Saturday, January 23, 2010

Keepin' On Keepin' On

Even though our sound archives fellowship is formally finished, we've still visited the library several times and have been busy working on several aspects of our overall documentary project. When we were fulfilling our fellowship commitment, I kept a spreadsheet of hours and descriptions of most of our project-related activities. It was extremely helpful in the compilation and narration of our accomplishments for our official reporting as well as being able to see what still needed to be done. It also captured a realistic snapshot of the amount of time that that such an endeavor entails, so it seems to continue using such an effective format to document our ongoing labor.

We've continued to gather and digitize media as we come across it. Our friend Mark recently let us borrow the original Hi-8 tapes of the 1996 oral history interviews with Frances. We had hoped there would be some additional material, but they basically include the exact same footage as the VHS copy that we already had. The good news is that Media Services was able to digitize the Hi-8 interviews, so we now have a higher resolution copy of that footage that we can also copy for the Berea College Special Collections and Archives.

Timi has been going through more bins of her mamaw's photos and memorabilia and sorting out collections of photos to give to each relevant family member. She has also found some new photos in additional photo albums that will need to be scanned and archived with the other library documents. Her brother has a substantial collection of digital photos that we still want to get copies of, and we plan to share comprehensive CD's of photos with everyone as well. We recently borrowed her cousin's copy of a memorial DVD with photos that were collected when Frances passed away, so the collection of media materials keeps growing.

We recently made a brief visit to the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, where we met with Sarah Milligan (Kentucky Oral History Commission Program Administrator) and Alisha Martin (Folklife Specialist). The facility is quite amazing and huge, and we definitely plan to go back and spend some more time there. There are several potential resources in the Martin F. Schmidt Research Library that might be useful, and we also have some materials to contribute to their collections. Sarah shared some leads to other archives and collections that seem promising to investigate. For example, a relatively recent book called Staging Tradition about Renfro Valley was based partially on oral histories collected and possibly archived at Western Kentucky University. So even our brief stop was time extremely well spent.

Finding funding opportunities and formulating funding strategies is an ongoing process that consumes a lot of energy. There are a lot of relevant resources to explore, but it is very tricky navigating the ever-shifting funding landscape and timelines. Some of our hopeful prospects have suspended their spring grant cycles, and the due dates for a few newly discovered prospects have already passed for the year. Luckily, Bailey Barash, a filmmaker I met through the amazing Alternate ROOTS network, has been a very generous and thoughtful mentor in this particular area and numerous others.

The planning, proposing, and acquisition of grants and other forms of funding is an incredibly daunting and never-ending task. Even as we explore and add options to our master calendar of proposal deadlines, we are faced with the immediate and urgent challenge of acquiring high quality equipment for the interview and footage phase of production. Our camera is functional enough (though the touchscreen no longer works), but it's an older pro-sumer model that has served us well but doesn't have some of the minimal manual features that are required for the level of production quality we're seeking for this project.

Sadly, there is very little funding support for equipment, and most of these opportunities provide the use of production equipment rather than personal purchase. And the few grants that allow requests for equipment purchases are relatively small and very competitive. We are currently brainstorming some options for borrowing a camera locally, but we are also investigating purchasing equipment over time as we acquire funding. While there are several possibilities for making this happen, we feel the urgency of needing to collect interviews from people who are already elderly.

We recently received an interesting, inspiring, and timely gift from our part-time neighbors, beloved friends, talented peer-mentors, and co-producers of the Clear Creek Festival, Bob and Carrie. We enjoyed a mellow, meditative evening with them while they were visiting over the holidays. As cultural organizers and artists, we share an affinity for storytelling, and we spent a late night laughing, crying, and sharing stories in the Viking Yule tradition of "bragging" about each of our accomplishments of the past year and the greater achievements we committed for the upcoming year.

The gifted book, Spider Speculations: A Physics and Biophysics of Storytelling by Jo Carson,* not only dovetailed with our ritual that night, but it has provided ongoing insight and inspiration during our winter hibernation of reading, dreaming, and planning. Timi has already completed it, and I'm about halfway through it. She and another friend who also received a copy were reading it at the same time, and they frequently and enthusiastically discussed it on the phone as they went along. Now that I'm reading it, I find that each short chapter has so much to offer in reflection and practice that I pause frequently to apply some aspect of its wisdom. As in the Spider story that frames the book as well as much of Jo Carson's life and art, this book has already had a fundamental effect on not only this project but other components of our creative and professional paths. I anticipate that it will continue offering valuable revelations as this particular storytelling process unfolds. 

