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Top Stories: A Cello Fest Takes Over SMU; An App Helps Boost Adult Literacy

Courtesy of Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Jennifer Humphreys is a cellist with the Dallas Symphony.

The top local stories this evening from KERA News:

The Aronson Cello Festival kicks off at SMU this weekend. Jennifer Humphreys is a cellist with the Dallas Symphony who will perform at the festival, and for our weekly State of the Arts, she sat down with KERA's Anne Bothwell to talk about her passion for the instrument.

"I've always felt the cello is just one of the most personal instruments. Physially, of course, we're practically hugging it when we play it. It involves our entire body, so you feel super physically connected to the instrument," Humphreys says. "And in addition to that, the range that we get to play in is very similar to that of the human voice."

Also during the converation, Humphreys talks about how Ed Sheeran and other artists are pulling the instrument back into the mainstream.

Other stories this evening:

  • Catholic Charities Fort Worth says it's housing a dozen children who were separated from their families at the U.S. border after fleeing violence in Central America. The boys and girls range from 5 to 12 years old and come from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

  • A national group this morning announced finalists for a contest that boosts adult literacy by using smartphone apps. A local team of researchers from SMU and Literacy Instruction for Texas made the cut.

  • In the weather: Parts of North Texas reached 100 degrees late this afternoon. This weekend, with the heat index, it will feel like it's in the low 100s.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:22 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

Stephen Becker is senior producer of the Think show , which airs on more than 25 stations across Texas and beyond. Prior to joining the Think team in 2013, as part of the Art&Seek team, Stephen produced radio and digital stories and hosted "The Big Screen" — a weekly radio segment about North Texas film — with Chris Vognar. His 2011 story about the history of eight-track tapes was featured nationally on NPR's All Things Considered. His works has been recognized with numerous state and national awards.