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Art & Soul: The Performing Arts - New Documentary Captures The Essence Of Ann Arbor's Community High

Donald Harrison

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the performing arts.  89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry is joined by Wendy Wright and a special guest, local filmmaker Donald Harrison, who is getting ready to preview his documentary about Ann Arbor's Community High School.

About Donald Harrison:

Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU
89.1 WEMU
Donald Harrison in the WEMU studio

Donald is an independent filmmaker and lead producer of 7 Cylinders Studio, a custom video production company in Ypsilanti, MI, which he launched in 2012.  He’s taught film & video courses at the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and The Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor.  Donald served as Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival from 2008 – 2012, growing the organization through its historic 50th season.  He currently serves on the Cultural Economic Development Committee for the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and helps program the Ypsi Experimental Space (YES).

About "Welcome to Commie High"

During the late 1960s, a wave of experimental public schools based on humanistic and anti-establishment ideas, began spreading across the United States. Community High School, situated in downtown Ann Arbor, MI and considered a “school without walls” by its founders, was challenged from its opening day in 1972.  

Credit Donald Harrison
"Welcome to Commie High"

Maligned with a bad reputation, threatened regularly with closures, it was called “Commie High” by some that questioned its merits (and proudly by many within its culture).  Fast forward twenty years later, Community High had became so popular that long lines formed to attend, culminating in a two-week camp out in 1996, and a subsequent lottery system for admission.  Today, “Commie High” remains one of the only schools from this movement to do school differently that survived and continues to evolve and thrive.



All My Sons by Arthur Miller, Purple Rose Theatre - Chelsea (Continues until June 1st)

How far will a man go to protect his family and his interests?  All My Sons shows a post-war American family in a spiral of lies, greed, love, and loss.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Igs5UGskGTc">Brigadoon by Lerner & Loewe, The Encore Musical Theatre Company - Dexter (Continues until May 19th)

The enchanting tale of an 18th century Scottish village that appears every century for one day only—and the complications that arise when it’s discovered by two 20th century Americans.


Martha Graham Dance Company – Two Different Programs

The two different programs pair Graham classics with new works created for the company by contemporary choreographers.




By David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

Nicola’s Books, May 20th - 7:00pm

The pervasive fear and paranoia that gripped America during the Red Scare of the 1950s through the chilling yet affirming story of his family’s ordeal, from blacklisting to vindication.


Mr. B's Blues and Boogie Celebration

Saturday April 27th - 7:30 PM at the Ark

Special Guests: Luca Filastro (Rome, Italy), Philippe LeJeune (Toulouse, France) and Bob Seeley

Lee DeWyze Night & Day Tour

Monday May 6th – 8:00 PM at the Ark

With Special Guest: Elizabeth and the Catapult

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-JIp_WgXVo">Susan Werner

New New Orleans–flavored music from Susan!

Saturday May 11th – 8:00 PM at the Ark

Joe Jackson: Four Decade Tour

Tuesday May 7th 7:30 PM at the Michigan Theater

Nicholas Payton Trio

His latest project is the Afro-Caribbean Mixtape.

May 10-11, 7 & 9:30 P.M at Blue LLama Club

Duke Heitger Quartet

Mother’s Day Brunch

May 12, 11:30 - 2:30 P.M. at Blue LLama Club


Ann Arbor Civic Chorus

The Power of Music

Sunday, April 28th – 3:00 pm at Skyline High School

Ypsilanti Community Choir Spring Concert

Thursday May 9th – 7:30 pm at Towsley Auditorium - WCC Campus

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury

Ann Arbor Civic Theater, April 25-28 at Arthur Miller Theatre, U-M North Campus

What happens when the destruction of knowledge gets to be too much for one civil servant?  “Stuff your eyes with wonder” and take in an incredible piece of theatre in Bradbury’s own adaptation of his searing novel.

Morning’s at Seven

By Paul Osborn

PTD Productions

MAY 9-18 - Riverside Arts Center, Ypsilanti

The Tony Award-winning play, “Morning’s at Seven” written by Paul Osborn is a funny, poignant story of the four aging Gibbs sisters and their unusual families, living in a small Midwestern town.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Wendy Wright has been on the radio at WEMU since April 2000. She served as host of 89.1 Jazz, Sunday mornings from 5-8 a.m. for seven years, when she was asked to host From Memphis to Motown. She was then asked to create the Soul Break which airs Wednesday afternoons.
Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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