Studs interviews Lukas Foss about his career as a classical composer and conductor. Foss talks about his work with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He reflects on how teachers influenced his career and how he learns from each orchestra that he works with. He shares his love for poetry and explains how he makes music from poems and uses "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," a poem by Wallace Stevens, to illustrate. They discuss how Foss composes and how it is very similar to the way Jazz is composed with improvisation.
Janis Ian discusses her career, life, and her songs. The songs she talks about are "Society's Child", "Janey's Blues", "Honey D'Ya Think", "There Are Times", "Shady Acres", and "Lonely One". Janis Ian also discusses society, race relations, and responsibility. Includes Studs Terkel reading Janis Ian's poem "Poem One". Includes Janis Ian reading her poem.
Ralph Ellison, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction for his book "Invisible Man," discusses his early life and education and his life as a writer and lifetime scholar. He speaks on being a musician (trumpet), the joy of music and the Church and how they fit into the lives of African Americans.