Photos from the Fall Pledge Drive!

We’re in the midst of our Fall Pledge Drive, and of course it’s hectic fun here at the radio station… but we can still share our behind-the-scenes perspectives with photos!

So far, we’ve had visits from Bob Buckalew (of Buckalew Media, and also an esteemed KMFA Board member), as well as Ann Hume Wilson, Executive Director of Conspirare. (Ann brought tickets with her and offered them as pledge incentives while she was on the air… score!)

We’re expecting more visits from Austin Arts leaders…. I’ve overheard the Kevin Patterson (Executive Director of the Austin Lyric Opera) might stop by, as well as Maestro Peter Bay (Conductor and Artisitc Director of the Austin Symphonic Orchestra).  You can bet they will probably bring tickets with them to offer as incentives to pledge, so stay tuned to KMFA, 89.5!





~posted by Alison @ KMFA 🙂

Traveling Miles… or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, by Dianne Donovan

~ posted by by Dianne Donovan, KMFA announcer

I had a little time away from my Austin home (and KMFA) this summer. For the most part, I was visiting family and friends in the Northeast. However, I heard about one very special exhibition that I just had to take in: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts was presenting a multi-media retrospective of the jazz icon, trumpeter, composer, and artist, Miles Davis. As a huge jazz fan, singer, producer/host of jazz radio programs for over 25 years, this really piqued my interest.

“We Want Miles”: Miles vs. Jazz — is an exhibition from Paris that was designed by the Cité de la Musique, Paris, with support by Miles Davis Properties, LCC.

I wondered, how does one capture a lifetime of art from such a complex man who was constantly re-inventing himself? Also, how do you fill the museum with pieces from a man whose medium was, primarily, music?

The exhibition was divided into eight parts in chronological order, from Davis’s early days in St. Louis and New York and Paris, through his ground-breaking recordings in the late ’50s and 60s, to his electric days and to his superstar status, that status beyond anything the jazz world had previously produced.

Each part of the exhibition featured historic photographs, magazine articles, and letters.  There were classic album covers, sheet music with notes about the notes, and of course, music piped throughout, with dedicated listening rooms. The final room featured some of Miles’s own paintings and instruments used on some classic recordings.

While looking at some of the early photographs, I was lured into another room by some very familiar music. Isn’t that “Will O’ The Wisp” by Manuel de Falla…oh yes, from the album, “Sketches of Spain,” a masterwork from Miles Davis and the great arranger, Gil Evans, the focal point of which is a reworking of the adagio movement from the “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Joaquin Rodrigo. This wasn’t your everyday jazz album, but as Miles put it, “It’s music, and I like it.”

That attitude served Miles Davis and music well, as the musician was constantly reaching for new sounds, ignoring barriers, both social and musical.

One part of the exhibit captured museum-goers in a kind of state of suspended animation. It was in the room that featured information and music from the recording, “Kind of Blue.”  This is the quintessential jazz album. It is also the best-selling jazz album of all time.  I’ve read countless articles and one entire book about the making of “Kind of Blue.” The extraordinary effect that this masterpiece has always had on listeners was once again on display, as one by one, folks stopped looking at the exhibit and just sat quietly, allowing the music to flow over them.

Another highlight was a film clip of Teo Macero, talking about producing Miles’s records. In all, Macero produced 99 Miles Davis recordings, including “Kind of Blue.” Their’s was a prolific if sometimes combative relationship.

Miles Davis was endlessly talented, outspoken and soft-spoken, often controversial and always interesting. He influenced not only jazz, but in tearing down musical boundaries, he helped to pave the way for all musicians who do not wish to be confined by musical parameters.

~Dianne Donovan is KMFA’s midday announcer and host/producer of Classical Austin. You can listen to a new episode of Classical Austin every Wednesday at 8pm, on KMFA-FM, 89.5.

Texas Choral Consort’s “Nature in Harmony”

~posted by Jules Brandon, KMFA announcer

photo: Robert Kelly

The Texas Choral Consort and their Artistic Director, Brent Baldwin, never cease to amaze me.  I had the privilege of attending their most recent concert entitled Nature in Harmony on August 13th at the Northwest Hills United Methodist Church.  Nowhere else in Texas can regular folks like you and me have the opportunity to sing in concert with a professional orchestra.  And Brent creates magic that dazzles with this marriage of music and voices.  You would never, ever guess that what you are hearing is an amateur and un-auditioned chorus.  That’s right, if you want to sing, they want you in their chorus! 

photo: Robert Kelly

They performed a beautiful mix of Vaughan Williams, Copland, and Thomspon as well as a piece by contemporary composer Nancy Bloomer Deussen.  If you missed it, you have plenty of  time to gear up for their next performance, The Sounding Joy. This is their holiday concert to be performed on December 11th, and this concert also marks the beginning of the their 2010-2011 season.  You can find all the details at
Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to begin your celebration of the holiday season!
~Jules Brandon is the host of KMFA’s Sunday Matinee. You can read more about KMFA hosts on our website.

