Gina Gambony

Host/Producer of Communique, Outreach, & Pinch-Hitter

Gina Gambony hosts and produces Communique, WHQR's weekday interview segment. Communique can be heard weekdays on 91.3 at 8:50am & 4:44pm and on 92.7 at Noon. Gina has been a member of WHQR since 1998 and began hosting Classical Music, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered  for the station in 2013.

Gina earned her B.A. with Honors in Philosophy & Religion after studying at University of North Carolina Wilmington and completing a year of advanced study at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Philosophy Institute (Belgium). She is also a certified English and Social Studies teacher for secondary students. Prior to working at WHQR, Gina spent her time primarily in the non-profit realm, including Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts (Director of Education & Outreach), UNCW Office of Cultural Arts (Director of House/Audience Services), Corvallis Arts Council (Teaching Artist & Arts Integration Specialist), and Dreams of Wilmington (Teaching Artist). She also taught for Cape Fear Community College, plus English and Drama in local middle schools. In 2010, she brought the first large-scale puppet festival to Wilmington as the Director of the Port City Puppet Festival, which earned the designation as the #1 Arts Event in 2010 by Wilmington Star News. Gina is a co-director and founder of Wilmington's first theatre company for people with developmental disabilities: Theatre for All! 

Gina has used her voice for commercials, cartoons, storytelling, puppetry, and theatrical productions since childhood. She's delighted to use the skills and experience acquired through her work in public service and the arts to be a part of the WHQR team. She won 2nd place in KCRW Santa Monica's International 24-Hour Radio Race in 2016 in her independent audio enterprise. You can listen to her winning piece here

Ways to Connect

In March, we celebrated Bach's birthday with our "Bach Lunch." What fun we had, and what a treat to have classical lovers and the classical-curious visit at lunchtime to hear a mini-concert. We've decided to continue the practice-so join us at Noon on Friday, June 9th at WHQR. Three guest musicians from the Port City Music Festival will perform for us: Luigi Mazzocchi (Violin), Kyle Engler (Mezzo Soprano), and Daniel Lau (Piano).

For the final episode in our poetry binge on Communique, we have 3 poems from 3 authors: Emily Louise Smith, publisher at Lookout Books and UNC Wilmington professor; Oskar Gambony-Steding, Creative Writing student and tutor at UNC Asheville; and Aurora Shimshak, MFA student at UNC Wilmington and Managing Editor at Ecotone. Listen to these poets read their works above; see the text (plus 2 extras) below.

Please note that poems lose their formats in this story.

Academy of American Poets

Barbara McKenzie says everyone has a magical NPR moment-when you hear something on NPR that just knocks you off your feet and makes a huge impact on your mind, your heart, even your life. That moment for Barbara came when she heard poet Samuel Menashe on NPR's Weekend Edition. He was being interviewed because he received the Poetry Foundation's Neglected Masters Award. This sent Barbara, a concert pianist, into the world of composing. She composed a song cycle to bring sound to 11 of Menashe's poems. She hadn't composed before-and she hasn't composed since. Hear a short interview with Barbara above and a longer one below, along with her compositions. 

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Continuing our poetry focus this week: we invited recent MFA in Creative Writing graduate Ashleigh Bryant Phillips in to talk about her work in poetry. Ashleigh grew up in rural Northampton County on the North Carolina/Virginia border; she is heavily influenced by her roots there-simultaneously heavy and ephemeral as that way of life fades away. Listen above to hear Ashleigh talk about the family ties and hear her read her poem, "Hard Biscuits." See three of Ashleigh's poems below.

Port City Music Festival

The first notes for the 9th Annual Port City Music Festival will ring out on Sunday, June 4, kicking off more than 7 performances over 8 days-over 30 pieces of music. Tickets are not needed for the performances-except Kenan Chapel at Landfall because of space-and all performances are free. The Kenan Chapel at Landfall tickets are available at the Northeast Library (they go fast). Here is the basic performance schedule; see the full schedule, including pieces and performers, here

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Alan Ginsberg said that poetry is “the one place where people can speak their original human mind.” As a late spring indulgence, the next few Communique stories will listen to that original mind, hearing from poets (and a musician inspired by a poet). Our first guest is Anna Lena Phillips Bell; she just published her debut collection of poetry, Ornament, the recipient of the Vasser Miller prize in poetry.

Wilmington Art Association

Wilmington Art Association is sponsoring the Silver Arts Exhibit and competition again. Over 400 pieces of work are in the exhibit and most are for sale. The exhibit is only open for 3 days at The Art Works: Friday, May 26, 10:00am-9:00pm; Saturday, May 27, 10:00am-4:00pm; Sunday, May 28, Noon-4:00pm. Listen to Susan Buteau from the Wilmington Art Association talk about the exhibit above and see pictures below.