*Note: Jo Carson is a founding member of Alternate ROOTS and is currently battling cancer. Learn more about her work, her situation, and how you can support her on the ROOTS website.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

KFW Artist Enrichment Grant

We are pleased to formally announce that our project was recently awarded an Artist Enrichment grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women (KFW), whose "mission is to promote positive social change by supporting varied feminist expression in the arts." This is the long-awaited prospect that I've been alluding to for a while, and we can now officially share our good news! 

The KFW Hot-Flash e-newsletter included a short blurb about all of the Artist Enrichment recipients and their projects: "Tammy Clemons and Timi Reedy ... to support a documentary project about bluegrass musicians Frances and John Reedy, focusing on Frances’ musicianship, songwriting and lead vocal talent. The project will strengthen the applicants’ collaboration and filmmaking skills, help them develop a collective artistic vision and expand their experience as grassroots Appalachian activists."

It's not clear whether a wide-range press release has gone out yet, but interestingly, I found a press release about another recipient that includes a reference to our award alongside that of Elizabeth Barret from Appalshop. We're extremely honored to be included among such distinguished feminist artists and activists that KFW has long-supported and promoted. 

It's also important that our project is recognized as a consciously feminist endeavor. The Artist Enrichment proposal process was very insightful and helped us articulate the core feminist component of not only this project but all of our work.* 

Feminist Understanding, Practice and Nature of Artwork
Our primary understanding and practice of feminism, in everyday life and artistic creation, is the holistic philosophy of ecofeminism, which recognizes the interdependence of all life, the interconnection of all forms of human oppression, and the the relationship between the domination of both humans and the environment. The most concrete example of ecofeminist sustainability as well as art in our lives is the homestead we have created over the past 12 years. Much of our time and energy has been spent planning and building our house (which was under construction for about five years, two of which we lived in it amidst its unfolding).

All stages of the process were informed by extensive research in sustainability practices, and the solar dome that we built with our community's help is an inspiring sculpture that comprises numerous aesthetic layers and patterns and represents ecofeminist solidarity. Our house-building process has been our primary focus, but we have consciously approached its construction in light of its interdependence with the ecosystem. As we shift from our home to the land as the center of our creative ecofeminist efforts, we continue exploring practical and aesthetic sustainability through low-impact, yet beautiful agricultural design.

For us, ecofeminism necessarily integrates and embodies both theory and practice as a form of consciousness, a way of life, and a form of creative expression. With our house complete, we are able to engage in more contemplative activities and more focused artistic projects. The Reedy documentary is a natural progression of our commitment to ecofeminism as it seeks to tell a story about the artistic contributions of Frances Reedy on equal footing with her husband and the impact they had on regional heritage. Timi is in an especially unique position to tell Frances' her-story as her granddaughter and as a radical ecofeminist with deep Appalachian roots. 

Relationship Between Art and Social Change
Art can be a unifying force and language for individuals and communities to express their struggles, hopes, fantasies, and even nightmares. Art can be provocative as social commentary, and likewise oppression and injustice can provoke the creation of artwork and coalitions that challenge accepted behavior and model alternative possibilities. In the most general sense, art has been central to all great social development and movements throughout human history. 

As homesteaders, community activists, and cultural scholars, we consider all of these activities to be inextricably related in terms of holism, aestheticism, and social change. For us, grassroots organizing is an art-form that we try to embody in all aspects of our lives. Likewise, homesteading is both a practical and aesthetic form of activism as we attempt to model sustainable living that is modest, comfortable, and technologically innovative. As artists and cultural leaders, we consciously engage in communities that share a commitment to social change and the harnessing different forms of human creativity and expression as a tool for communication and community-building.  

