By Michael Popham
Steve Staruch’s soothing voice can be heard on the radio weekdays from 3 to 7 pm on Classical MPR. Before joining us at APM he worked at WCAL in Northfield, Minnesota, and before that WXXI in Rochester, NY. He recently became certified as a yoga instructor, and since that time has been sharing his knowledge with his colleagues, leading chair yoga classes in the Kling Public Media Center.
Q: Steve, thanks for agreeing to answer our questions! How long have you worked at APM?
A: It will be 15 years in December.
Q: What do you like best about working here?
A: What I like best is the connection I can make with the many Classical MPR listeners all over MN, the US and internationally.
Q: What first drew you to classical music?
A: Classical music was a part of my growing up. I remember my Mom playing the piano (Debussy’s Claire de Lune) on hot summer nights when I couldn’t sleep because of the heat. The music was soothing and beautiful.
Q: Many of our music hosts are trained musicians. Are you, and what instrument do you play?
A: I am a viola player….a violist. I also sing. I sang for a number of seasons with the Warland Singers. I freelance as much as I can.
Q: You’ve been hosting the “Friday Favorites” show for quite a while now. What are some of the unusual requests you’ve fielded?
A: I get a number of requests from folks who’ve seen / heard something on YouTube. I wish I could air those requests. It’s gratifying to see so many people passionate about music.
Q: You’ve started a chair yoga group at MPR that meets on a regular basis. How did that come about?
I have been interested in yoga for about 12 years. I started at the YMCA with a Fitness yoga class. My interest in the use of the body to connect more fully with a life of the spirit has grown. I completed a 230-hour yoga teacher training a few years ago. When I saw that many colleagues spend a large part of the day hunched over a computer, I thought some yoga work could help. Yoga class is breathing class. Yoga is meant to connect the physical body with the spirit and the connection is breath. Chair yoga give folks a half-hour break to relax, breath and connect with their best selves. Everybody needs that.
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: No pets. My wife grew up on a farm. The animals belonged in the barn and not in the house.
Q: Do you listen to podcasts in your spare time? If so, which ones?
A: I must admit that I appreciate silence at home. I do listen to the Great Courses series in my car. Right now I’m listening to a series of lectures on Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America.”
Q: Do you have any special skills or abilities that would come in handy during a zombie apocalypse (e.g., hotwire a car, fly a helicopter, etc)?
A: During the zombie apocalypse you’ll find me making a big pot of stew on an outdoor fire. It’ll be tasty and serve as sustenance for all who find me.
Q: What inspires you about Minnesota?
A: The beauty of the land and the spirit of those who wish to protect it is inspiring.