Gilmore Slates Concerts at Stetson Chapel

The Gilmore is scheduling two concerts on campus at Stetson Chapel and the Kalamazoo College community is invited to attend both at a discount.

First, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet will perform at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday. The world-renowned performer has recorded more than 50 albums and performs a range of solo, chamber and orchestral pieces at worldwide venues. In the 2022-23 season, he is performing with colleagues including Renée Fleming, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tilson Thomas and Emanuel Ax, and he is playing Debussy’s Préludes in Switzerland, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and throughout the U.S., including at Carnegie Hall.

Thibaudet’s recordings have received two Grammy nominations, and his 2021 album Carte Blanche features a collection of deeply personal solo piano pieces never-before recorded by the pianist. He has also worked in film, as a soloist in Dario Marianelli’s award-winning and nominated scores for Atonement, which won an Oscar for Best Original Score, and Pride and Prejudice; in Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; and in Wes Anderson’s film, The French Dispatch.

Then, Maria João Pires will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 21.

Pires launched the Partitura Project in Belgium in 2012, with the aim to encourage cooperation and social engagement among pianists, while balancing the dynamic between artists toward altruism rather than competitiveness. She will conclude her nine-day workshop for pianists with a solo and joint performance with her students. The program and participants will be announced from the stage.

Picture of pianist says The Gilmore, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, March 30
The Gilmore has scheduled a performance by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet to take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30, at Stetson Chapel.

A piano master admired for her interpretations of Chopin, Schubert and Mozart, Pires is known for her lightness of touch and vital imagination. She has devoted herself to expressing the influence of art in life, community and education. Reflecting on this philosophy, she has said, “We have a responsibility to lead our life in the best possible way, to help others and to share this planet with compassion. Music and art are the deepest expressions of our soul and the direct transmission of our universe. I think everyone is born an artist and art should be shared with all people on this planet.” 

Born in 1944 in Lisbon, Pires gave her first performance at age 4, and received Portugal’s highest award for young musicians at age 9. She gained international recognition upon winning first prize at the Brussels Beethoven International Competition, commemorating the composer’s 200th birthday in 1970. Pires has appeared all over the globe with major orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, and the Wiener Philharmoniker. 

Faculty and staff are eligible for buy one, get one free tickets to both concerts. Students are eligible for single free tickets.

Before adding tickets to your cart for the Thibaudet concert or the Pires concert on the Gilmore website, click “Promo Code” on the upper right of the ticketing page. Students should use the code KCSTU23. Faculty and staff should use the code KC23. Click “Apply Promo Code” and choose your tickets. The discount will be applied at checkout. Rush tickets will also be available with a K ID on the day of the concert when the box office opens on site. 

K’s Day of Gracious Giving is May 17

Kalamazoo College is hosting its Day of Gracious Giving on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. The annual giving day is the biggest fundraising day of the year for the College, and the entire K community is invited to come together to provide vital support for the student experience.    

Last year’s Day of Gracious Giving raised $448,353 from 1,433 donors, not including challenge matches. Contributions of all sizes supported scholarships and financial aid, faculty resources and K’s highest priorities.  

Over the last several years, the Day of Gracious Giving has been held on the same day as K’s Day of Gracious Living, a nearly 50-year Kalamazoo College tradition where student representatives select a day off, canceling classes.    

The actual date for the Day of Gracious Living—or DOGL (pronounced like doggle), as it is often referred to across campus—has always been a closely guarded surprise for students and employees, including K’s Advancement staff, who have previously planned the giving day with only a general idea of when the date might finally fall. This year, the College has decided to designate a specific date for the giving day, keeping the spirit of DOGL while adding the predictability of a more traditional giving day.  

Day of Gracious Giving benefits students in classrooms, labs and more
Contributions of all sizes toward the Day of Gracious Giving support scholarships and financial aid, faculty resources and K’s highest priorities to benefit students in classrooms, labs and more.

As for the Day of Gracious Living, it will continue to be chosen by student representatives, its date only revealed when the campus-wide email goes out and the chapel bells begin to ring, signaling to all students: set aside your books, gather up your friends and get your sunscreen and beach blankets ready.  

 “We believe that the Day of Gracious Giving encompasses the traditional spirit of DOGL—one of joy, appreciation and gratitude—whether or not it is held on the exact same day,” said Laurel Palmer, director of the Kalamazoo College Fund.  “Choosing a date ahead of time gives the College a consistent timeframe for planning and communicating about the event. We hope that this change will allow us to reach the broadest audience possible.”  

Palmer also encourages everyone in the K community to be a part of the Day of Gracious Giving, whether it’s by creating a buzz on social media to encourage participation, offering a challenge or making a donation. 

