Friday, November 19, 2010

Another first

Today was one of my volunteer days at Edison's labs, and I was, for the most part, scheduled for Building 5, the main lab building with his library, offices and recording studio. Visitation was pretty steady, so there were more than a couple of people to chat with over the course of the day.

I was scheduled to back up one of the other volunteers for the phonograph demonstration in the recording studio, and when I got up there early, three visitors were already waiting. While waiting for the other volunteer to show up, we talked a bit about the evolution of recording media and the difficulty of explaining the science of record discs to kids who've only been exposed to CDs and MP3s.

The other volunteer didn't show up, though one of the friendlier rangers stopped by and suggested that maybe I should just do the demonstration. Uhhhhhh.... I haven't done it before, and honestly I was a bit on the spot and didn't have my thoughts together. Then again, the visitors were really nice, we had the conversation going, so what the heck. I stumbled through it, didn't cover nearly what I would have wanted to with some prep, and the visitors were really appreciative. Turned out they were musicians and really dug the whole process and the fact they were standing in the world's first recording studio. Yup, and it's really a throwback when a contemporary musician is recorded using contemporary electric instruments, as they've done over the years at the park.

Following the demo, I walked them out to the exhibit showing the evolution of recording technology, and after a little chat, they started walking down to the next exhibit. Then they came back to ask whether they might be able to record there. Turned out they were members of Jay and the Americans, a 60's era band I'd heard of. Ah -- yeah, I know you. The ranger and I got some info for them; I've got no idea if the right person from the park will ever call them, but it's pretty cool to think I might have had a part in it.

So, at one park I was promised George Clooney. At the other I got an old 60's band.

And yeah, I got my first phono demo under my belt. It can only improve from here.

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