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Program 720

1. the Kentucky Oral History Commission
2. the musical Harmonics
3. all-star high school choruses
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Franklin County

For more information:
• Kentucky Oral History Commission, Kentucky Historical Society, 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601, (502) 564-1792

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographer: Brandon Wickey
Audio: Mitch Buchanan


Voices of the Past

The Kentucky Oral History Commission

Everyone has a story to tell. And the grand story we call “history” is a tapestry woven from all those individual stories—big events and sweeping social changes as seen and lived by both the movers and the shakers and ordinary folks. The Kentucky Oral History Commission, subject of the first segment in this edition of Kentucky Life, is dedicated to gathering as many individual stories as possible and making them available to all who wish to understand the past.

Founded during the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976 by journalists Al Smith (founding host of KET’s Comment on Kentucky) and John Ed Pearce, the commission now has a collection of more than 8,000 taped interviews with subjects ranging from former governors and nationally acclaimed writers to tenant farmers and lay midwives. Representing every county in Kentucky, they add rich detail and the evocative power of the human voice to the historical record.

Housed in Frankfort at the Kentucky Historical Society’s Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Oral History Commission archives are open to the public, not just scholars. It is one of the largest such collections in the country, and has served as a model for others.

KET played a part in one of the commission’s big projects by creating and hosting the web site accompanying the documentary Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky.

Watch This Story (10:01)




Fayette County

Producer, videographer: Dave Shuffett
Editor: Dan Taulbee


Music from the Young-at-Heart ...

The Harmonics

Host Dave Shuffett meets some veteran musicians in our next segment. The Louisville-based Harmonics specialize in the music of yesteryear, bringing smiles to the faces of residents of retirement homes as well as other audiences around the city. Their favorite instrument, naturally, is the harmonica, though various members of the troupe also join in with guitar, washboard, banjo, and even spoons.

Watch This Story (8:12)




Jefferson County

For more information:
Kentucky Music Educators Association, P.O. Box 1058, Richmond, KY 40476, (859) 626-5635

Producer: Mike Brower


... and the Just Plain Young

All-State Choruses

Though they may be of a different generation, the musicians who close this program share the Harmonics’ appreciation for music of a past era. Taped at the Kentucky Music Educators Association’s annual gathering in Louisville in February 2001, this segment features high school students from around Kentucky chosen through an annual audition process.

The Kentucky All-State TTBB Chorus, conducted by Frank Bianchi, sings William Owen’s Laudamus, as arranged by Daniel Protheroe. The Kentucky All-State SSA Chorus, led by Charlotte Adams, performs Blessed Be the Name of the Lord by Dale Grotenhuis.

These performances were part of the KET production Making All-State Music.

Watch This Story (10:01)


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