Arts

Arts and culture

WNIJ/Victor Yehling

Friday is the final day of sculpting for the artists in the 2016 Illinois Snow Sculpting Contest, and teams were hard at work bringing their works to fruition.

Designs this year are mostly fanciful, with the occasional more-serious work. The official competitors are complemented bay an array of high school teams.

Spectators were not in short supply, as a fairly steady stream of cars wended through Sinnissippi Park on North Second Street in Rockford.

Nicholas McCarthy was born without his right hand. Pursuing the piano would not exactly appear to be the most intuitive career choice. And yet that is exactly what the 26-year-old British pianist has done. His debut album, Solo, will be released next week.

McCarthy's "Aha!" piano moment came relatively late, at age 14, after he heard a friend play Beethoven's "Waldstein" Sonata. In a flash, he saw his future. He was determined to become a concert pianist.

WNIJ/Victor Yehling

The 2016 Illinois Snow Sculpting Contest finally got underway Wednesday along the roadways of Sinnissippi Park in Rockford. Lack of snow had delayed the start by a week.

Several teams took advantage of the comparatively warm mid-afternoon weather to work on their snow blocks, made from manufactured snow due to the lack of suitable precipitation.

The team names defy attempts to guess the origins. They include such monikers as Vikings in Black, Kilted Snow Weasels, Quatsch-Men, The Band of Misfit Boys, and the Slacktastic 4.

Benjamin Clementine On World Cafe

Jan 27, 2016

A Mercury Prize-winning musician, Benjamin Clementine worked his way up from playing the streets of Paris to performing in clubs and festivals. Clementine's theatrical voice is often compared to that of Nina Simone, whom the singer admits he didn't know about until people mentioned the comparison.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released, but you can hear a track below via YouTube.

It was the day before Thanksgiving in 1902 when the Philadelphia Orchestra made its debut at Carnegie Hall. Music by Tchaikovsky was on the program and on the podium was Fritz Scheel, the first leader of an orchestra founded just two years before.

Carl Nelson

The first time we held a writing contest, called "Three-Minute Fiction," more than 100 people submitted stories. Our judge, GK Wuori, selected five winners -- all of whom got to read their stories to WNIJ listeners in October.

With Valentine's Day approaching, we decided to ask for poems about relationships. These could be sonnets about seduction, burlesques about breaking up, or haiku about healthy relationships.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released, but you can hear an excerpt below via YouTube.

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