Staff Song Pick of the Week

News & Notes technical director Sherri Stacy Hendrickson admits that she's cheating on this one; instead of picking just one song, she's picked the whole musical, Ragtime.

TONY COX, host:

It's time again for our staff song pick of the week.

And today, we've got NEWS & NOTES technical director, Sherry Hendrickson.

So, Sherry, tell the listeners what it is you do on the show.

SHERRY HENDRICKSON: Well, my official title is NEWS & NOTES technical director. I basically direct technical stuff. You know, I'm sitting in the control room every day, listening to the show, helping drive the show, and I'm here every day listening to you and Farai.

COX: So tell me about your selection, your pick of the week.

HENDRICKSON: Well, Tony, I kind of cheated, and I selected and searched this one song, an entire musical called "Ragtime", the 1998 musical. And "Ragtime" is kind of a story that I found unique. It's the story of the era of ragtime, right around the beginning of the 20th century. The dawn of a new era, and its themes really kind to have parallel what's going on in our country now.

COX: That's a hundred years ago, what is it about that music and the lyrics that draws you?

HENDRICKSON: Well, in this musical, you've got three groups of people. You've got a white, upper-class group of people. You've got a working class group of blacks, and you've got a group of immigrants, which - and the entire musical is about the conflicts and the relationship that these three groups have.

And I find it mirroring a lot of the themes that we have today with, you know, immigration in this country and some of the hope that immigrants come to in this country and some of the realities of how they're treated and, obviously, some of the difficulties we still have between whites and blacks.

COX: What song is it that you hear on this musical that just says, I love this song?

HENDRICKSON: Well, the first song I have is one of the big numbers in the entire musical. It's called "Wheels of a Dream." And it's sung by the two lead black characters: Sarah and Coalhouse Walker.

(Soundbite of song, "Wheels of a Dream")

Unidentified Man: (As Coalhouse Walker) (Singing) We'll go down south.

Unidentified Woman: (As Sarah) (Singing) Go down south.

Unidentified Man: (As Coalhouse Walker)(Singing) And see your people.

Unidentified Woman: (As Sarah) (Singing) See my folks.

HENDRICKSON: And each of characters have a new born son and they're singing about their hopes for their son and their hopes for America and what they hope their future is going to be like. They dream about traveling the country and just having a happy, you know, regular American family and their hopes that their son will have a big, bright beautiful future.

(Soundbite of song, "Wheels of a Dream")

Unidentified Group: (As Sarah and Coalhouse Porter) (Singing) And he will ride on the wheels of a dream.

HENDRICKSON: It's an optimistic piece, and it's actually sung beautifully.

COX: So that was your favorite, but what - you have another favorite?

HENDRICKSON: I've got another favorite. There are so many favorites. All of these songs, of course, interconnect into one large story. And, you know, besides Sarah and Coalhouse's hopes for the future, they also have a cute charming scene where they're - Coalhouse is wooing her, and it's a song called "Sarah Brown Eyes," singing about her brown eyes. And that's just beautifully sung with beautiful deep voices and a great duet.

(Soundbite of song "Sarah Brown Eyes")

Unidentified Man: (As Coalhouse Walker) (Singing) …dance.

Unidentified Woman: (As Sarah) (Singing) I never heard no music quite like yours. Where'd you learn how to play it that way?

COX: When you're home and you find yourself walking around, are you singing this song?

HENDRICKSON: I'm imagining you sing it, Tony.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HENDRICKSON: With your big, beautiful, deep radio NPR host voice. I am dreaming of you singing it.

(Soundbite of song "Sarah Brown Eyes")

Unidentified Group: (As Coalhouse Walker and Sarah) (Singing) …on that piano…

COX: That was NEWS & NOTES technical director Sherry Hendrickson.

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