Monday, January 17, 2011

Arizonians Record Their Life Stories for StoryCorps Project

James Paluzzi, general manager of KBAQ-FM (89.5) and KJZZ-FM (91.5), is one of 120 area residents who are opening up their lives, making 40-minute recordings this month for StoryCorps, an independent, non-profit group that records, shares and preserves stories of the lives of people across the country. Set up in an Airstream trailer outside Burton Barr Central Library, StoryCorps employees opened their doors last week.

Michael Nazario is happy that a recording of his life is destined for the Library of Congress. Nazario, 22, a Phoenix College student with a dream of studying architecture and was in the second recording session, right behind Gov. Jan Brewer. Nazario and Brewer are among a few dozen area residents whom StoryCorps sought to include in the visit to Phoenix.

The remaining recording slots are being filled by others willing to help give StoryCorps a narrative landscape of their lives in Arizona. Besides honoring someone's life, the stories bring perspective to Phoenix and other parts ofthe state, said Liliana Sullivan, a mobile-site supervisor for StoryCorps. With permission from participants, the recordings are shared with National Public Radio and stored at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Excerpts of the recordings are heard around 6:20 and 8:20 a.m. Fridays during NPR's "Morning Edition" on KJZZ-FM (91.5). Recordings made in Phoenix eventually will be part of the mix. The response from residents for the Phoenix collection has been remarkable, Sullivan said. Most slots filled within minutes of being available. "That doesn't happen all the time," she said. "You can see the enthusiasm from people wanting to talk." So far, the recordings cover familiar topics to other locations: family, education, hopes, loves and losses. "But here in Phoenix, people are really inspired to talk about community work being done," in particular help to local youth, Sullivan said.

Source: Arizona Republic (Jan. 2011)