Work Sample and Its Relationship to Feminism, Social Change and Proposed Activities
As Appalachian ecofeminists, we have focused most of our amateur filmmaking efforts on creating storytelling portraits of the people, culture, and geography that we call home. The Appalachia portrayed in the five short pieces on the DVD work sample is one in which ancestors are honored, relationships are celebrated, and contemporary technology is used creatively and responsibly. These pieces also reflect our ongoing commitment to and practice of ecofeminist principles of diversity, sustainability, and community.
Social Change Impact
This project is fundamental to both of our ecofeminist identities and personal struggles and development of consciousness. First and foremost, this project honors important ancestors, whether a direct family relationship between Timi and her Mamaw Frances or the broader relationship that we have with the Appalachian geography and culture we call home. The documentary will also serve as a direct commentary about the way in which Frances' contributions were less recognized and a reclamation of 'herstory' as an equal partner with her husband. Ultimately, this project will also engender feminist vindication through the act of unearthing, documenting, and declaring Appalachia's unsung legacy of Frances Reedy.
...
Another long-term goal is to broadcast the completed documentary as an educational and cultural production on public television as well as to submit it for consideration at various relevant film festivals. The project's ultimate impact is directly related to its engagement of a broad audience both within and beyond the region, and such distribution outlets would provide ample opportunity for public discourse and community empowerment. This process will also expand our own experience as community organizers as we convene conversations through a new outlet. We also hope to digitally-re-master an anthology of the Reedys’ music for professional production and re-release to a new generation.
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On Friday, we had a conference call to KFW to discuss the reviewers' feedback in greater detail. Grant coordinator Rae Strobel was very helpful in identifying some areas where our production timeline and technical expertise could be strengthened. We also discussed a hopeful prospect for matching our funds to accomplish a key part of our original proposal. So I'll wait and provide more details as that opportunity unfolds...

In the meantime, we're incredibly grateful to be supported by a Kentucky-based feminist organization that recognizes the value of this project. Thanks to KFW for the amazing work they do to support feminist artists around the state! 

*The sections on feminism, art, and social change and their relationship to our project are excerpted from our KFW Artist Enrichment proposal.

---------------------
UPDATE:
(26 Jan. 10:44 am)

The 2009 KFW Artist Enrichment grant recipients have been posted to their website!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Final Fellowship Report

We have finished the formal time-commitment for our 3-month research fellowship in the Berea College Special Collections and Sound Archives, and we offer this final report* as follow-up to our previous update on our overall fellowship goals and accomplishments. As with our mid-point report, this final reflection also follows the same general categories of project implementation as our proposed research timeline. Rather than repeat our previous findings and activities, this report includes only brief summaries of past work and more detail about recent outcomes. In addition to the narrative summary of our activities, this report also includes extensive supporting documentation reflecting our actual work product.



1. New Research and Documentation:
As previously noted, we conducted supplemental research on Frances and John Reedy in the John Lair, Reuben Powell, and Ed Ward collections.

John Lair's business correspondence offered some promising clues about the Reedys' possible inclusion in some of the Renfro Valley “units” of performers who traveled to various venues such as schools, civic clubs, and communities in the region. Harry Rice cautioned that the transcripts would likely only include the stars who regularly appeared in the radio programming. So it was no surprise that a complete review of the Renfro Valley Barn Dance transcripts from 1938—December 1961; Monday Night at Renfro Valley, August 1940-- April 1941; Renfro Valley Morning Shows, October 1944--December 1950; and the Renfro Valley Country Store, January—December 1951 resulted in no explicit or implied documentation of the Reedys, even in the occasional references to guest musicians or “extras” in addition to the regular cast of Renfro Valley stars.

Because of the substantial volume of transcripts, we only began to review the transcripts for the Sunday morning Gatherin' program, which is more promising because the Reedys were mostly recognized as a gospel bluegrass band. Therefore, we plan to return to Special Collections beyond our formal fellowship period and continue examining the complete set of transcripts. Likewise, we will explore additional boxes of “miscellaneous” materials in the Reuben Powell collection in our extended research at the library. And as noted previously, the cassette dubs of “Oh Death” and “Prayer is Worth More than Silver or Gold” from the Ed Ward collection were helpful dubs from Side A of a 45 record (Starday SEP 166) that we did not have in our existing collection. We would still like to acquire digital copies of several versions of “Somebody Touched Me” by various artists in the Sound Archives. Altogether, we reviewed over 33 boxes worth of material over the 3-month research period. (See Appendix 1: Outline of Archive Collections Reviewed.)

Based on additional miscellaneous memorabilia from Frances that we discovered and donated, we were able to update the family timeline with further detail about the Reedys' whereabouts at certain time periods. Previously, it appeared that they migrated full-time to Dayton, Ohio, coming home on the weekends, between the early 1950's and mid-1960's. However, postmarked envelopes, school records, etc. indicate that the Reedys' migration during that period was also broken into alternating 5—6 month residencies in Ohio and Kentucky. Thus, the Reedys never completely migrated away from their native home even while they worked in Dayton for more than a decade. (See Appendix 2: Reedy Family Timeline.) 

