by Jim Dees – In the early frontier days of Thacker, there was no mission statement or outreach strategy, other than getting through the hour without knocking something over. Seventeen years ago, with the Taylor Grocery Band and then later with shaman legends, Duff Dorrough and Jim Dickinson, the only “outreach” was from Chip and Whitey at City Grocery after the show.
Flash forward to yesterday 2016: I had the satisfying but also, somewhat surreal pleasure of watching a group of school children put on their version of our show called Thacker, Jr. The production featured two third grader hosts – one a mini-me except cooler – and the other an African-American female. (Their rapport was killer.) The audience was all third graders who are “academically challenged” (mini me again) and take part in Leap Frog, an after-school tutoring program.
Renowned children’s author/illustrator (and Oxford resident) Sarah Frances Hardy came on and told the children how to write a story, “Create two characters, put them in conflict and have them work out a happy ending. Go home tonight and start writing a story.”
I looked over at the kids, all sitting on the floor, 30 or so of them, the gleaming future of this country. It was a fully integrated group, all colors and faiths. Hearing that they could, in fact, go home and start writing a story lit up their young faces. You could tell some of them were thinking about it. Maybe no one had ever suggested it before.
Watching these kids put on their own Thacker show, seeing their joyful discovery of creative possibilities caused me to… well, I got a little something in my eye.
Tonight we’ll gather at Southside Gallery to celebrate our show and raise money for it. Maybe we’ll do so with renewed purpose. Thanks to Thacker, Jr. I feel like our little “radio homeroom class” has even deeper meaning in this community we love.
I know those early Thacker pioneers would approve. Tonight, we will surely raise a glass, but also, the ante.
To help Thacker Jr. reach their funding goal, please go here: http://bit.ly/2g8nmDx