Wilmington Boys Choir

The Wilmington Boys Choir is performing one more time before summer, on Saturday, June 3 at Winter Park Presbyterian Church at 7:00pm. The concert is free and followed by a reception. Listen to Director Ronnie Wise talk about how the Choir was reformed after a 15+ year hiatus and about the concert; read a transcript below. 

asafeplacetogo.org


A Safe Place helps victims of sex trafficking by providing a safe house, counseling, and transition to an independent life. The group holds a yearly fundraiser, coming up on Friday, August 11 at 1:00 at Coastline Conference Center. Tickets go on sale June 1st; A Safe Place seeks sponsors for the event. Listen above to Board Member Sena Preziosi talk about the organization and read an extended transcript below. 

Humanity-Now.org

Four Wilmington women have joined forces (and funds) to help relieve the suffering of refugees stuck in limbo in Greece. These women travel to Greece every few months to spend money they collect on direct refugee relief. All administrative and travel expenses are paid by the women themselves. Their organization is called Humanity Now. Three of the women-Dana Sachs, Carol Atwood, and Jennifer Maraveyias-joined us in the studio; the fourth is Stephanie Meyers. 

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I figured it couldn't hurt to ask Pat Hairston, the Program Director for Canines for Service, about my Chihuahua, Bela. Could she do anything useful? It turns out a service dog needs to weigh at least 60 pounds and measure 23 inches at the shoulders to accomplish the 90 tasks a service dog is trained to do. So Bela is out. Luckily, Pat Hairston and Program Coordinator Colleen Vihlen find plenty of dogs to train. Because the demand for service animals is so high, what they really is more trainers. A Training Program (for humans) is coming up on July 10th; the application deadline to enroll is June 1. 

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How did two humanitarians end up owning and managing a donut cafe? I wondered, so I invited the owners of Wilmington's The Donut Inn to the studio for a chat. Matt Anlyan and Allen Renquist had a lot to say about the kind of outreach a business like theirs can do; listen to an excerpt from Renquist above.

Invisible Wounds of War

Invisible Wounds of War is a project that invites veterans and active duty soldiers to write about injuries that are hard to see-and sometimes easy to hide. Jen Johnson is the Director; she is a Licensed Professional Counselor, but she stresses that this project is not a counseling session. Instead, it's about expression through writing and photography; Jen sees herself as a facilitator. Two Workshops are coming up to participate in the project for veterans and active duty military: Writing Workshop is Saturday, May 20, Noon-4:30pm. Photography Workshop is Saturday, June 10, Noon-4:30pm. 

Ariel Schmidtke

Nearly a year ago, aerialist, acrobat, and contemporary circus performer Ariel Schmidtke premiered an intimate solo show called A Length of Rope. Then she left for Alaska, where she's been refining the piece and preparing for a tour. That tour is underway and Ariel is back in Wilmington to present A Length of Rope again-this time with a fellow performer named Strangely and opening acts by local performers. The highlight of the show is Ariel's rope and trapeze acrobatics that tell the story alongside music and shadow puppetry. 

Wilmington Symphonic Winds

Dr. John LaCognata conducts the final concert of the 2016-17 season for Wilmington Symphonic Winds: From the Sea​. The highlight of the concert is Francis Mcbeth's powerful piece, Of Sailors and Whales, featuring sound and song springing straight from Melville's Moby Dick. The concert is Sunday, May 21 at Kenan Auditorium at 4:30pm. Listen to Dr. LaCognata talk about all the music above. 

Darren Mulvenna

Wilmington artist Darren Mulvenna has a fundraising exhibition hanging at Caprice Bistro called Bee Hope and Sea Change. Mulvenna is donating 20% of the proceeds to 2 non-profit environmental organizations: Pollinator Partnership and Plastic Ocean Project. His interest in the natural world, particularly flying insects, goes back to his childhood. Mulvenna's current art frequently incorporates butterflies-he has a particular fondness for pollinators. His first piece with butterflies is hanging at Pembroke's Restaurant (image at top). While Mulvenna is more of an artist than a jeweler, he is also creating realistic light-weight butterfly earrings called mimicri as an additional benefit to Pollinator Partnership. These earrings are made from recycled material and are as light as...a butterfly. 

WiredWizards.org

Emma Pleasants, a sophomore soon-to-be-junior at Laney High School, has been a Wired Wizard for 2 years now. Wired Wizards is a nonprofit organization affiliated with First Robotics. First gives groups like the Wired Wizards a robot challenge every year followed by local, state, regional, and national competitions. Listen to Emma talk about the project above.

Oldbound

Commentator Bridget Callahan is new to WHQR; this is her first commentary. Bridget is a writer and comedian, an editor for The Tusk magazine, and an entertainment correspondent for Star News. She makes her home in Wilmington.

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Ten teenage musicians compete this weekend in Wilmington and three world-renowned musicians judge them. UNCW hosts the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition this Friday and Saturday. Master Classes for flute, piano, and violin are scheduled for Friday morning--and while these classes are full for participants, students are invited to observe. The public is also invited to the competition rounds and to the performance Friday evening by the judges: Nicole Esposito (flute), Levon Ambartsumian (violin), and Evgeny Rivkin (piano). Listen to Ronald Sachs partner Adrian Varnum and competition Artistic Director Danijela Zezelj-Gualdi talk about the event above. 