2. Processing and Digitizing New Materials:
We organized, digitized, and processed an inspiring amount of donated materials from Frances' music and manuscript collection for incorporation into Special Collections and Sound Archives. The commercial recordings by the Reedys that we donated include:
  • First 78 rpm recording “Somebody Touched Me”
  • 14 of 18 known 45 rpm records
  • Tragic Songs of Death and Sorrow LP
  • Hymns from the Hills of Harlan County LP
  • Early Days of Bluegrass, Vol. 1 LP
  • On My Way to Heaven 8-Track
Homemade recordings that we donated, almost all of which are archived in their original formats, include:
  • 15 Reel-to-Reel Tapes
  • More than 20 Cassette Tapes
  • 1980 Christmas Home Video (DVD converted from original VHS)
  • 1996 Oral History Interviews: Bluegrass Music & Forest (VHS & Audio Cassettes)
John Bondurant, Sound Sound Preservation and Access Assistant, digitized all of the reel-to-reel tapes and about half of the cassette tapes for us. So we get to keep a copy of the original material that is being archived, and the library will have a digital back-up as well. Timi's stepmother converted the Christmas video from the original VHS to DVD, and we had the original oral history VHS converted to DVD, both of which we copied for the archive. In addition to the digital video, we further exported both as audio files, including separate song tracks for the Christmas set list, and archived CD's of these as well.

Throughout the three-month fellowship, we've scanned more than 400 images, including more than 40 labels from 45's and LP's, about 40 musician photos (of the Reedys as well as other musicians, including an autographed photo of Bill Monroe), and over 200 family photos. In addition to scanning, other important archival material from our mid-point update (such as newspaper clippings, liner notes, and a radio station brochure), we scanned other memorabilia that we discovered Frances kept (such as correspondence, post-marked envelopes, school records, and obituaries). All of this new information enabled us to update the timeline of their lives and musical careers.

All of the original memorabilia and most of the original photographs that were scanned will also be archived along with the recordings. At this point, the manuscript materials are sorted by category, most of them protected by archival sleeves as necessary. There are some remaining images that are in the correct folder but need to be sorted and sleeved, but otherwise the Reedy manuscript collection is almost complete. Given the time constraints of the fellowship and the priority of the Reedys, we decided to forego digitizing all of the vinyl recordings by other artists that will remain in the Sound Archives. Rather, we selectively digitized the recordings we wanted to keep copies of; we also decided not to scan the labels of commercial recordings by other musicians. We still need to make a list of folder titles and contents, which we hope to complete before we resume archival research by the end of the month. As discussed with Harry, the Reedy collection will remain “open” for a time as we will continue to unearth photos, song lyrics, and other memorabilia as we sort through additional boxes of materials at home. 

3. Comprehensive Inventory and Finding Aid:
Through the creation and revision of the master discography (including track lists, record labels, approximate recording dates, etc.), we made substantial progress toward developing a comprehensive finding aid of Reedy materials in Special Collections. (See Appendix 3: Master Discography.) The spreadsheet includes individual pages with track lists for all known commercial recordings; all homemade reel-to-reel recordings; all cassette recordings (that have been digitized to date); and audio converted from video footage. We anticipated accomplishing more on completing this particular phase of the project (i.e., comprehensive photo logs for all of the photographs that we have scanned and are donating to Special Collections). However, we are still committed to developing a useful and cohesive finding aid to assist other researchers. We have a substantial amount of narrative about the Reedys' history from our fellowship proposal, reports, and blog, so we plan to complete a draft by the end of the month. 

Final Fellowship Reflections:
Another major accomplishment over the course of the fall semester was our graduation from the Community Scholar program sponsored by the Kentucky Folklife Program and the Kentucky Historical Society. Among our project requirements was conducting an oral history, so we chose to interview Berea College Sound Archivist Harry Rice. He was an extremely gracious participant and had many interesting stories to tell about his background and his work at the library. We enjoyed getting to know him better and gained an even greater appreciation for his depth of knowledge. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9virUD7AqpE.)

