Celebrating 45 Years with WICN - CLICK HERE to view our 45th Anniversary Commemorative Brochure
Spotlight on Artists……Past and Present
As we reminisce about the many talented performers, authors and artists with whom WICN was fortunate enough to interact, we asked our on-air hosts and others to share with us some of their fondest memories.
Al Vuona (Public Eye) -- Many people may not be aware of the caliber of guests we have had at WICN over the years. One interview that stands out for me was my 1999 interview with the father of slain 10-year old Jeffrey Curley. It was a real challenge. We had Robert Curley in-studio at Chatham Street and during the entire interview I couldn’t help feeling so sorry for this dad who had lost his little boy in such a violent manner. I was very lucky to get Robert for an interview as he wasn’t doing very many. I also have fond memories of an in-studio interview I did with former Boston Mayor Tom Menino. He was such a down to earth, tell it like it is kind of guy.
Brian Barlow (Mid-Morning Jazz) -- Through a mutual friend I one day received a call from Linda Ronstadt! Imagine my shock and surprise! Linda expressed interest in creating a new radio program about the “Art of Song”. She wondered if WICN might produce and even syndicate the show. We spoke regularly over a period of a year. During one conversation I spoke of my friendship and admiration for Marian McPartland. Linda told me she loved Marian’s show, “Piano Jazz” on NPR. I asked her if she would like to be a guest on the show and Linda expressed great excitement for the possibility. I invited both of them to Worcester to record the show live at Mechanics Hall. Linda, Marian, and the crew of “Piano Jazz” spent three days with us. They rehearsed at WICN’s studios. We dined at local restaurants. The concert was a tremendous success and became the flagship show for “Piano Jazz” that year.
Marty Friedman (Sunday Jazz Brunch) -- For a number of years in December I would make a list of my top CDs for that year. For the first one I named Peter Eldridge’s CD Stranger In Town as the top CD for that year. Soon after I got a call from Peter and he told me that he was featuring my selection on his website and in other promotional material. Mark Lynch (Inquiry and former Rock Department head) – I remember traveling to a club in Boston to interview Danny Elfman, headman of the band Oingo Boingo. During the interview he revealed to me that what he really wanted to do was write music for films. I had to laugh to myself because this guy seemed crazy and looked like an elf on amphetamines. Of course he went on to write the music for most of Tim Burton’s films and is now one of the most famous composers for film.
Chet Williamson (Afternoon Jazz) – I remember getting a call from WICN’s former Jazz Music Director, Joe Zupan, while I was the Arts & Entertainment editor at Worcester Magazine to tell me that Toots Thielemans was going to be in-studio with Joe and asked if I wanted to sit in. Toots was my hero, so I said I’d be right over and I sat there for 20 minutes while Joe and Toots conversed and played music. At the end Joe thanked me for my time….he was like that.
Nick Noble (Folk Revival) -- My best memory was in 2008 when Dave Fisher and Bob Burnett of the original Highwaymen spent three hours with me on the air, talking about their success on the Billboard charts and their time in Greenwich Village during the ‘60s and beyond. They also sang “Finnegan’s Wake” a capella live on-air. It was a wonderful show. They are both gone now, but I cherish that memory.
Nick DiBiasio (Against The Grain) -- Another memorable evening took place on March 31, 2005. I was hosting 2 shows at the time, Against the Grain on Saturdays, and The Contemporary Cafe on Thursdays. I had a special show planned for our “new” performance studio with Bill Morrissey, Jon Pousette-Dart, The Blackstone Valley Bluegrass Band and The Worcester County Bluegrass All-Stars. At the last minute, a Columbia Records rep asked if I would consider having a new singer songwriter from Nashville, Jessi Alexander, in for an interview, so we added Jessi to the line-up, and I interviewed her in front of our studio audience. We sat across the front of the stage on stools - me, Jess, and her guitarist (whose name escapes me), and it was a wonderful experience.
Ed Gardella (Jazz Matinee) -- Because of my affiliation with this terrific radio station I have seen and/or interviewed many wonderful performers including Jack Jones, Steve Tyrell, Joey De Francesco, Donna Byrne, Frank Vignola, Jane Monheit, Karrin Allyson, and John, Martin and Bucky Pizzarelli, as well as many outstanding local musicians. The kick is that WICN not only reaches out to national and international performers, but makes a special effort to feature the great talents here in New England. WICN is the home of the Great American Songbook and so much more.
Tom Shaker (Soul Serenade) -- One of the first interviews on my show was soul legend Solomon Burke. This guy has played with everyone, from Otis Redding to Aretha Franklin to Ray Charles. I was incredibly nervous, but the interview went great. He was such a sweet man and even did an ID for the show, where he pronounced Worcester “Worchester.”
Mark Lynch (Inquiry and former Rock Department head) -- I got to meet some of the best alt rock acts of the time. The Stray Cats came down to the station before their gig, we baked them a cake with a hot rod on it (I think it was a ’57 Chevy) and Sheila baked them lasagna which Brian Setzer thanked her for on stage.
Pamela Hines (Live Jazz New England) -- My earliest memory of WICN was as a listener and I remember laughing while driving in the car and listening to Joe Zupan and Ed Gardella during fundraising drives. To this day I continue to learn something new every time I tune in to our current radio hosts.
Mark Lynch (Inquiry) -- My favorite story is about cosmologist Neil deGrasse Tyson. I was scheduled to interview him from NYC for my show. I called the number he had given me and got nothing and was set for a big disappointment when the station phone rang and it was Neil. He had been trying to get to his office, was stuck in traffic, pulled over and walked into a stationary store and just asked them if he could use their phone in the back room and did the interview from there. He was that kind of person.
So many hosts, artists and staff have fond memories of working with Joe Zupan (1949-2014). WICN’s On-air studio has been dedicated to his memory.
Wish you were here to celebrate 45 years with us, Joe!
Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 5:30pm
Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA
WICN is excited to present many of the region’s great artists on the same stage for one very special evening to join in celebrating 45 years of WICN Public Radio on the air and in the community.
Acclaimed speaker, humorist and author, Loretta LaRoche will MC this event.
Special musical guests include Grace Kelly, Giacomo Gates, Pamela Hines, Yoko Miwa Trio, Dale LePage, Michelle Willson, Jeff Colella, Aztec Two-Step, Mark Mandeville, Raianne Richards, Joan Watson-Jones, Chet Wiliamson, Rebecca Parris plus WICN current & former hosts.
VIP event includes food and drinks with the performers and WICN's hosts before the show. Begins at 5:30pm.
Mix N’ Mingle includes light hors d’oeuvres and cash bar with WICN’s former and current hosts and staff. Begins at 6:30pm.
Performances begin at 7pm.
Special guests include:
Loretta LaRoche,Grace Kelly, Giacomo Gates
Pamela Hines, Yoko Miwa Trio, Dale LePage
Jeff Colella, Aztec Two-Step, Chet Williamson
Michelle Willson, Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards, Joan Watson-Jones, Rebecca Parris
plus WICN current & former hosts.
For sponsorship opportunities please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
To update your email or mailing address or ask any questions about this event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.