Classical 91.5

Megan Mack

Megan Mack the producer of Connections with Evan Dawson and Unleashed: The Pet Show. She joined the WXXI News team from WHEC-TV, where she produced newscasts and The Olympic Zone, and from the University of Rochester, where she served as an assistant director of public relations. Her background extends to television sports and entertainment, and to communications and social media management for non-profits.

Megan earned her B.S. in Television-Radio-Film from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and her B.A. in Italian Language, Literature, and Culture from the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University. She is also a graduate of The Second City’s Conservatory program.


What is the future of classical music in America?

The Eastman School of Music is hosting three guest scholars this weekend who will help answer that question. They join us in studio for a preview of their presentations about teaching classical music in the digital age and the challenges future music leaders will face. Our guests:

  • Robert Winter, distinguished professor of music at UCLA
  • Robert Freeman, pianist, author, former director of the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory, and former dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Jim Doser, director of the Institute for Music Leadership at the Eastman School of Music

A new play at Geva Theatre tackles war, immigration, the refugee experience, and the gray area between right and wrong. “Heartland” is the story of an Afghan refugee and an American professor who form an unexpected friendship. It’s a production that speaks to the value theater can have in helping audiences understand the human stories behind political issues.

Our guests discuss the play, and how the arts can help us understand our world. We also preview Geva’s 46th season. In studio:

Author Reyna Grande says there are voices missing from the conversation about immigration reform -- those of undocumented children. Grande crossed the border into the U.S. from Mexico when she was nine years old. In her new memoir, The Distance Between Us, she writes about the extreme poverty she and her siblings experienced in Mexico, and why a chance at a better life in the U.S. ripped her family apart. It's a true story of trauma, struggle, and hope - one that Grande says she hopes will help change misconceptions about immigrants in the U.S.

The Distance Between Us has been selected by Writers & Books for this year's Rochester Reads program. Grande will be in Rochester for a series of events this week, but first, she joins us on Connections. Our guests:

  • Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us
  • Karen van Meenen, coordinator of the Rochester Reads and Debut Novel Series programs at Writers & Books


It's Christmas...in October! It may seem early to be listening to Christmas music, but perhaps it would be something George Eastman would do. The philanthropist is known for his love of music and often listened to his pipe organ while eating breakfast, reading newspapers, or meeting with business associates.

A new album called "An Eastman Christmas" includes 24 holiday tunes played on Eastman's Aeolian pipe organ. It's part of the upcoming holiday celebrations at the Eastman Museum.

We listen to some music and discuss how Eastman's legacy continues to impact the Rochester community. In studio:

  • Jack Garner, retired national film critic for Gannett Newspapers, passionate Eastman supporter, and recipient of the Eastman Medal
  • Bonnie Garner, president of the George Eastman Museum Council and museum trustee
  • Joe Blackburn, George Eastman Museum volunteer organist featured in "An Eastman Christmas," and leading authority on the Aeolian pipe organ
  • Kathy Connor, curator of the legacy collection at the George Eastman Museum

The annual Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival kicks off Friday.

Festival founder John Nugent joins us in studio to preview the acts, share some behind-the-scenes stories, and talk about how the festival has grown over the last 16 years. We also hear from two of this year’s performers: Laura Dubin and Mike Cottone.