We had planned to complete another oral history project with David Lundy, owner of Lundy Studio in Barbourville, Kentucky where the Reedys recorded multiple 45's, an LP, and presumably the 8-track. Harry was also interested in meeting Mr. Lundy to find out more about his work and the extent of his own collection of recordings. We scheduled a day for the interview, but unfortunately we both got really sick for almost a week. We have attempted to contact Mr. Lundy again, but have yet to reschedule. As the next major phase for the documentary will be beginning to conduct interviews and gather footage, we plan to make Mr. Lundy the first on our list and to include Harry on our visit.

Much of our energy near the end of the fellowship was spending as much time in the archives as possible and preparing for the final public presentation that we shared with fellow Meredith Doster on Friday, December 18, 2009. We edited an abbreviated oral history video with historical images that were scanned, and developed PowerPoint slides summarizing the materials we archived and the research we gathered. We also created a “mash-up” of two songs, each by Frances and John to one another, so that each song sang a verse in turn. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfHy87ebIGw, Appendix 4: Presentation Slides, and http://yourlisten.com/channel/content/29202/Tiny_Bitty_Pieces_Knockin_On_Your_Door.) 

The presentation was immensely helpful in terms of quantifying the amount of materials that we sorted through, digitized, identified, organized, and donated. It was also a catalyst to incorporate various forms of media into a creative product that would be accessible to a broad audience. With more than 20 people at the presentation, the experience was also socially informative and affirmed that the Reedys' stories are worthy of preserving and telling.

The fellowship presentation was a wonderful experience, but as many of our audience members agreed, time seemed too short. We shared an hour-long slot with another fellow, but we neither got a full half hour out of it. So it was very challenging to share the breadth of the material we had to work with or to savor the unique and abundant variety of recorded documentation that the Reedys created. We are very pleased and proud to be reprising our research presentation at the upcoming Appalachian Studies Conference in March. We will have a 70-minute timeslot for our multi-media presentation, so we are excited about incorporating more of the original material with what we've already done. 

A final ongoing and significant project throughout the fellowship has been our blog, “Remembering the Reedys: Appalachian Music, Migration, and Memory” (http://remembreedy.blogspot.com). To date, we have posted 17 blog updates since August 2009, and the posting of this report will make 18. We have used the blog to share our fellowship proposal and reports, selected images, unusual findings, a discography, the family timeline, videos, a detailed reflection on our presentation, and more. Now that the fellowship is officially over, we plan to continue using the blog as an interactive format to share updates about our ongoing documentary project. (See Appendix 5: Screenshot of Reedy Blog.)

We still have plans to develop a radio program, and hope to collaborate with a relevant media organization like Appalshop. We also began an account on BlogTalkRadio.com, which is a free online hosting service for creating and streaming homemade podcasts. This is another avenue for media-sharing that we plan to explore. Finally, we ultimately want to remaster and release a compilation CD of Reedy recordings, both commercial and home-spun, and to produce a feature-length documentary film about the phenomenal lives and legacies of Frances and John Reedy. 

Before the fellowship even began, our friend and Berea College Archivist, Jaime Bradley commented on the ambitiousness of our proposed activities. We knew that what we aspired to accomplish was breath-taking in its scope and potential, which is why we so are so passionately committed to do what we said we would do, even after the formal fellowship has ended. Overall, we documented more than 240 hours of fellowship-related activity in the archives and occasionally at home. (See Appendix 6: Fellowship Log.) However, this is a modest representation of our total time spent on this project as we did not formally document the numerous hours spent locating and sorting through stored photographs and memorabilia or listening to and identifying CD's of the reel-to-reel material in the car or at home. 

We are humbly indebted to the Anne Ray Charitable Trust for making the Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship possible in the first place. Their generosity supports not only our particular project, but the work of a diverse range of researchers who are making necessary and important contributions to Appalachian scholarship. We are also forever grateful to all of the amazing staff at the Berea College Special Collections and Archives for their friendly, consistent, and valuable assistance throughout the fall.

*Printable PDF versions of this report and supporting appendices are linked throughout this post.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fellowship Presentation Follow-up

Our fellowship presentation went very well!  And while the campus was fairly deserted for the holidays and the weather was pretty yucky, about 20+ people attended the set of research presentations, including Timi's sister and her boyfriend and other close friends. The refreshments were much appreciated, and the media classroom was a cozy and mostly effective location.  As promised, I'm following up to share some of the presentation materials that we developed for our fellowship finale.  I'll also be preparing another formal report for the conclusion of our funded research, so that will be available soon as well.