“Making a gift—of any size—on the Day of Gracious Giving helps to ensure that students are able to participate in the experiences that make the K education distinctive.” 

If you would like to give to K, please visit and place Day of Gracious Giving in the special instructions area to have your gift included as part of the day. Your contribution makes it possible for Kalamazoo College to provide brighter opportunities for K students—preparing them to shine a brighter light into the world as alumni.  

K Welcomes Rakugo Comedian, Storyteller Katsura Sunshine

A storyteller and comedian with Broadway credits will be the featured presenter at Kalamazoo College’s Kafu Lecture on Thursday, April 20, in the Dalton Theatre at Light Fine Arts.

Katsura Sunshine is one of only a few living non-Japanese masters of rakugo, a 400-year-old tradition of comic-monologue storytelling in Japan. In the practice, a lone storyteller, dressed in a kimono, kneels on a cushion while using a fan and a hand towel as props. 

To become a professional rakugoka, a storyteller must be apprenticed to a master, from whom the storyteller receives a stage name. Sunshine, originally from Canada, first was accepted as an apprentice to the rakugo storytelling master Katsura Bunshi VI in September 2008. He debuted professionally on April 26, 2009, in Singapore, and completed his three-year rakugo apprenticeship in November 2011. 

Sunshine has performed in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Slovenia, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Gabon, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia and Japan. Reviews of Sunshine’s critically-acclaimed performances, such as a 2019 review from the New York Times, say his tales and prologues are full of self-deprecating humor, placing him in scenarios where he commonly plays an outsider. Watch excerpts from his previous performances in English and Japanese at Sunshine’s YouTube channel

The Kafu Lecture was established in 1982 by an anonymous donor in honor of Nagai Kafu, an acclaimed 20th century Japanese writer. Kafu studied at Kalamazoo College during the 1904-05 academic year. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 7. For more information, email K’s Department of Japanese at

Rakugo Comedian and Storyteller Katsura Sunshine Performing
Katsura Sunshine is a master of rakugo, a 400-year-old Japanese art of comedy and storytelling. He will perform in a free show at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, in Dalton Theatre at Light Fine Arts.
Sunshine’s YouTube channel features some of his English performances of rakugo.

Enjoy Jazz, Music from the Movies

Two Kalamazoo College music ensembles are sure to excite and entertain audiences this weekend with their winter performances.

A wide variety of styles will be performed from second-line New Orleans to blues and swing when K’s Jazz Band takes the stage at 8 p.m. Friday, February 17, at the Dalton Theatre. Directed by Music Professor Thomas G. Evans, K’s Jazz Band pulls together a collection of contemporary and classic jazz arrangements to provide the participating students and the audience with an electric experience. Listeners are encouraged to dance if the music inspires them with the enthusiasm of the musicians making the band special.

At 8 p.m. Saturday, February 18, at Dalton Theatre, join the Academy Street Winds as the group pays loving tribute to legendary film composer John Williams. Led by conductor Evans, the ensemble will perform selections from Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, War Horse, Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones and more. The group is especially proud to share the stage with Music Department Chair Andrew Koehler, who will perform the violin theme from Schindler’s List.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Music Professor Thomas G. Evans to conduct Jazz Band, Academy Street Winds concerts
Kalamazoo College’s Jazz Band and the Academy Street Winds are sure to excite and entertain audiences this weekend under their conductor, Music Professor Thomas G. Evans.

K Plans Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Presenter Maxine Maxwell
Actor Maxine Maxwell

Kalamazoo College is hosting two open-to-the-public events to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2023. The theme for this year’s festivities is Centering Black Lives: Various Movements, One Purpose. Participants will better understand the past, learn about the present and move toward improving Black communities. 

Echoes of the Past by Maxine Maxwell 

11:05 a.m.–11:40 p.m. Friday, January 13, Stetson Chapel 

Echoes of the Past is a dramatic performance from Maxine Maxwell that examines what it has been like to be Black and female over the past 150 years. The event will explore history to find the turning points in the lives of five African and African American women of remarkable strength and courage. Each character comes with a concise background and narrative along with subtle costume pieces to set the stage. Attend in person or through a live stream

Maxwell, a native of St. Louis, is a graduate of Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts. As an actor, she has toured throughout the country and worked in New York as a solo artist and a member of performing ensembles. Her past credits include the national tour of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enough.  

Georgia State University Africana Studies Chair Jonathan Gayles
Georgia State University
Africana Studies Chair
Jonathan Gayles

Wakanda: Imagining Black Pasts and Futures by Jonathan Gayles 

11 a.m.–Noon Monday, January 16, Dalton Theatre at Light Fine Arts 

Jonathan Gayles, a professor and chair of Africana Studies at Georgia State University, engages the history of Wakanda and the Black Panther across a number of medias including comic books and film in Wakanda: Imagining Black Past and Futures.

