Atlanta Sounds

Atlanta Sounds debuted on September 10, 2007 and is designed to show the texture of Atlanta. The stories are portraits, oral histories, anecdotes, memories and fragments of life overheard. All told by those who live, work, and visit metro Atlanta. Think of each Atlanta Sound as a pixel in the photograph of Atlanta.  Got an idea or comment for the series?  Click here to send us your ideas for Atlanta Sounds!

Looking for an episode that aired before February 28, 2012? Please visit our Archive here

  

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Atlanta Sounds
4:03 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: The Soccer Player

Credit Eric Durban

In this Atlanta Sound, we meet Bonnie Shea, a teenage soccer player for the ECNL Concorde Fire U15 girls team.

As one of the team captains, Shea helps direct the team from her center defender position on the field. 

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Atlanta Sounds
1:38 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: The Fiddler

Credit Bob Simon

For almost four decades, the fiddle has been a fixture in Bob Simon's life. 

He began by teaching himself and later took lessons. Today, Simon teaches the fiddle to individuals and groups around the metro area.

"I don't want them to play like I do," Simon says. "I want them to find their own way of playing, but there's always going to be a part of me in there and I like that legacy."

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Atlanta Sounds
4:22 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: The Parrot Owner

R. Thomas and his bird, Sparkle
Credit Kate Sweeney / WABE

 In this Atlanta Sound, we meet R. Thomas and his bird Sparkle. Thomas has always loved exotic birds, and keeps a small aviary outside his Peachtree Street restaurant, R. Thomas Deluxe Grill.

Sparkle, a yellow-naped Amazon, lives in a glass enclosure that bears her name in glittery, green paint. Her vocabulary includes such phrases as “Hello!” “Play ball!” and “Happy Birthday!” Thomas received Sparkle on his own tenth birthday. He says her life expectancy is 80—the age he is now—making Sparkle 70 years old. “Maybe she’ll catch up to me,” he says.

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Atlanta Sounds: The Monk
12:00 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

The Monk - Audio Slideshow

Credit Alex Williams / SCAD Atlanta

  

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet Brother Callistus of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers. 

He says that life in the monastery is unique, and that his life there is in response to a deeper call.

You can hear a longer version here

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Atlanta Sounds
3:09 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: Pumpkin Launch

Zachery Marr (far right) and his team prepare their trebuchet for the competition. Each team is allowed three launches.
Eric Durban

Started in 2010, Southern Polytechnic State University’s pumpkin launch competition challenges students to build a device that will throw a pumpkin. From catapults to trebuchets, teams of students design and construct their own devices in an effort to launch a pumpkin in both distance and accuracy. Almost 230 students formed 26 teams for this recording from the 2013 launch.  

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Atlanta Sounds
11:26 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: Bar Mitzvah at The Temple

Credit WABE

In the Jewish tradition, a Jewish boy automatically becomes a Bar Mitzvah when he reaches the age of 13, and a girl at the age of 12. Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah” literally means “son (daughter) of commandment”.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah candidates spend several months preparing for the ceremony by learning how to read and recite from the Jewish scriptures.

In this Atlanta Sounds, we meet 12-year-old Charlie Hirsch who is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah ceremony at The Temple.

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Atlanta Sounds
11:20 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: Decatur Train

Credit David Lee Simmons/WABE

We all know that trains are loud, but for the residents of Decatur, the sound of the train’s whistle stops conversations in their tracks.

The train passes through the city several times a day and resident Alexandra Zinnes says she knows families so familiar with the sound that they really do have to pause as the train passes.  

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Atlanta Sounds
10:00 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Atlanta Sounds: Olympic Park Fountain

Credit Linda Chen / WABE

On hot Atlanta days, squeals of laughter can be heard as kids play and splash around at one of the city's most recognizable landmarks, the Fountain of Rings at Centennial Olympic Park. It was built when the city hosted the 1996 Olympic Games and features the five iconic interconnecting rings.

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Atlanta Sounds: The Pigeon Racer
12:00 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

The Pigeon Racer - Audio Slideshow

Credit Dylan Fagan / WABE

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet Pigeon racer, Jeff Biddle. He was introduced to it when he was a boy, when he found one of his neighbors raced pigeons. He says it’s kind of peaceful to come home from work after a long day and let the birds out and enjoy watching them fly.  

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Atlanta Sounds: The Gardener
12:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

The Gardener – Audio Slideshow

Credit Dylan Fagan

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet Japanese gardener Jim Gibbs.  He spent over thirty years working on his 220 acre, “Gibbs Garden” and opened it to the public in March of 2012.   He says that when you can spend your life working with gardening and nature combined that it’s a really wonderful life.

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Atlanta Sounds: The Oboe Maker
12:14 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

The Oboe Maker - Audio Slideshow

Hastings Huggins SCAD Atlanta

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet oboe maker, Harry Vas Dias, who makes his home in North Decatur. His instruments are replicas of 18th century baroque oboes, and each is hand-crafted.   He says he's made nearly 500 oboes by hand.

Atlanta Sounds
12:02 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

The Percussionist - Audio Slideshow

Tom Sherwood

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet percussionist Tom Sherwood.

He began playing drums when he stumbled upon an old drum kit in his dad's garage.

Today he is the principal percussionist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

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Atlanta Sounds
12:11 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

The Orchestra Teacher - Audio Slideshow

Kerin Reed at work
Credit Rori-Tai Williams

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet Kerin Reed, a long-time elementary school orchestra director.  Reed says her favorite part of the job is watching her students mature on the instruments.   She seems especially proud when she finds out that some of them have gone on to play professionally.  

