By Charlie Englar
A group that includes parents, fellow musicians, a voice coach, technicians and a writer are chatting in the control room of Poudre School District’s Channel 10 TV studio, basking in the afterglow of a marvelous recorded interview/performance by 14-year-old singer/songwriter phenomenon Lexi Shanley. Vincent Burkardt wouldn’t have it any other way. As congratulations are being passed around, artistic ideas and possible collaborations tossed this way and that, Burkardt turns to me with a sincere look of pride on his face and says, “I love this place.”
Burkardt is a busy man. He recently completed the 100th episode of his radio show Rhythms of Youth, which appears on the Fort Collins community radio station KRFC. The radio show has long been rooted in the philosophy of bringing young, talented local musicians into the public eye. As the radio show has evolved, so has Burkardt, who is always coming up with ideas to make the show fresh. Currently, as Burkardt prepares to move his radio show to 7pm on Monday nights, there is an idea floating about where he would like to have an established local musician be in the KRFC studio each week along with a young local talent, and have that dynamic play off each other, with the “vet” giving the “rookie” pointers, or maybe vice versa.
“It’s always evolving,” Burkardt says.
Burkardt’s other baby is a TV show on Poudre School District’s Channel 10, which gives students and musicians the unique opportunity to be in the environment of a working TV studio. And while Burkardt has only been collaborating with the station for about a year, within that time there has been wide growth for his show, Radio Rhythms. With the help from full-time employees Herb Saperstone (Video Production Coordinator) and Matt Gohl (Video Producer), Burkardt hosts the show, which airs roughly three times a week, and is using the TV studio to evolve his original ideas from Rhythms of Youth and expand them through a different medium.
Bringing young musicians in and having them experience the process of being recorded on TV, minus the pressure, is something that most kids rarely get to partake in.
“We want to give the kids a different venue to perform…it’s the synergy of learning and experience,” said Saperstone.
It is also the community/networking aspect of both the radio and TV shows – which the kids might not even realize they are a part of – that stands out as well.
After her TV interview/performance, Lexi Shanley asks a fellow musician (13-year-old guitar player Noel Thomas, who was invited to the taping along with his mom Suna and 11-year-old drummer/brother Evan) if he would like to go into the studio and record a jam of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.” Busting it out on the spot to near perfection, they chime, “We should put that on YouTube.”
Catch Rhythms of Youth on KRFC (88.9 FM) on Monday nights at 7pm. You can also find the full schedule for Radio Rhythms on the Poudre School District’s Channel 10 by visiting psdschools.org and clicking on “Channel 10” on the website’s left sidebar.