After a nice introduction by Harry Rice, we briefly introduced ourselves and why we were there.  But we decided to save the bulk of our commentary until Frances had already spoken for herself.  So we then shared the following 10-minute oral history video, which was edited from a 20-minute interview about her musical background that was originally conducted by Timi and shot by Mark Spencer for Appalachia--Science in the Public Interest (ASPI).  This abbreviated version also includes historical photographs wherever possible to illustrate what Frances is talking about.  There is also an excerpt from the first commercial recording by John Reedy and the Stone Mountain Hillbillies.


Needless to say, Frances charmed everyone in the room with her open hospitality, colorful storytelling, idiosyncracies, and accomplishments.  It was especially powerful to watch the video projected on a large screen with a sound system; it felt like we were sitting in the same room with her as she rocked in her chair and talked about her amazing musical history.  The additional images also added a whole new dimension as she described particular people and experiences.

We had planned to show an additional video excerpt from Frances and John Reedy's last recorded performance on Christmas in 1980, but there simply wasn't enough time to say everything and show everything we had hoped.  However, both videos were on the DVD that I prepared and gave to Harry to include in the Reedy collection in the Sound Archives.

We then shared a few presentation slides to summarize and illustrate our overall activities throughout the three-month fellowship.  Some of the images have previously been posted on the blog, but several are new photos or different versions.  The first introductory slide includes some images from the video oral history as well as an additional photo of Frances as a very young mother with her sons Harold and Tim.  She truly glows with love, contentment, and unmeasurable beauty.



Near the end of our presentation, we discussed the interesting twist that Frances and John's relationship took when they briefly divorced in the early 1960's.  We showed the newspaper reference to the writing of "Tiny Bitty Pieces," mentioned that John wrote his own entreaty "Knockin' on Your Door," and showed the photograph that Frances cut in half and never put back together.  Then I played part of a very rough "mash-up" that I made in which Frances and John's pair of love-lost lyrics were in conversation with one another, aptly dubbed "Tiny Bitty Pieces Knockin' on Your Door."  The story of the image with the two songs bantering back and forth tickled all our funny bones.


The presentation was extremely well-received and left everyone longing for more.  Even if we'd had a full half hour, time seemed too short to do justice to our research and the Reedys' story.  However, we're encouraged that we have ample material for our 70-minute multi-media presentation at the Appalachian Studies Conference.  Part of the challenge of a shorter timeframe was our desire to share more of their music on its own terms.  Other than teasers and excerpts, it's impossible to condense real-time audio and video the way that commentary can be sped up or abbreviated.  

We also experienced some inevitable technical difficulties that we overcame as best we could.  The DVD program that we used to show the video inadvertently changed settings and truncated the image on the top and bottom.  Also, the Dogpatch photo was somehow missing from the slide for the mash-up, so I had to manually locate it.  The media set-up was a little cramped with the laptop connection and podium by the door, so people entering and leaving seemed to feel a little more conspicuous.  Overall, the media room provided appropriate and effective means to share the multiple formats of material for our presentation.  

A final challenge that we noticed was that a couple of folks had difficulty locating it!  Fellowship presentations typically take place in the main lobby area of the library, so it's easily discernible when people enter the building and also invites curious onlookers who might not otherwise attend.  One of our friends came to the library, thought he was in the wrong place, and walked all the way across campus to the Appalachian Center to look for it.  He ended up having to go back to his office to read the email to discover that the presentation was on the ground floor of the library!  It would have been helpful to post some signage in the library lobby where the presentations typically occur in order to direct people to the alternate location.

It was clear that the audience thoroughly enjoyed the content and mode of our presentation and project.  Several people lingered to ask questions and exclaim about the Reedys' accomplishments and the origin of the well-loved gospel song, "Somebody Touched Me."  The response was certainly encouraging, and the experience for us was very moving as well.  It was an emotional journey for Timi and her sister to see their grandmother projected larger-than-life and appreciated for her true gifts.  It was apparent that we are on the right path to help tell the Reedys' story and preserve their many contributions to regional history and music.

Afterward, we shared a celebration sushi dinner with Timi's sister and her boyfriend!  In spite of the gloomy weather, we all felt inspired and uplifted by a successful and enjoyable presentation in honor of Frances and John Reedy.  We are incredibly grateful to Harry Rice, John Bondourant, Jaime Bradley, and all of the other folks in the Berea College Special Collections and Archives for the opportunity to work with them on our fellowship project.