On Centre: Penns Valley | WPSU to collect individuals’ stories of local history for Story Corps project

mcarroll@centredaily.comOctober 14, 2013 

There are stories to tell in Penns Valley, and WPSU wants to hear them.

The station is inviting residents to come out this week and share their tales and histories as part of the Story Corps project.

Story Corps, according to its website, is an independent nonprofit that seeks to provide all people, regardless of backgrounds or beliefs, the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of their lives.

And all across the country, people have been doing just that, allowing the project to collect and archive more than 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants.

Now WPSU’s Story Corps program, which follows the lead of the national project, thinks it’s time to hear Penns Valley history from those who have lived it.

“From the historic boroughs to the lush forests and farmland, Penns Valley is a unique spot in southeastern Centre County and residents there undoubtedly have interesting stories to tell,” officials said on the WPSU website.

The station will be at the Old Gregg School in Spring Mills to record the stories Thursday through Saturday. Participation is free, but those interested must schedule an appointment ahead of time by calling 863-4233 or visiting http://wpsu.org/radio/program/storycorps.

Here’s how it works: Participants will be recorded while having a conservation with a friend or loved one. Those interested in being interviewed must bring the person who will interview them and prepare questions in advance.

A Story Corps facilitator will be on hand to help people through the interview process, which lasts 40 minutes.

“The person interviewed could be someone with an interesting story, a mentor or perhaps someone who’s a part of local history,” station officials said.

Participants will receive a recording of the interview when they are done, and the project will have another chapter of local history.

“We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters,” according to the national Story Corps website. “At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.”

Excerpts from the local Story Corps effort will air on WPSU-FM and be posted online.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue the StoryCorps project at a local level,” Greg Petersen, WPSU director of programming services, said in a statement. “Storytelling is at the very core of public radio, and these conversations will remind us of the importance of listening to and learning from those around us. It celebrates our shared humanity.”

Matt Carroll writes about news from the Penns and Brush Valley regions. He can be reached at 231-4631 or mcarroll@centre daily.com.

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