Center for Documentary Studies: Ironing Board Sam

inUncategorizedon May 31, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, Ironing Board Sam took to the stage with a bevy of elementary school students backing him up on ukeleles, glockenspiels and with their voices; a middle school jazz band was off to the side and Music Maker intern Raphael plucked along on bass. The stage was the middle of a gymnasium floor and the audience large groups of schoolkids and their parents. It was the culmination of Sam’s several months visiting with music classes as a part of the Jazz Foundation’s Agnis Varis Jazz in the Schools Program.

This evening, Sam is reprising this performance with a portion of the Ukelele orchestra on the lawn of the Historic Burwell School in Hillsborough, NC. So, it’s timely that our next piece from the collaborative effort with Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies is a piece about Sam:






Hannah Colton: 

I’m Hannah Colton. I come from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and I will graduate in May 2013. At Duke, I studied Public Policy and Environmental Science with a concentration in experiential education and an academic crush on CDS. I’ve been lucky to be a part of a supportive community in Ubuntu living group, where I found friends that would talk with me about anything from food justice and environmental health to creative baking.  I love to sing, and I’m currently taking a break from vocal jazz to sing some French and Russian choral music.

The Multimedia Documentary class was my first venture into the fascinating world of Southern blues. It was also my first opportunity to create a documentary film, and reminded me how much I love stories and storytellers. I had a wonderful time getting to know the sage yet gracious Ironing Board Sam, my goofy and talented project team members, and all the great folks at Music Maker. In the fall, I’ll be entering the fourth grade at Orange Charter School to join Sammie Moore’s ukulele orchestra.

Amy Huang:

As a second year pre-med student majoring in Biology, I have relatively little experience with multimedia documentary. Last semester was my first time taking a documentary studies class, Documenting Obesity, a decision made on almost a complete whim. However, because of the positive experience I had, I decided to take another documentary studies class. I chose to take Multimedia Documentary in particular because of its musical component. As a trained classical pianist, I had very little exposure to blues music. However, after reading about the origins of blues working with Ironing Board Sam, I have come to appreciate the genre much more. I find that the service-learning component of this class, developing a piece that promotes both the artist and the Music Maker Relief Foundation, removes students from the confines of a college campus and encourages them to interact with people they would not otherwise encounter.

Natalie Robles:

Natalie Robles here. I’m a junior at Duke, majoring in Cultural Anthropology, minoring in Music, and getting the certificate in Documentary Studies. A transplant from Santa Rosa, CA, I’ve resided in the middle of nowhere Goldsboro, NC for the past ten years. I’m a curious soul who’s intrigued, inspired, and enticed by documentation in any facet. However, film and video production has especially tickled my fancy and experiences I had in Colombia, South America and New York City convinced me to change my studies from Music to Anthropology and Doc Studies. The certificate department at CDS has given me the tools to hone in my video skills, especially in Chris Sims’ Multimedia Documentary class. Partnering with Music Maker Relief Foundation, I engaged in ‘service-learning’ group film production by garnering a close relationship with Ironing Board Sam, our film’s star and enhancing my video editing skills. I hope sharing Sam’s story with the overall community will benefit his musical career and promote MMRF’s incentive to better the lives of local blues musicians.

Tabria Williford:

My name is Tabria Williford and I am from San Antonio, Texas. I am currently a sophomore at Duke University, as well as a student athlete in varsity soccer. In my spare time I enjoy taking photography, listening to music, reading mystery books, and watching Breaking Bad. This spring at Duke, I declared my major as Visual Media Studies with a certificate in Information Studies and Documentary Studies.

I have had previous experience with documentary work at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Last semester I completed a project that focused on food security in Durham. Through this project I had the chance to interact with individuals of the Durham Food Bank and Durham Urban Ministries.

During my spring semester, Professor Simms class has provided me with a tremendous amount of knowledge on how to properly edit and shape fieldwork material into a Web-based multimedia presentation. I have acquired skills that have allowed me to produce high quality projects.

The Documentary Studies Program at Duke has given me the opportunity to construct and communicate my own ideas. This program has also given me access to do community-based research, which gave me the opportunity to work with Music Maker Relief Foundation.

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