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

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Byron J. Love performs under that name as a solo artist. He is a past member of Boys Beware, My Why, and Rex Bennet Fight Scene. Although he continues to gig in the Wichita area, his current focus is in the visual realm, focusing on video and motion graphics as well as ICT Channel 13.

I am Byron J. Love. I am sort of a singer-songwriter type person. It’s hard for me to call myself a musician because I can do it but I know real musicians and those guys are amazing. I have the ability to play music and write songs, so I do it, but I’m not a touring musician.

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Lalanea Chastain has been performing music since she was a teenager, focusing on blues and jazz, although she is comfortable in most genres. “I’ll sing virtually anything,” she says. She lives in Wichita, where she is currently honing her guitar skills.

My name is Lalanea Chastain. I’m a local singer. My latest project is with the blues band Yale Street Players. I also play with a cover band, Blue Eyed Soul. I started playing music with my family.

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After a series of events including California, trains, and Indian reservations, Shawn Craver came to Wichita in October of 2008. An unexpected emergency left him with a difficult choice to make about his life and shortly after, he played fiddle for the first time and founded the band Raging Sea. As Raging Sea progressed, Shawn picked up his original instrument, the guitar, in a post-punk/folk style that took him back to his beginnings as a rocker.

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Matt Hamer is a member of the band Coriander. The group has just issued the album Old Invitations

My name is Matt Hamer and I play guitar and sing in a band called Coriander.

I got my start in music playing trumpet in fifth grade and learned guitar later on.

I started playing music in church and that’s how I started playing music in front of people, gaining comfort there.

Jeff Tweedy from Wilco… Wilco is my favorite band so I have to resist the urge to copy them all the time. A guy named Dustin Kensrue who’s in a band called Thrice.

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Few would have guessed that Bill and Karlee’s musical life would now be based in Wichita. Bill left Kansas for Boston in 1983, leaving behind his musical ambitions to focus on painting. Karlee grew up near the beach south of Boston, and when Bill found her basking on a stack of poems and a Radio Shack keyboard in 2010, he knew he had found a songwriter and partner. Showered with autoharps and ukuleles, she blossomed into the better half of the duo, which records and serves its songs, still warm, at bandcamp.com.

Hugo Phan

Matt Grenier is a guitarist, composer, and music educator. As a musician, he works in the area of jazz, writing music that mixes the song form of jazz with the harmony of 20th century classical music. As a teacher, he leads a wide variety of classes at Wichita State University, attempting to illuminate connections between Beethoven, Miles Davis, and Elvis in order to get a clearer understanding of this concept we call music.

Hawley Shoffner is a Wichita-based songwriter who claims comic books and Thin Lizzy as influences. She says that it’s easiest to write songs from the perspective of someone else. “They’re best,” she says, “when written from the perspective of Gena Rowlands or a vampire in sunglasses.” With a full length album behind her she has a new EP, called Tiger, that she’s eager to release.

My name is Hawley Shoffner. I am a songwriter. I play the ukulele, and the guitar and the piano and a 12-button accordion.

Dustin Lentz performs in a variety of Wichita-area musical projects, including Suns Over Blazmo and The Kind. He performs as Ray Manzarek in the Doors tribute band, Moonlight Drive.

My name is Dustin Lentz. I am a fulltime father, husband, musician.

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Billie Preston-Fredholm has been playing guitar since she was seven. Taught by her older sister, she quickly became a devotee of folk music. Later, she became interested in choral music and before long the two merged in a style that she practices to this day. Since 2008 she has performed as one half of a duo with Robin Roberts. In 2010 the pair released a CD called Pay-Day Motors. Preston (the name under which she performs) teaches voice and piano at Senseney Music in Wichita and is also a cantor and choir member at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

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