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Atlanta Sounds: The Car Racer
8:33 am
Sat July 27, 2013

The Car Racer - Audio Slideshow

Credit Allison Hill / SCAD Atlanta

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet autocross driver Alison Hill.   “Autocross” is a style of motorsports in which drivers take on a course one at a time, racing against the clock.  Allison conveys the best strategy for winning in just one word: Faster!

Click here for the original, longer story. 

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Atlanta Sounds: The Lab Tech
12:07 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

The Lab Tech - Audio Slideshow

Credit Rori-Tai Williams

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet lab technician Elsa Mekonnen.  She finds the world of bacteria to be quite beautiful, and loves science for its curious nature.

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Atlanta Sounds: The Ham Radio Operator
12:02 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

The Ham Radio Operator - Audio Slideshow

Rori-Tai Williams

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet the ham radio operator, Wayne Robertson. From his home in Decatur, Georgia, he talks to people from all over the world.   He says it’s a bit like fishing and you never know what you’re going to get.

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Atlanta Sounds: Young Songwriter
11:21 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Young Songwriter

13-year-old Sydney Rhame wrote her first song when she was six, and learned to play guitar when she was seven. Now she plays her original compositions all over Atlanta and the Southeast. Among her influences, she names Jack Johnson, John Mayer, the Indigo Girls and Pink.

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Atlanta Sounds: Fernbank Telescope
11:08 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Fernbank Telescope

To many it’s known as the Fernbank Telescope, but it’s actual name is the Dr. Ralph L. Buice, Jr. Observatory.   It hosts a telescope that’s nearly three feet across under a large white dome that opens to the night sky.  It’s the largest telescope in the southeastern United States and the Fernbank Science Center has free observations a couple of evenings a week, weather permitting.   You can find out more here.

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Atlanta Sounds: Boat Coxswain
10:53 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Boat Coxswain

Jamie Mellars is the coxswain for the Georgia State University rowing crew. The group practice sessions are held on the Chattahoochee river well before sunrise. Their motto is, "Row Steady State".

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Atlanta Sounds: Georgann Schmalz
10:39 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Georgann Schmalz

Georgann Schmalz is a three time Past-President of the Atlanta Audubon Society. You can learn more about some of her recommendations on where to bird in Atlanta, here. You can also find the names of bird that might be coming through the Atlanta area, here

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Atlanta Sounds: Beatboxing
10:28 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Beatboxing from "Heaven"

Antonio Madison

The art of beatboxing, with its roots in American music, and rich history in the hip hop tradition, is an art practiced by a small but passionate community the world over.  Steven Cantor, aka Heaven Beatbox, is a member of that community, and lives here in Atlanta.  Producer Scott Casavant invited Steven to our studios, to find out more about the artist, and this unique art form.

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Enjoy the river, but plan your visit
12:09 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Buford Dam at 'Water Release'

Christie Wortz
David Barasoain WABE

The beginning of summer is a time when many people decide to visit Lake Lanier or the nearby rivers.  But when the Army Corps of Engineers releases Lake Lanier water from Buford Dam one of their immediate concerns is for swimmers and fishermen just at its base.   WABE’s David Barasoain recently visited that stretch of the Chattahoochee River, for what’s known as ‘water release’.  Learn more about mandatory life vests and the the water release schedule here

Atlanta Sounds: The Canoe Guide
12:06 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

The Canoe Guide - Audio Slideshow

Rori-TAI Williams

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet the canoe guide, Alicia Evans.   She is a guide at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell.

Atlanta Sounds: Dog Training
11:41 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Dog Training

Laura Miller has been doing dog agility (a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy) since 1992 when she took her Jack Russell Terrier, Polo to a Jack Russell Trial.

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Atlanta Sounds: Trivia Night
11:33 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Trivia Night

About a decade ago, local owners of watering holes found a way to pull in customers during the slower nights of the week with trivia contests. Now theyre all over Atlanta.

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Atlanta Sounds: Ollie The Dog
11:28 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Ollie The Dog

On any given day, hundreds of people walk their dog in Piedmont Park. Ollie is a boxer. Boxers were first exhibited at a dog show in Munich in 1895 and is a descendant of the now-extinct Bullenbeisser breed. According to American Kennel Club statistics, Boxers are the sixth most popular breed in the U.S.

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Atlanta Sounds: The Aussie Footballer
9:31 am
Sun June 30, 2013

The Aussie Footballer - Audio Slideshow

Molly Meherin SCAD Atlanta

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow we meet the Aussie footballer, Jim Batten.   He and his teammates play Australian Rules Football in DeKalb Memorial Park in Decatur.  

Atlanta Sounds: Orly Plane Crash
12:18 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Orly Plane Crash

On June 3rd 1962 a chartered Air France Boeing 707 headed for Atlanta crashed on take-off at Orly Airport in Paris, killing 130 people on board. At the time it was the world's worst aviation disaster. After the crash outpouring of support came from all over the country. Within short time millions of dollars had been donated on behalf of the Atlanta Arts Association. That led to the construction of the Memorial Arts Center which later became, what is today known as, the Woodruff Art Center.

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Atlanta Sounds: Water Aerobics Class
11:59 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Water Aerobics Class

Three days a week women over 50 from different parts of Atlanta meet at the Dynamo swim club in Chamblee for water aerobics class. Most of them are here for class that gives them a low impact exercise option. To pass the time during lessons many of them sing old songs - one of which dates back to 1881.

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Atlanta Sounds: American Bald Eagle
11:50 am
Fri June 28, 2013

American Bald Eagle

The Chattahoochee Nature Center is located at a beautiful spot along the Chattahoochee river. They care for two American bald eagles who are "non-releasable" due to past injuries. The Nature Center says that one of their goals is to, "to foster an active awareness and understanding of the ecology of the natural world through interactive, hands-on learning experiences."

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