With an Afrofuturist lens, he uses images and video to challenge the audience to consider the power of media that center Black life. He also considers the potential shortcomings of Wakanda that reflect continuing tensions around the articulation and understanding of Black life, even in imagined spaces.

Attend in person or through a live stream.  

Obon Festival to Feature Taiko Drums, Dancing

Obon Festival Featured Performer Ken Koshio with stretched out arms and a drum looking over a city.
Taiko Master Ken Koshio will be among the featured performers Saturday
at Kalamazoo College’s Obon Festival.

Kalamazoo College will host a Japanese cultural festival on Saturday that traditionally is held to commemorate deceased ancestors as their spirits return to visit their relatives. 

The Obon Festival, the first of its kind at K, will feature Bon dancing, Japanese martial arts and taiko drums with Japanese Taiko Master Ken Koshio, along with crafts and food. The event is presented by K’s International Percussion Ensemble, a group that features a West African ensemble and Caribbean steelpans in addition to Japanese taiko. 

K’s taiko group will perform with the Michigan Hiryu Daiko drumming group, the Japanese instrumental group Sakura and Fort Wayne Taiko. The free event will be conducted on the Quad from 2 to 5 p.m. with the Dalton Theatre in Light Fine Arts reserved as the rain site.  

For more information on this performance, contact Susan Lawrence in the Department of Music at 269.337.7070 or

WMUK interview: Hear from Ken Koshio and Carolyn Koebel of the Michigan Hiryu Daiko Taiko Drummers.

Academy Street Winds Concert Slated for Friday

Poster of a dancer says the Academy Street Winds, Thomas G. Evans conductor, Celebration and Dance, Friday October 28 2022, Dalton Theatre, Light Fine Arts Building, Free Admission, Donations Appreciated
The Academy Street Winds will perform their fall
concert at 8 p.m. Friday, October 28, at Dalton Theatre
in the Light Fine Arts Building.

Music lovers will gather at 8 p.m. Friday for a free Academy Street Winds concert at Dalton Theater in the Light Fine Arts Building.

The group, formerly known as the Kalamazoo College Symphonic Band, functions as a beloved creative outlet for woodwind, brass and percussion students. Community musicians joined the ensemble in winter 2016 to expand the group’s sound and capabilities. Director of Bands and Professor of Music Thomas Evans serves as the group’s conductor.

The theme for the fall-term concert will be “Celebration and Dance” as it features some of the great dance themes from around the world. If you can’t attend in person, listen in through a livestream on Vimeo.

For more information on the Academy Street Winds or this concert, contact Susan Lawrence in the Department of Music at 269.337.7070 or

Thompson Lecture Slates Author, Lecturer as Guest Speaker

Author, podcaster and Bates College Visiting Assistant Professor Megan Goodwin will be the
guest speaker at this year’s Thompson Memorial Lecture at 7 p.m. October 18.

An author, podcaster and Bates College visiting assistant professor of religious studies will be the guest speaker at this year’s Paul Lamont Thompson Memorial Lecture at 7 p.m. October 18 in the Hicks Student Center Banquet Room.

Megan Goodwin’s lecture is titled “Undrinking the Kool-Aid: Mis/remembering Peoples Temple.” The presentation will provide popular incorrect memories of the Jonestown Massacre and invite the audience to consider who benefits from the erasure of many Black women’s deaths at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana. The material is excerpted from Goodwin’s current book project, which is tentatively titled Cults Incorporated: The Business of Bad Religion.

Goodwin is the author of Abusing Religion: Literary Persecution, Sex Scandals and American Minority Religions (Rutgers University 2020). She earned a Ph.D. and a Master of Arts in religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; a Master of Arts in women’s studies at Drew University and a Bachelor of Science in print journalism at Boston University. Goodwin writes, teaches and produces podcasts about race, gender, sexuality, politics, popular culture and American minority religions. Her podcast, “Keeping it 101: A Killjoy’s Introduction to Religion,” is available on most podcast platforms.

The Thompson Lecture was established by a gift from the sons and daughters-in-law of Paul Lamont and Ruth Peel Thompson. A committee of alumni and friends of the College worked diligently to build the fund with gifts from those many students whose lives were enriched by Thompson’s leadership during his days as the College’s president from 1938 to 1949.

The lecture, hosted by the Department of Religion, brings to K speakers who enrich the community’s ethical understanding of its position in the larger society, beyond the College. Please note that masks are required at this event.

