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Airwaves, a listener publication from Colorado Public Radio.


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Get your copy of OpenAir’s very first CD, “Colorado Live and Local Vol. I,” by supporting CPR during the Winter Pledge Drive, Feb. 8-16. The CD features a unique list of tracks that preserve the sound of OpenAir’s first year while showcasing 19 local artists who’ve stopped by to record in the CPR Studio, including Paper Bird, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and Ian Cooke. 

 “A big part of what we do on OpenAir is focused on celebrating the Colorado music community, which is full of hugely talented musicians who are creating some great new music,” said Mike Flanagan, program director for OpenAir. “This CD captures the sound of our first year on air and I think listeners are really going to appreciate these one-of-a-kind recordings.”

“Colorado Live and Local Vol. I” is just one of several different thank-you gifts available for listeners who support CPR during the Winter Pledge Drive.

Other highlights include sweepstakes for Colorado stay-cations, trips to New York City and San Francisco, and two member challenges for $10,000 or $25,000.


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The 2012 season of live classical music broadcasts is underway, providing listeners with access to performances from Opera Colorado and the Colorado Symphony. Listeners say they enjoy live broadcast events, but most probably haven’t given much thought to the work that goes into producing them. And that’s a good thing, according to Martin Skavish, recording engineer and audio producer. 

“A lot of the production for a live broadcast is sort of routine, but I really focus on minimizing distractions to the listener,” Martin said. “Our audience doesn’t need to hear the take-a-moment-to-silence-your-cell-phones announcement, but making sure there’s time for the host to introduce the start of the performance before the curtain rises, that is crucial.” 

Producing a live broadcast also involves a coordinated effort between the host and the producer to ensure that commentary doesn’t interrupt the performance. “We have to be pretty flexible,” said Martin. “A lot of performances don’t start right when they’re scheduled to, so the host may have to fill five or 10 minutes with comments, but still know exactly when to wrap up in order to avoid speaking over the music.” 

Charley Samson often hosts live broadcasts and says preparation is essential. “Long before the actual broadcast, I prepare an outline of what I think is going to happen,” said Charley. “It includes interview clips from the cast, conductor and director, along with program notes on the opera, biographies of the singers, estimated timings for each act and intermission—plus a plan, with bailout options, for the intermission features.” Producing a live broadcast requires hours of planning. And behind the scenes everyone has to be extremely flexible, work together seamlessly, and keep calm under fire as last-minute changes are frequent.

The next live broadcast of the 2012 season is Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” performed by Opera Colorado on Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. Martin and Charley will both be live at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to present the broadcast.

Photo: Recording Engineer and Audio Producer Martin Skavish at the CPR Studio soundboard.

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Music has the power to inspire, but it doesn’t have to come from the world’s most talented musicians to make an impact. Many people have witnessed the positive effect music can have after hearing students perform in their first band or orchestra concert after receiving donated instruments from CPR’s Annual Instrument Drive. 

“CPR has distributed over 1,000 donated instruments to more than 40 schools,” said Steve Blatt, director of community programs at CPR. “With the support of our listeners and the Colorado community, we are ensuring that generations of students have the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument.”

March 5-17, listeners can give the gift of music to deserving students by donating band and orchestra instruments in good condition to CPR’s instrument drive. If you don’t have an instrument but still want to support this cause, consider making a donation to the Instrument Drive Fund. Look for details at later this month. 

“This is really a community effort to keep music education alive and thriving in Colorado,” said Steve. “Putting donated instruments into the hands of a child can make a huge difference in their life. And that’s really what this whole event is all about.”

Photo: A student from Barney Ford Elementary School practices on a flute donated during the 2011 Instrument Drive. Photo credit: The Denver Post.