Culture Couch

WYSO is exploring the arts scene in our community with a new occasional series. It’s called Culture Couch. Have a seat.

It’s stories about creativity – told through creative audio storytelling.

From Broadway musicals to youth theatre, and graphic novels to graffiti, you’ll meet artists from across the region. We hope you’ll join us for the journey.

Culture Couch is made possible by a generous grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

Remembering Ohio Connections To The Moon Landing

Jul 19, 2019
Neil Armstrong's Pressure Suit, A7-L, A19730040000, Apollo 11, that he wore to walk on the moon July 20, 1969 in its new display case in The Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age Gallery of the National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum photo by Jim Preston / via NASA Image and Video Library

A blurry figure came on television screens all over the world on July 20th, 1969.

The astronaut, in a bulky space suit, backed down the steps of the lunar module known as Eagle. Then he made a short a hop down ----into the ashy powder on the surface of the moon. 

Neil Armstrong, a 38-year-old pilot born in Wapakoneta, Ohio was the first man on the moon- 50 years ago.

Matt Dierking organizes the Skinner Pipe Organ concerts at the Dayton Art Institute and often performs at them. A Skinner in full working order with the original pipes is a rarity these days, something akin to a Stradivarius instrument.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

One of the most interesting works at the Dayton Art Institute is a musical instrument: a pipe organ that was constructed in the Rose Auditorium 90 years ago.

It was built by Ernest M. Skinner, one of the most renowned organ makers of the early Twentieth Century.

The restoration process took years, and DAI has been celebrating by offering free concerts on select Thursday afternoons.

participants in the 2019 Transgender Singing Voice Conference
courtesy of Danielle Cozart Steele

In the last several years, many more transgender and non-binary artists have emerged onto the American cultural scene.  Recently Earlham College, 50 miles west of Dayton, held a gathering for singers called the Transgender Singing Voice Conference.  

It brought together about 200 music educators, composers and transgender and non-binary singers from all over the U.S.  

'In Service' is a reflection on the military life of Colonel Charles Young created by artist Renée Fleuranges-Valdes
courtesy of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center

Quilts traditionally provide warmth and comfort. Story quilts link these qualities with history, and there are quilts right now in Wilberforce that tell the story of a remarkable man.

Colonel Charles Young was a professor of military science at Wilberforce, a leader of the Buffalo Soldier Regiment, and the highest ranking black Army officer until his death in 1922, and that is the short list.

Photographer Bill Franz documents Dayton At Work And Play.

Dayton works. And Dayton plays. Everyday life may feel unremarkable for some. But for one volunteer photographer, it’s a wonderland of possibility.

Bill Franz has resided in Dayton for over 40 years. But in his retirement, Franz found photography. That’s when he began to really live in his hometown.

Music Director John Neely leads the Bach Society and the University of Dayton Chorale in their rehearsal for St. Matthew Passion, which retells the story of Jesus' capture, trial, and crucifixion from the Book of Matthew.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday is this Sunday, March 31st, and the Bach Society of Dayton will be performing one of his masterworks, a piece called St. Matthew Passion.

It’s been billed as “the most significant choral composition in classical music,” and with good reason.

The Schuster Center for the Performing Arts is the Victoria Theatre Association's largest space and often considered the epicenter of the downtown arts scene.
courtesy of The Victoria Theatre Association

On today’s Culture Couch, we’ll meet Ty Sutton, the new President & CEO of the Victoria Theatre Association. This evening, the VTA will be announcing its first shows of the 2019-2020 season. It will be one of Sutton’s first big moments in Dayton.

Community Voices Producer Jason Reynolds spoke to Sutton recently, amid the chaos of loading and unloading Broadway shows and ballets.

I’m sitting in the Orchestra Level of the Schuster Center with Ty Sutton. We’re watching stage hands and people in headsets run around, trying to transform a bare stage into a Broadway set.

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company opened its 50th season with the world premiere of The Bench, A Journey Into Love.
Scott Robbins

A dance company is more than graceful bodies moving across a stage; it’s also the people behind the scenes making sure the artists can create.

The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) has been presenting dance “rooted in the African American experience” for half a century. DCDC has weathered the ups and downs of the performing arts in a small Midwestern city for a long time.

DCDC dancers in rehearsal
Scott Robbins / via DCDC

Back in October, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Ohio’s oldest modern dance company, opened its 50th season with a world premiere of a full-length ballet. The Bench, A Journey into Love was all about family. 

It told the story of a pair of lovers and their three children through movement, voice, and an original jazz score. 

Juan Manuel Fluxà / Flickr Creative Commons

The Mars Insight Lander has been sending outstanding images of the Red planet back to Earth, and anyone who watches the night skies knows that Mars is visible with the naked eye in December just after sunset in the southwest.

But using a telescope reveals even more of the heavens and  experienced stargazers know what a miraculous and highly technical instrument it is. 

Community Voices producer Jim Kale has met a man from southwest Ohio who makes telescopes and traveled to the rural countryside near the tiny town of Philo, Illinois to meet him.