Free Concert Targets Environmentalism

Free concert duo Bruce Cain and David Asbury standing back to back with a guitar
Bruce Cain and David Asbury, a duo committed to environmental activism,
will offer a free concert Thursday at Dalton Theatre.

Kalamazoo College’s Department of Music is offering a free concert Thursday featuring a duo committed to environmental activism.  

Bruce Cain and David Asbury have collaborated for more than two decades on concerts of art songs for voice and guitar. Since 2011, the duo has been commissioning and performing new works in English and Spanish by composers from across the United States and beyond. At K, they will present a program titled Cantos Por La Vida, consisting of mostly new pieces for voice and guitar that are environmentally themed and written especially for them. 

The concert will feature selections from A River of Words Song Cycle, based on award winning poems by school age children in a contest sponsored by the Library of Congress; Amor Y Desventura by Mexican composer Julio César Oliva; Cantos Por La Vida by Cuban composer Eduardo Martin; and Sobre La Naturaleza by Ecuadorian composer Diego Luzuriaga. These works, which are new within the past decade, evoke the distinct groups and heritages they represent. 

The concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Dalton Theatre. For more information, contact the music department at 269.337.7070. 

Campus Begins Buzzing on Move-In Day

Each September brings a fresh start at Kalamazoo College as campus buzzes with the excitement of those joining the hive for the first time. Orientation events for first-year students and their families run throughout the week, kicking off with move-in day on Wednesday, September 7.

Be sure to catch the following highlights and opportunities on Wednesday.

Moving in

Resident assistants and First-Year Experience (FYE) mentors will be ready to welcome students at check-in tables in each residence hall from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. on September 7. Families are encouraged to arrive throughout the day, as the morning traditionally is extremely busy in the residence halls. Pick up your orientation folder from the FYE mentors, then see Residential Life staff to get your student ID and room key, check into your room and get settled. Health verification forms must be completed before check in. Students with incomplete requirements will be directed to the Health Center in the Hicks Student Center, which will be open until 4 p.m.

Information Services staff will be available in Harmon, Hoben and Trowbridge main lounges to answer questions and offer help connecting to K’s computer network from 1–4 p.m.

Resident assistants and First-Year Experience mentors will welcome students at check-in tables in each residence hall on move-in day, September 7.

Getting what you need

Stop by the information table at the Hicks Student Center atrium between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to pick up schedules and maps or get directions and answers to all your questions. The Kalamazoo College Bookstore, in the lower level of Hicks, will be open from 9 a.m. –5 p.m. and offer 20 percent off Kalamazoo College imprinted items.

Eating right

Families are welcome to have lunch and dinner on campus at the Hicks Dining Center from 11 a.m.–12:45 p.m. and 5–7 p.m. Students may use their student ID, which serves as their meal card, while families may pay at the entrance ($8.15 per person for lunch and $11.50 per person for dinner).

The Book Club Café, on the first floor of the Upjohn Library, will serve Kalamazoo Coffee, hot chocolate, tea and specialty drinks as well as grab-and-go options such as pastries, house-made salads, sandwiches and sides from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. In addition, the Richardson Room will be open from 1–5 p.m. in the Hicks Student Center, offering a variety of options including an extensive deli line, homemade soup, grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, yogurt parfaits, fruit, sweet and salty snacks and beverages.

If you want to eat off campus, ask for a list of nearby restaurants at the information table and explore Kalamazoo’s excellent restaurant scene.

Building community

First-year students are required to attend three sessions Wednesday evening. First, make your way to the Quad with your orientation folder by 7 p.m. for the Hornet Student Welcome. The College’s president, dean of students, first-year class dean, college chaplain, FYE mentors and the Office of Student Activities will welcome you to campus.

Next, meet your seminar group and FYE mentors on the Quad at 8 p.m. for introductions. Learn more about the orientation schedule for the rest of the week and get answers to your questions.

Then, meet with resident assistants and your fellow residents at 9 p.m. to talk about community expectations, living in residence halls, and college policies, and get to know your new neighbors. Trowbridge residents will meet in Stetson Chapel, Hoben residents in Dalton Theatre and Harmon residents in their building’s main lounge.

Finally, take some time to get your room set up, relax and get ready for a full day on Thursday.

But wait … there’s more!

Athletic practices for fall sports (football, soccer, volleyball, golf and cross country) have already begun and will continue throughout orientation week. A program for first-generation students and their families will also be held on Wednesday. Check your K email for an invitation and information.

We’ll keep you busy the rest of the week with social opportunities, advising appointments, shared first-year experiences and discussions, and information on a variety of important topics to help you start your first year at K. Expect to learn a lot and have fun

For more information on the orientation schedule and move-in day, visit the First-Year Experience website.