the health insurance marketplace is expected to drop.

Courtesy/Shelden Architecture

The Wichita City Council will vote Tuesday on a multimillion dollar plan to develop the 600 block of East Douglas, near Naftzger Park.

Plymouth District Library / flickr Creative Commons

The Federal Communication Commission on Thursday overturned its 2015 decision to prevent internet service providers from slowing speeds or charging more for certain content. The vote on net neutrality could affect rural communities.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai — who grew up in Parsons, Kansas — says undoing the regulation may help people in rural areas get better internet access.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service/File photo

A federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union questions the security of a multistate voter registration database championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

A recently published study by the University of Kansas is providing new insights into south-central Kansas’ recent increase in earthquake activity. 

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The U.S. Department of Agriculture faces a lawsuit that argues the federal agency must bring back a proposed rule that defined abusive practices by meatpacking companies.

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Justin Cary

Cooking With Fire: Holiday Prime Rib

Prime rib. Just saying these words makes me salivate. For many of us it brings back memories of holidays spent with families, or trips to fancy restaurants where the server would slice your portion off of the whole roast while standing right next to your table.

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Skinny Hightower is a smooth jazz artist who lives here in Wichita. The 32-year-old is receiving some huge accolades from the jazz world. His song "Taboo" peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in July.

Although he’s received favorable reviews nationally, he’s not as well known in Wichita. Hightower and his band will perform a small concert in town on Sunday.

Carla Eckels: Skinny, describe your music.

Michael Delsol

The World of Captain Beefheart unites vocalist Nona Hendryx and guitarist/producer Gary Lucas in one of the most imaginative pairings in recent memory. More than that, it serves as a tribute to Captain Beefheart, the late Don Van Vliet, the musician and painter who wore the Captain’s guys from the 1960s until the early 1980s when he retired from music. Though a figure central to the avant garde, Van Vliet, like his school friend Frank Zappa, had a deep love of R&B and soul music.

Monday 12.11.17

Night Train marks the birthday of one of the giants of jazz piano, McCoy Tyner, with music he did as a leader, along with John Coltrane, Grant Green and Joe Henderson, and in a concert special in hour two of the show. Plus new music from trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, saxophonist Eric Alexander, guitarist Jacques Lesure, and bassist Gerald Cannon.

Tuesday 12.12.17

Night Train marks a host of jazz birthdays tonight – including singers Joe Williams and Bob Dorough, saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., accordionist Richard Galliano, and pianists John Hicks and Toshiko Akiyoshi. It’s also the birthday of Frank Sinatra and there’s a special in hour two exploring his musical legacy.

Wednesday 12.13.17

Night Train highlights some big bands and large ensembles – including those led by Carla Bley, Gil Evans and Duke Ellington, along with the WDR Big Band, the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, the Great American Music Ensemble, and Randy Brecker with the WDR Big Band. Plus music from vocalists Kevin Mahogany, the New York Voices, Billy Eckstine and Ernestine Anderson, and classics from Quincy Jones, Paul Gonsalves, and Jimmy Smith with Wes Montgomery.

Thursday 12.14.17

Night Train highlights music from three artists born on this day: trombonist Dan Barrett (as a leader and with the Alden/Barrett Quintet), trumpeter Clark Terry (as a leader and with Dinah Washington), and baritone saxophonist Cecil Payne (also as a leader and with Dinah Washington, and guesting with Kenny Burrell, Kenny Dorham, and Cannonball Adderley). Plus new music from bassist, singer and composer Katie Thiroux, pianist and composer Yoko Miwa, trombonist Roswell Rudd, and the new Bird tribute, The Passion of Charlie Parker.

Blues Holiday Specials

Dec 11, 2017

December 15/17

Crossroads takes a holiday to make way for blues holiday specials from Blue Dimensions and Juke in the Back.

Courtesy photo

Wichita band Tideway released its full-length debut album in January 2017 and closes out the calendar by issuing a new EP with close friends Kill Vargas. Both bands are on the bill for a show at the Crown Uptown Saturday, Dec. 9 which also feature local act The Cavves and Salt Creek from Lincoln, Nebraska.

Tideway guitarist and vocalist Trent Gaddie (the band is rounded out by drummer Will Mercer and bassist/vocalist Scott Garver) stopped by the KMUW studios recently to chat about the new EP and Tideway’s history.

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Local Billboard-Charting Jazz Artist Prepares For More Shows, Including In Hometown

Skinny Hightower is a smooth jazz artist who lives here in Wichita. The 32-year-old is receiving some huge accolades from the jazz world. His song "Taboo" peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in July. Although he’s received favorable reviews nationally, he’s not as well known in Wichita. Hightower and his band will perform a small concert in town on Sunday. Carla Eckels: Skinny, describe your music. Skinny Hightower: It falls in the lines of smooth jazz, but I do everything I can to not do...

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