A Musical Life

KMUW's Jedd Beaudoin interviews Wichitans who live a musical life... as a full-time vocation or a part-time passion.

A Musical Life is also available through Apple Podcasts.

Ways to Connect

Kevin Ives is guitarist, vocalist and keyboardist with The New Imperialism. The band’s releases to date include La Bella Fin (EP), The Sensationalism of Dr. Bordeaux and, most recently, Wax Wings. Presently, the group is working on a split EP with Tulsa’s The Dirty Mugs, tentatively slated for release in early 2018.

“In every band I’ve ever been in, I’ve always started off with a concept. The whole thing [was about] making a big show out of it. I’ve always liked to go see shows that had lights or something else involved, it wasn’t just about playing music.

Courtesy photo

Dale Ray Shuey began playing guitar at age 12 and has relentlessly pursued the instrument for 20 years. Shuey has studied classical, jazz, metal, blues, rock and country guitar in addition to teaching youth and adult guitar lessons for eight years. He joined Mountain Deer Revival in November 2012. Shuey's goal as a musician is to write the best music his hands and brain can produce and spread positivity through raw musical expression.

A Musical Life: Uche

Sep 29, 2017

Uche is a Wichita-based musician who performs as a solo artist and as Uche and The Crash.

“My parents left Nigeria for England in the ‘60s. So, myself and one of my brothers, was born in Leicester, England, which is in the Midlands: Birmingham, Manchester, up there. So, in 1970, we moved here to the States, to Jefferson City, Missouri.

Scott Oakes is principal bassoonist with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. He also serves as Senior Systems Administrator at Juniper Payments LLC, a banking services provider.

“If you’re looking toward the middle or the back of the middle of the orchestra, you’ll see a bassoon. The bassoon is the lowest voice of the woodwind choir, so you’ll hear us often playing things that really sound like a bassline. A lot of the orchestral music of Brahms or Beethoven, you’ll hear us playing a lot of little melodic lines and then, every now and then, a short little melodic solo.

Lauren Hirsch is a percussionist and music educator in the Wichita area. She serves as the Executive Director of the Organization of American Kodaly Educators. Hirsch is also known for her work with the band Sun and Stone.

“The Kodaly organization is something I’ve been involved with here on a local level as long as I’ve been teaching. Our goal is to expand the way that music is taught so that every human in America and then throughout the world considers themselves to be a literate musician and can make music with anyone.

Ted Farha plays mandolin with Pop & The Boys as well as Haymakers.

“I picked up mandolin when I was 27-years-old. I actually had seen the movie King of the Gypsies with music by David Grisman and Stephane Grappelli. The gypsy music in it just caught me. I found the record and fell in love with music. A neighbor had a mandolin and I borrowed it and started taking lessons at E.M. Shorts.

I started learning fiddle tunes and bluegrass songs and then I met Richard Crowson at a jam and he invited me to join a band.

Ken White is primarily known as a guitarist, though he plays mandolin and banjo as well. His regular gig is with The Cherokee Maidens, though he is also a member of Nouveau Quintet.

“I would say that I prepared myself to be a sideman. That meant a lot of things: Being prepared to improvise in any musical style, any musical instrument. I really made a point of trying to serve the song and the singer, so anytime I got a call I never really knew exactly what I was stepping into but I felt like I had something to add. That’s kind of what I worked on.

Piper Lou-Reneé is a singer-songwriter based in Hutchinson, Kansas, who has released several albums, including 2016’s Regards, Girl.  

Jessica Martin

In 2013, Aaron Lee Martin left for a most unusual recording session. Martin's friend and fellow musician Danny Brewer had a cabin in the remote woods of northern Georgia. He wanted to know if Martin had any interest in making a record using solar power.

Heidi Cruz

Helen Cruz serves as bassist and vocalist in Mystery Blood alongside Matthew Clagg and Mason Monigold. She is a graduate of Wichita State University where she studied geology. She can be heard on Mystery Blood’s High On Death LP.

“I started experimenting with the banjo at first and was just teaching myself. Matthew Clagg asked me to be in one of his side projects. They were going record and they only had a month to find a bass player. They talked to me, I agreed and then I learned all these songs for the record. That’s how I started playing bass.