Books & Film

A Moose Goes a-Mummering: Newfoundland's Twelve Days of Christmas

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

If you're like me, you devour books from places you visit - and want to visit - and get books for your kids, too, to devour. For nothing teaches a place like learning about it from locals - whether you're there in person, or reading their stories

This summer, we road tripped to Newfoundland from Michigan (what a drive!), and loved just about every place on our route. But Newfoundland is special. Called The Rock, it's an island full of Jellybean-colored houses, whales and puffins, and the most adorable dogs in the world - look!

Scotland's Music: A Saint Andrew's Day Tapestry

by Kerry Dexter / Nov 16, 2015 /
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As autumn turns to winter in Scotland -- a transition which certainly happens during November -- days become shorter, temperatures fall, it may begin to snow, and that snow, already in place or oncoming, may begin to stay around longer. There are changes in the quality of light as the sun hangs low in the sky, and at night stars shine brightly.

Shoot the Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

One of the pure joys in life is music - listening, playing...and conducting? Yes! As you have seen, experienced (who doesn't conduct in the car?), and loved (at your local symphony orchestra), music gets into your blood, and you can't help but let it out.

Maestro Magic -- Eric Jacobsen in Glorious Debut with Orlando Philharmonic By Josh Garrick

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In the past 11 months, Orlando has twice announced to the world that the city the world will always know as the vacation land home of DisneyWorld is ready to stand up and say, “We are MORE than a place to stay while you visit a theme park.” The first miracle event happened last November when, led by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, philanthropist Jim Pugh, and Executive Director Kathy Ramsberger, we opened the magnificently world-class Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.  

Listening to the West

by Kerry Dexter / Oct 19, 2015 /
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The Texas hill country, the high country of Alberta, the dusty backroads of rural California, the mountains of Colorado, the quiet landscapes of Montana, the forested slopes of Oregon ranges: each of these has had its part in shaping and changing and keeping alive the idea of the west in North America. So, too, the musicians who have been shaped and drawn to these places have had their part in creating, defining, and sharing ideas of these landscapes. Take a listen...

Untamed: Honesty, Power, and Reality in a Dystopian World

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Every so often, a book comes along that beautifully, powerfully reminds you of humanity. One such book is the first in a series (YAY!), entitled Untamed. Written by Madeline Dyer, this YA novel takes a look at a world that is changed - and who the changemakers are. From the start of Untamed, you're pulled into the arc of the story, as if one of the family. Then (and make note of this, so you plan for it) you won't be able to put the book down. Meals? Who needs them! Sleep? Ditto!

Undefeated: The Story of Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

There are a few things that Michiganders know, growing up. One is the beauty of a Michigan winter (good thing, because it is very snowy and cold!). Second is the incredible landscape we live in, from beaches to mountains, city to rural, and even a few islands thrown in. Another is our strong work ethic – arising from our northern European ancestors, and strengthened through winter and landscape. We honor this work ethic here, in a variety of ways.

Collaborations: Stories Told in Word and Melody

by Kerry Dexter / Aug 17, 2015 /
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Music is a collaborative art and a solitary one -- solitary at times in creation and at practice and study, collaborative with listeners, other players and singers, and at times, with musicians who are also partners in life. From the landscapes and traditions of Cape Breton, Ontario, Texas, Ireland, and Boston, among other places, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, and Matt and Shannon Heaton draw their stories told in word and melody...

Closing the book: Travels in Life, Loss, and Literature

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture


This is the most beautiful book I have ever read. It’s at once a memoir, an ode to favorite literature, a glimpse into teaching – and writing. Joelle Renstrom’s new book, Closing the book: Travels in Life, Loss, and Literature, is a work of art. 

Who Is Mr. Plutin?

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Ready for a fun, interesting read, one that crosses cultures and makes you laugh? If so, jump into Who Is Mr. Plutin?, a new novel by author Rebecca Strong. I picked it up and couldn't put it down - for here is a heroine somewhat like the rest of us, who blunders around, tries her hardest, and is stunned at the way her life has turned out. It's a tale of Russia and New York, of memory and spying, of family and money.