Monday, August 29, 2011

Poetry Spoken Here

The teen mothers in the Athena Interactive Literacy Program had an exciting day at Northfire Studio recording their spoken word poetry.

“Taking the poetry out of the classroom and into a recording studio really brings the poetry to life for them,” said Reader to Reader executive director David Mazor.

“They have seen recording studios on MTV, so linking the poetry to the high-tech world of a professional studio creates a lot of excitement.”

Working with professional sound engineer Garrett Sawyer, the students not only recorded their poetry, but also got to see first-hand how sounds can be manipulated and edited to make a unique aural document.

In addition to the poetry, reggae music and beatboxing (a form of vocal percussion) filled the air.

Garrett Sawyer crafted a beatboxed soundtrack (performed by Reader to Reader’s own Kat Libby) to underscore the poetry. The energetic soundtrack made all the clearer the link between spoken word poetry and rap music.

2011 marks the third time Northfire Studio has hosted students in a Reader to Reader Program

“Northfire Studio is a world-class audio production facility that has produced a number of gold records, so we are extremely grateful for their donation of recording time for the Athena,” notes David Mazor. “This is their second year as part of the Athena Program and they also gave our students in the Navajo Mentoring Program an amazing experience when they visited in 2008.”

The week-long Athena Interactive Literacy Program brings together an exciting team of educators, writers, and artists, including noted writing teacher Peter Elbow, illustrious author Norton Juster, and Chef Bill Collins, a graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts with over 15 years professional experience, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston. The students spend mornings exploring reading and writing in a variety of interesting settings, pick out hundreds of books for themselves and their children, develop family literacy materials, and spend their afternoons learning to cook healthy food for themselves and their children.

The program is a partnership between Reader to Reader and the Care Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Funding is provided by a grant from PeoplesBank and a generous donation from Mary Ann Cofrin.

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