A traveling project that has collected tens of thousands of stories by everyday people has rolled into Buffalo. StoryCorps's mobile studio is now parked at Canalside and, for the next month, will be welcoming local people from all walks of life to share their stories.
WBFO has partnered with the oral history organization to host the visit, which continues through October 7.
The Airstream mobile recording studio has been stationed at the Canalside boardwalk since Sunday. Thursday morning, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Empire State Development Corporation Regional President Sam Hoyt and WBFO News Director Brian Meyer formally welcomed StoryCorps as the studio began its first day of recording local stories.
"This is an amazing opportunity for us to tell the Buffalo story," Brown said. "Certainly, StoryCorps knows a good story when they hear one and when they see one."
StoryCorps site manager Stacey Todd explained what they are seeking from Western New Yorkers who come forward to participate.
"We ask two people to come into the booth, who know each other, and ask each other questions that they may never have asked each other before," Todd explained.
Participants sit for a 40-minute session. The spoken tales are collected and archived in the American Folk Life Center of the Library of Congress. Since the project started in 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 66,000 stories from throughout the nation.
"We do it with the hopes of furthering understanding, to help people recognize our own shared humanity and for people to feel the power of their own voice," Todd said.
Felix Lopez, one of the project's facilitators, has been traveling with StoryCorps for the past several months, beginning in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was asked if there are any stories which stand out most in his mind.
"The ones that always resonate with me are the ones with young children, and how inquisitive they are and how bright their minds are," he said.
Appointments are needed to participate. A new round of reservations was made available at 10 a.m. on Friday morning, but were filled in just under an hour.
StoryCorps last visited the Buffalo region in 2008.