Last Night of the Proms!

~posted by Carmel O’Donovan, KMFA part-time announcer

I love living in Austin. Each and every day I am blown away by the beauty of and accessibility to the countryside. I so enjoy getting to know the people here: such an eclectic mix and so entertaining.

All is good, but I have to confess every now and then I do get a little homesick for the UK. You know, all those typically English things, like a really good cup of tea (aka “a cuppa”), home-baked scones with cream and jam, or a really good cucumber sandwich (no crusts of course!).

And so it is that I am very excited that a little bit of British tradition is headed our way. Even more music and fun will be upon us in under two weeks. The Last Night of the Proms of course! For those unfamiliar with this institution, the Proms are a series of classical music concerts held over an 8-week period every summer, mainly in the The Royal Albert Hall in Hyde Park, right in the heart of London. They are called the Proms because people used to walk about (promenade) during the concerts. That is now limited to those people lucky enough to buy the cheaper tickets for the area at the front of the very grand auditorium, so they are “up close and personal” with the orchestra and can really get in the mood – they are the “prommers.”

Now, the Last Night of the Proms is to my mind the icing on the cake, as it is so far beyond your typical (dare I say it?) rather stuffy classical event. Oh my! The Prommers really get in the mood. They wear outrageous clothing, always in red white and blue, and they paint their hair, their faces – anything goes. The whole auditorium will be a sea of Union Jacks, and the crest of pride and patriotism can be simply overwhelming. Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory never sounds so fine as at the Last Night of the Proms with thousands singing along! Rule Britannia, as well as Jerusalem – all of the great melodies literally almost lift the domed roof off the Albert Hall and across into Hyde Park. It breaks my heart to tell you that although I lived in London for over thirty years, I was only able to attend the Proms once, and never to the rowdy Last Night. Oh well – I will be tuning in on Saturday, September 11th, to our own wonderful KMFA – I will have a box of tissues to hand, but am not sure whether to go for the cup of tea or something a little stronger to steady my nerves!

I hope you listen too and enjoy what you hear. Let me know, won’t you? Cheerio for now!

Carmel O’Donovan is a part-time announcer on KMFA 89.5; you can read more about Carmel and all our Music Hosts on our website.

KMFA programs score twice on the Austin Chronicle’s “Best of Austin” list!

Here’s a newsflash: KMFA was mentioned twice in the Austin Chronicle’s “Best of Austin” List of Critics Choice selections! Here’s the write up from the Austin Chronicle website:

Sara Hessel (photo credit: Todd V. Wolfson)

Best of Austin 2010; Critics Picks, Media
Best Way To Get Thee to a Nunnery: Ancient Voices on KMFA-FM
From the haunting chants of Medieval monks and nuns, sung a cappella, to the flirty madrigals of the Renaissance and measured intensity of Baroque dance music, Ancient Voices brings church to us on Sundays. On KMFA-FM 89.5, at 9am and 4pm, this show transports Austin through early Europe’s extraordinary tapestry of sound. Peace and a sense of the sacred emanate from the radio. Listeners are gently guided through history by host Sara Hessel’s timeless voice.

Best of Austin 2010; Critics Picks, Arts & Entertainment
Best Free Course in Film Appreciation: Film Score Focus on KMFA-FM
Sure, movies are a feast for the eyes, but don’t forget the ears. Brian Satterwhite sure doesn’t. A respected film composer in his own right (including the score for Austin comedy Artois the Goat), Satterwhite hosts KMFA’s weekly program Film Score Focus, hitting just the right note with new and classic sounds, from spaghetti Westerns to Vegas glitz and the tunes accompanying classic Tex Avery cartoons. We’re all ears. 8pm Fridays; 7pm Sundays on KMFA-FM 89.5.

We’re so proud that our local programming talent has received such kind accolades! Way to go, Sara and Brian!

~ posted by Alison @ KMFA 🙂