Campus Closeup: Stan Wright
He has moonlighted on stage as Doctor Scott in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Old Deuteronomy in Cats and the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, but Stan Wright (WNMU-FM) is more commonly known for his day job: hosting a classical music program on Public Radio 90.
Wright, who has enjoyed classical music since he was old enough to sing, became the producer/director of NMU’s radio station in 1984 during his senior year here. He had previously been employed as a student broadcaster for two years. His responsibilities include programming and hosting all of WNMU-FM’s classical music, recording regional concerts and preparing them for radio broadcast, and overseeing all station operations.
“A lot of my day is spent communicating with record producers and the outside world for information on the arts around the Great Lakes,” he said. “I play music as well as take requests for classical music that we play every day during the noon hour.”
Wright said that his involvement with radio resulted as a series of happy accidents. “One day, I was without a job and listening to a commercial radio station, and I heard them advertise for a dj. So I walked across Marquette and applied, and half an hour later I had a radio job.”
Even though he gets to play with the largest library of music in the upper Great Lakes on a daily basis, Wright’s involvement with music does not end after he goes home for the day. Wright plays the saxophone, guitar, piano and percussion, and performs in community theater. A lifelong Marquette-area resident, he has been involved with Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council (PAAC) performances at the Vista Theater in Negaunee for several years. Wright has also been a soloist in concerts with the Superior String Alliance (where he is also their executive director), the Marquette Symphony Orchestra and the Marquette Choral Society.
He has been a vocal soloist in many area music events, singing music from Beethoven and Schubert to Grieg and Sibelius. He has also been in musicals and operas on the Forest Roberts Theatre stage, including The Magic Flute, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and The King and I. “My voice is my primary instrument,” he said.
Science fiction is another of Wright’s major hobbies. He is a charter member of the local Star Trek club, called the U.S.S. Superior. “I’m not as active as I’d like to be, but Star Trek has always been a big thing of mine,” he said.
He also watches professional sports—especially when the Red Wings, Tigers and Packers play—and is the co-leader of his 13-year old daughter Caitlin’s Girl Scout troop along with his wife, Carol. He does publicity for the Marquette area Girl Scouts as well.
While most little boys want to be police or firefighters while growing up, Wright wanted to either play linebacker for the Packers or sing professionally. But his dream job, he said, would be to run his own community theater. “PAAC has been the only consistent community theater in this area. It’s hard to find the volunteers and resources to keep one going, but I’d love to someday.”
Wright and his wife have passed on their love of the performing arts to their daughter, who has also performed in PAAC productions and is leaning toward dance. “My wife and I center our life around our daughter and seeing that she gets to live out whatever dreams she has,” he said. “We do whatever we can to make sure that her life is as rich as it can be.”
Wright can be heard weekdays on his WNMU-FM shows “Humoresque” and “Classics by Request," and hosting a weekly local concert series, “Superiorland Concerts,” on Friday nights.