Colossal Youth on the Radio
We all know the signs of summer camps around the area year in and year out: the wee basketballers with miniature headbands, tiny sized Jordan sneakers carefully stored in a separate bag for court-use only. We've seen the visages of bright orange pylons lined up on soggy fields for a girls' soccer camp, while flocks of little athletes push themselves to be the next Mia Hamm.
A refreshing alternative in Triangle summer camping and activities for kids puts a microphone in the hand that might've held a bat or ball, instead. In association with a weeklong camp offered by the Carolina Friends School, WXYC at UNC-Chapel Hill recently hosted a two-hour radio show where students in the 10-year-old range interacted on-air, read from text they composed, and yes, played some of their musical choices. The results were an enthusiastic blend of impassioned movie, music and school-related reviews, such as "What's your favorite thing about school?" The subject responds without hesitation, "Reading." In the course of the talk sets, the listener gets a sense of these minds at work, and their often-polished delivery (more polished than many adult DJs we've all heard before).
Take, for example, the handoffs between speakers, "And now I'm going to pass it off to Christopher, who has his review of a Matrix video game. Christopher?" "Thanks. Daaaang. That's about all I've got say about this game. It's a great game," etc. The music jumped from radio pop with effects-laced vocals, a la G105, to naive childlike pop from the latest Rugrats flick, and occasionally some more adventurous territory. It made for an ultimately interesting listening experience, and was undoubtedly a fun learning time for those behind the mike.
Over in Durham, there are plans for a similar collaboration between WXDU, Duke University's station, and the Center for Documentary Studies involving a hands-on dose of the live radio life. This project is through Youth Document Durham, run by Indies Arts Award-winner Barbara Lau and also Johanna Franzel. The youth, aged 12-15, compose their own audio pieces, ranging from radio diaries to interviews done within the community, to audio art. WXDU has offered to air some of these pieces at a future date.This portion of the project is co-sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies.
Youth Voice Radio is a regular feature on Saturday afternoons at XDU, with one hour allotted for high school students to rock and rant. Here's to the young turks learning to independently master the airwaves.
Kicking off near the beginning of June, the new annual Market Street Music Series takes place every week through September in the grassy fields of Market Street Green, a section of Southern Village in Chapel Hill. With lots of local artists performing around 7 p.m. each night, it's a good opportunity for free live music over the course of the summer, with a myriad of musical styles being covered. Just a few selected upcoming examples are Dixieland jazz types The Salty Dogs on July 4, power poppers The Never (formerly the b-sides) on July 25 and down the road on Aug. 30, swing band The Outliers.
Best College Radio Segue of the Week
At the conclusion of the XYC kids radio camp, as the ecstatic youngsters screamed, "Goodbye!!!" "School's Out" by Alice Cooper bled into the mix, followed by Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall," with its mantra of "We Don't Need No Ed-u-cay-shun!"