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Free concert series brings 'far out sounds' to Yellow Springs

A man sits on stage in front of a purple curtain with purple stage lights on him as he plays a percussion instrument.
Courtesy of Rob Funkhouser
Rob Funkhouser

WYSO Midday Music host Evan Miller will kick off a series of free concerts with The Outside Presents show at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10.

In this interview, Miller offers up the details about the series to WYSO’s Jerry Kenney. 

Evan Miller: This is something I have been working on for several months here at WYSO, and I've been dreaming of doing for quite some time, and I'm finally in a place where we have the resources, and we can do this. It is a free and open to the public, quarterly concert series bringing experimental music, the kind of far out sounds that my show, The Outside features on Sunday nights to the village of Yellow Springs at the Foundry Theater on the campus of Antioch College. Performers from Southwest Ohio, the Midwest, across the country maybe even. But we'll feature plenty of local musicians backing up our headlining acts, and the shows are all free.

Jerry Kenney: So, I know you play. Are you going to get to participate in this? 

Miller: No, no, which is fine. I'm fine with that.

Kenney: OK, so, tell me, when's the first concert coming up?

Miller: The first one is Sunday, Dec.10, at the Foundry Theater here in Yellow Springs. Our feature performer is from just a couple of hours away in Indianapolis. His name is Rob Funkhouser. He is an instrument builder and improviser, as well as a composer. I've rarely seen him ever play the same instrument that he built twice. He always has some fancy new contraption, and he's also maybe the funniest person I've ever met in my entire life. He is a fascinating and captivating individual and performer.

And backing him up, or completing the bill, I should say, from Cincinnati, we have Alex York, who typically makes music with analog tape. I guess I'd refer to him as like a sound manipulator of sorts, all sorts of sounds, sources making music with tape and digital files and all sorts of things. He also runs a record store and record label down in Cincinnati called Torn Light Records that does a lot of great work in the Southwest Ohio record slinging scene generally, an experimental music scene as a label, and I'm happy to have him aboard for this first show as well.

Kenney: Great. And I guess just quickly, you mentioned that you've been tossing this idea around for a while or working on this project. Why is it important to you?

Miller: It's a kind of music that I'm very passionate about. Obviously, it's considering I do this show and it's the kind of music, some of the music that I make. And making the shows free and accessible to the public was important to me. For folks like me who already go to these shows, it's cool that you can just go. But for people who might be on the fence about it or are just kind of curious or interested in seeing what this is all about, you can just go to the show and give it a shot. And if you like it, you can make a donation to the folks playing. We're certainly accepting and encouraging donations to the artists, but the accessibility of the art is the most important thing to me.

The performances will also be recorded and broadcast later on my show, The Outside. So, if you can't make it, furthering the accessibility part of it, you can still hear the performances later if you weren't able to catch it. And I should say that these shows are not able to happen without the support from a handful of local businesses, including Omega Music and the Yellow Springs Brewery and the Barrel House, and most importantly, some grant funding from the Ohio Arts Council. That's really the big seed that made this grow into this thing that's finally becoming real. So, I'm looking forward to getting this series finally started. It's been a long time coming over this calendar year. I'm really excited to finally get the first one out there and really, really excited to get more concerts in 2024.

Kenney: Evan Miller, host of The Midday Music on WYSO and host of The Outside. We've been talking about the Outside Presents series of concerts. Coming up, we've got more information on our website at wyso.org. Evan, thanks so much.

Miller: Thank you, Jerry.


Jerry began volunteering at WYSO in 1991 and hosting Sunday night's Alpha Rhythms in 1992. He joined the YSO staff in 2007 as Morning Edition Host, then All Things Considered. He's hosted Sunday morning's WYSO Weekend since 2008 and produced several radio dramas and specials . In 2009 Jerry received the Best Feature award from Public Radio News Directors Inc., and was named the 2023 winner of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Best Anchor/News Host award. His current, heart-felt projects include the occasional series Bulletin Board Diaries, which focuses on local, old-school advertisers and small business owners. He has also returned as the co-host Alpha Rhythms.