One of the most basic desires of any human being is to be heard. With almost 400,000 people in the city of Cleveland, it’s easier said than done – especially if you’re a child.
Disk jockey Doc Harrill, a local music producer, turntablist and teacher who lives in Glenville, is trying to change all that by giving youth in Glenville and University Circle a unique opportunity.
“The same way hip-hop gave me a voice when I was a teen, it’s a way to help students find their voice,” Harrill said.
Harrill, who has been in the business of making music for 20 years, is offering children ages 6 to 16 the opportunity to voice their views on their neighborhood and the issues facing it during his Fresh Camp. The camp runs July 16-27, and Harrill has room for 20 students. If you are interested in attending the camp, call Doc at 216-269-9208 or email him at email@example.com.
The two-week camp, run out of a house on Heritage Lane, lets youth experience the recording process from start to finish. Of course, the music is just the beginning.
“The main purpose behind this is to help the students, along with myself, explore our neighborhood and identify what is fresh,” Harrill said. “The term fresh can be what is new, but it’s more than that. It’s what is good. Fresh is what is growing and, especially, what is unique. I want them to be connected with the good things and what’s growing.”
This year, Harrill’s students are exploring issues surrounding food in the area and will spend time with a local chef to see how locally grown food can affordably go from garden to grub.
After the camp ends, students will have a release party when their CD is finished and they will perform a song. Last year’s group performed at the Cinematheque before a showing of “Wild Style,” a 1983 film about hip hop.
The camp is more than an opportunity to get students in front of a microphone and drum machine, Harrill said. He hopes the children learn to think critically about messages in music, improve their public-speaking skills, realize their leadership potential and gain confidence in their ideas.
“The kids have got something to say, so let them say it,” Harrill said. “The youth are going to lead stuff in a few years, so it’s kind of paving the way for them to do some of this work.”
Harrill’s Fresh Camp is looking for donations of time, money and old records and equipment. Visit www.thefreshcamp.com to help.