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The National Audio Theatre Festival Comes to West Plains

In this month's program, Marideth Sisco describes what happens when the National Audio Theatre Festival comes to town.

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. Down here in Howell County we may think of ourselves as a quiet little back water most of the time, but this month the dust hardly settled after the Old Time Music Festival when the National Audio Theater Festival people came to town. They're the people who work in radio and related fields and who do the sound for movies and television and the record industry and iPods...and....and cut that out Dwight! And a lot of other stuff. I love it when they come to town because it's a great learning opportunity for me and the other folks who attend, and a fine entertainment for everybody else. People come to study sound editing, voice acting, audio production and to get a look at the latest gadgets and technology. And I can improve my editing skills and not have to bother the folks at the studios so much by asking so many dumb questions. This week I got to go out on a field recording trip with Renee Pringle, who you may know from NPR's Morning Edition, to collect sounds for tonight's two hour performance by the entire NATF Workshop which they will air before a live studio audience and broadcast live on local radio. They do this every year, and it's a real hoot, and always an extremely entertaining event. But as usual, they need sound effects. One year they needed the sound of water drops falling way back in a cave and you know, to get that you have to go way back in a cave. Renee loved that. Another year they brought in an Air Evac helicopter and recorded the sound of it landing and taking off. This year there's a story about an old lady who lives on a farm so the list includes pigs, chickens, a rocking chair and a mule. So Tuesday morning we went out to Hodgson Mill to Colin and Leslie Collins farm to see what we could get. We got a bunch of stuff (farm SFX).

I wish Renee's folks back at NPR could have seen her out there following around an aggravated bee with a microphone (bee SFX). Anyway, we were almost entirely successful. We got the chickens to cackle, the rooster to crow, the bee to buzz, the rocker to rock and the pigs to do quite a number of things, but as for the mule, well, sometimes you just have to improvise.

Can I have a moment of silence?

(man making donkey sounds)

(dog barking)

He's pretty good.

(man making donkey sounds)

That's good, that's great. Great mule. Thank you.

Thanks to Renee Pringle, Bill Bartleson, Kevin Donnelly, Diane Ballon, Julia Throw and Rev. Dwight Frizzel. This is Marideth Sisco, auditioning mules in These Ozarks Hills.