This past weekend, 50 students from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications descended on the village of Liverpool, about 15 minutes North of Syracuse, NY. Over the weekend, students would produce photo stories, video, and even radio pieces about the community and landscape of this town of about 2500 for The Fall Workshop. Broken up into small production teams, I had the good fortune of being placed on the A-Team with coaches Brad Horn, a freelance multimedia producer, and Keith Jenkins, Supervising Senior Producer for Multimedia at NPR, and fellow graduate students John Liau, Kristina Subsara, and Pete Caty.
Initially, I began shooting a story about the Maurer Funeral Home family business. However, two days before the kick-off of the workshop, the Maurer family decided that they would no longer allow me to film. In the next two days, I managed to connect with one of the two drum majors of the Liverpool High School marching band with the help of Mr. David Perry, director of the Fine Arts department. I was introduced to Kevin Coldren, 17, a senior and fifth-year marching band student, and his mother, Connie, the staunch supporter of her son and die-hard band mom. Unlike the marching bands I grew up with in Honolulu, the LHS marching band is predominantly a competitive field band, and rarely performs during football games.
For two days straight, it rained. It rained, it rained, it rained. It never stopped raining. I was thoroughly impressed that my Canon 5D MKII camera and audio gear all made it through the inclement weather. A bit of gaffers tape over exposed audio ports, and a constant wiping down of the gear made all the difference. The rain sure makes it harder than ever to focus when there's water on the front element of the lens, the LCD screen, and the eyepiece all at the same time. The band's homecoming performance was canceled on Friday, and so I was left with Saturday afternoon and evening to shoot before the 10 a.m. deadline on Sunday.
Everything worked out. Brad and Keith were champions, supporting us through the process and staying up the entire night with the A-team. I came away with a 3-minute video that explores the unique relationship between Kevin and his mother, and the uncertain future as they both prepare for the end of their final band season.
Thanks for reading.