I Was On The Radio

Erika Funke WVIA radioI had the honor and priviledge of being interviewed by ArtScene host and producer Erika Funke at NPR affiliate WVIA in Pittston, Pennsylvania this past June. 

I was teaching for several guilds in the area. Erika was willing to stay late at the station, and the quilters toting me around were willing to make a detour so that I could talk about taking care of Mom and the Alzheiemer’s Art Quilt Initiative.

I’ve been interviewed a couple of times over the phone where I can pace and perspire in the comfort of my own home, but actually being in a radio studio, an NPR studio, was so exciting, and thrilling! It was also just a little terrifying. 

In addition to worrying what Erika would ask, what I would say, and who would hear it, I also worried about uncontrolled coughing, sneezing, hiccupping and other embarrassing bodily noises that might be released in my nervous state.

Talking on the radio with Erika Funke.As soon as we began talking, Erika put me at ease.  I knew she was genuinely interested and she was going to help me through this.

Yes, the microphone has to be right in front of your nose. We peered around our respective obstacles as we chatted.

Erika is part mime, part actress, and part mind reader. Without speaking (with just facial expressions, body language, and hand gestures) she let me know if I was on track, or if I needed to expand on a thought, offer clarification, or leave it and move on. 

Talking with Erika Funke, WVIA in PennsylvaniaAfter I returned home I sent Erika digital files I had made of Mom and I singing together. You’ll hear those at the end of the interview.  

Please listen to the podcast of our interview, made available by WVIA on their website. Here is the direct link: http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wvia/local-wvia-863892.mp3

There is information at the end of the interview about the Susquehanna Valley Chorale. They have just hosted “Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece” and will be performing “Alzheimer’s Stories” for the very first time on October 9 in Bucknell University’s Weis Center for the Performing Arts in Lewisburg, PA.

Composer Robert S. Cohen and librettist Herschel Garfein created a stunning 30-minute, three movement choral work with chamber orchestra accompaniment from the comments about Alzheimer’s posted gathered on the Chorale’s web site. If you are anywhere near Lewisburg, don’t miss it.

This interview was first broadcast on October 1, 2009.

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10 thoughts on “I Was On The Radio

  1. Alzheimer’s Stories is a unique ground-breaking musical work. If you sing in a chorus somewhere in the country, you should have your artistic director check it out. Contact composer Bob Cohen at: Frogmastr@aol.com

    It is composed for chorus, chamber orchestra, a mezzo-soprano, and a baritone soloist. The text is taken from personal stories about Alzheimer’s shared with the chorale which librettist Herschel Garfein skillfully wove together. Our singers are loving this poignant caring piece. We expect this work to take on a life of its own. You can help that happen. Ask for it to be performed.


  2. Ami – I sit here after listening to the radio show with tears streaming down my face. It brought back so many memories of my dear mother who died from Alzheimer’s disease 10 years ago. I continue to facilitate support groups for those who are in need of the support that can be given by just listening and commisserating. You and I have corresponded in the past, first with Leader Dog, then when your mother was diagnosed. Keep up the good work you are doing by educating the public on this terrible disease, and by informing the caregivers that they aren’t alone. This is definitely a long, hard journey, but when we come out on the other end with a way to help someone else, we feel a little better. Your mother is so proud of you, and so are all of us. God Bless You in your continued work!!


  3. The podcast moved me to tears, but they were happy tears at the end as you and your mom sang. How wonderful to have captured her voice for all time.


  4. Ami – thank you for sharing this. I lost a very special grandmother to Alzheimer’s and, as I Iistened to the interview, I was able to relive a lot of precious memories. Some were painful too, and just being able to cry about them as I sat at my computer gave me a release that has been too long in coming.
    I hope and pray that your efforts in funding Alsheimer’s research will someday find a way to cure this horrid disease.


  5. Thanks for sharing your story again with the world. It was great to hear your and your mom’s voices again.
    All my best, Judy Anne Walter


  6. I was so thrilled to read about your NPR interview and also about the performance at my alma mater (class of 1969), Bucknell, of the Alzheimer’s stories! My mother had dementia due to hardening of the artieries in her brain and my mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s. Thanks for all you do helping to fund research for a cure for this heartbreaking disease.

    Deb Divine


  7. Thanks for sharing Ami. Your story hits home and you do such a nice job telling it. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the visual of seeing you while you were talking. The picture was like a kaliedoscope showing bright colors in many designs going in every direction. You have a “God given talent” with your quilting and speaking ability.


  8. Ami, thank you for the link to the podcast. I missed the rebroadcast last Sunday and was hoping there would be another chance to hear the interview. You are indeed a very eloquent spokesperson for your crusade to eradicate Alzheimer’s disease!


  9. Dear Ami,
    I have been a follower of yours for many years now (started with your “Rag Fur Coat”). I read your newsletter, love Madison’s contributions and now am a blog follower. I just listened to your radio interview which not only brought tears to my eyes but also a great admiration for your loving devotion to your Mother and the great contribution you are making to the cause of funding and finding a cure for Alzheimers disease. What struck me most was the musical connection. Music is undoubtedly the one connection that we all have with one another. Music is the universal language that can be shared by all. I have a music degree and know that it is something that I cannot live without and can always share with others. I am so very glad that you found your voice to share your harmonies with your Mother and I know that she knew you and your love were there through that music you sang together.
    May God Bless you for all that you do to help conquer this most devastating disease.
    With warmest regards,
    Betsy Cobbs


  10. Dear Ami,
    Thank you so much for including the link to your radio interview. I’ve been a follower of yours for years, especially since your mother’s diagnosis.
    Thank you allowing me into your world, and into the world of Alzheimer’s.


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