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The mission of the Full Belly Project is to design and distribute devices that generate income and improve live in rural communities. Right now, the group has a project in Chipata, Zambia, helping farmers improve the food supply and make money through peanuts. The goal is to create 105 Universal Nut Shellers and teach farmers best practices with the crops. 

Wilmington Choral Society

Many people put their early passions on the back burner for decades while pursuing career goals and raising families. But for many, these passions return at retirement-for instance, Michael Mac was committed to music in his youth, abandoned it for years, then returned to it when he retired to Wilmington. He's a singer (and Interim Board President) with Wilmington Choral Society; he joined us along with Director Paula Brinkman to talk about the group's Mother's Day concert: A Dozen Roses-A Tribute to Mothers. Listen above.

Temple of Israel

This isn't the first time Rabbi Paul Sidlofsky has invited the non-Jewish community to the Temple of Israel. He says visitors are always welcome, but he's been setting aside special Sabbath evening services for visitors for 6 years now. Initially, the plan was to do it once a year...due to popular demand, this "Invite Your Neighbor" service is now twice a year. His aim is not to convert people, but to open up communication with the community. He says this year, this kind of outreach is more important than ever.

Big Dawg Productions

Actresses Chris Brown and Irene Slater say Big Dawg's latest play, Over the River and Through the Woods, is hilarious--but they advise bringing a tissue for the tears. They both know this show well: 10 years ago, they played the parts they play now (grandmothers Emma and Aida), then opposite grandfathers played by Donn Ansell and Frank Capasso. Both Donn and Frank have passed away since. Listen above to hear Chris and Irene talk about the poignancy of the show itself and their own emotional journey performing it again.

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Cameron Art Museum has a monthly family art program called "Kids at CAM," but this month, the program is more like "festival at CAM."  It's called Summer Roll-Out, and several artists will give demonstrations and invite children and adults to participate in a variety of activities. It's Saturday, May 6, Noon-3:00pm. This is a kick-off for the camps, workshops, and classes for youth and adults offered this summer. See a list of activities and artists below, and listen above to Georgia Mastroieni, Director of Youth and Family Education, and Donna Moore, Museum School Director, talk about making art with adults and kids.

Erin Whittle/Forward Motion Dance

Dancer, choreographer, and organizer Tracey Varga presents the 16th Annual Art Sensation this weekend. This yearly celebration of dance and music for a cause is produced by Varga's company, Forward Motion Dance. The beneficiary of funds raised this year is Cape Fear River Watch. The first act of the show features musical guest Port City Trio. The second act is a variety of dance performances, from ballroom to ballet to belly dancing. Tracey Varga and Port City Trio percussionist, Woody Dobson, joined us; listen above.

capefearhabitat.org

Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity (CFHH) is celebrating 30 years and Executive Director Steve Spain is planning a celebration for the fall. But first, CFHH holds its annual signature breakfast fundraiser-the Golden Hammer Breakfast-this Tuesday morning, May 2, 7:30am-9:00am at the Wilmington Convention Center. The breakfast is free, but Steve Spain hopes to inspire everyone to donate to the cause. Listen above to hear Spain talk about the breakfast and his reason for believing so strongly in this work. Below is an extended interview transcript.   

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Friday, 4/28 is 4th Friday Gallery Walk in downtown Wilmington, which includes the closing reception for the exhibit Line & Paper in WHQR's MC Erny Gallery. Line & Paper features works by 2 artists: Lori Joy Peterson and Susan Dade, both inspired by fashion in their art. Peterson's first works were landscapes (plus kittens and puppies), but eventually her focus came to drawing and making collages of women, particularly high-fashion women. Dade had a long career as a fashion illustrator in New York, but she started painting more landscapes since retiring to North Carolina. Listen to them talk about their art above.

capefearchorale.org

This weekend, the Cape Fear Chorale presents Great Choruses from Masterworks, its spring concert featuring music from over 200 years of choral repertoire-from Haydn and Bach to Orff. Singers Gina Vanderwal (also a board member) and Kevin Ulisnik joined us in the studio; listen above to hear them talk about the music and the rehearsal process. This free concert is Saturday, 4/29 at 7:30pm and Sunday, 4/30 at 3:00pm at Winter Park Baptist Church.

Blockade Runner Resort

The U.S. Green Building Council is an organization committed to sustainable design, construction, and operation of structures. The Cape Fear Branch of the national organization holds its annual gathering this Friday, April 28 at the Blockade Runner in Wrightsville Beach, 11:30am-2:00pm. The theme this year is Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality: Balancing Economics & Ecosystems. We spoke with Dr. Hans Vogelsong, a scientist with the Institute for Coastal Science and Policy at ECU. Vogelsong is one of the keynote speakers for the event; he'll talk about Positive Economic Impact as an Ecosystem Service

Homes of Hope, India

 Paul Wilkes is a writer, philanthropist, and founder of Homes of Hope India, building orphanages, schools and medical facilities for abandoned and neglected girls. He's the author of 21 books, most recently Your Second to Last Chapter: Creating a Meaningful Life on Your Own Terms. Wilkes will speak about his successes and failures in finding meaning in his life Wednesday evening, 4/26, at St.

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