John Philip Colletta is one of America's most popular genealogy lecturers. Based in Washington, D.C., he conducts workshops for the U.S. National Archives, teaches courses for the Smithsonian Institution, and lectures nationally and in Canada.
When Colletta was fourteen years old, he asked his grandmother for help with their family tree. She shared a story she'd heard repeated throughout her life about their ancestor, Joe Ring, who owned owned a plantation in the Mississippi Delta. According to family lore, Joe Ring's slaves revolted one day, killed him, and burned the plantation to the ground.
The story haunted John Colletta for the next thirty years: The urge to find the full truth was planted in his head, and he wouldn't rest until he learned all that he could. Colletta not only found the truth, he also recreated the story scene by scene in his book Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath. Colletta examines twelve different theories of what happened that night in the Mississippi Delta, eventually discovering the terrible truth.
Only a Few Bones is a great example of how oral history passed down through generations may have a kernel of truth but can be distorted and re-imagined into a narrative far different from the truth. In his keynote address, Colletta will use his experience writing Only a Few Bones to demonstrate how, with the use of sources, personal historians can place biographical information in its historical context and provide their clients with a fuller understanding of who their ancestors were and how they lived.
Max Krochmal, an assistant professor of history at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, creates classes and projects for which he and his students conduct interviews preserving Texas's civil rights history from the very people who lived it.
"Most people don't leave behind written records, and that means our history is biased to the wealthy, privileged people who can do that," Krochmal says. "Written sources tell us what happened, but to understand the significance of an event and why it mattered, one needs oral sources to shed light on that."
The voices of the men and women who lived through the civil rights struggle in Texas provide a vital addition to the written history. "We talk with African Americans and Mexican Americans about their struggles, as well as to the white participants, to better understand how those movements intersect."
In his presentation, Krochmal will share insights gained through his research and oral history projects and offer suggestions on how personal historians can reach out to people of different races, cultures, and socioeconomic levels to be sure everyone's story is told.
Krochmal studied at the University of California at Santa Cruz and received his M.A. and Ph.D. at Duke University. He is also the project director of the oral history website Civil Rights in Black and Brown: Oral History Project. This site provides video clips from interviews with African American, Mexican American, and white activists who live all over the diverse state of Texas adding new depth to the study of "black/brown" and multicultural relations past and present.
In video and film, voices and pictures tell the story, but music can set the mood, place the story in time, and prepare the audience to absorb the story more fully. John Centrone, a film composer living in Brockport, New York, owns Bethany Ridge Studio, a recording studio equipped with state-of-the-art sample libraries and organic instruments for composing and producing music for film and television.
Centrone provides filmmakers a wide range of music composed specifically for their projects and also offers post-production audio services such as ADR (audio dialogue replacement), dialogue balancing and cleanup, noise reduction, noise elimination, and additional Foley or sound effects.
With degrees in music, electronics, and marketing, Centrone spent several years working in marketing for a major electronics manufacturing company before he returned to his passion and opened Bethany Ridge Recording Studio in 2004, where he records various artists and composes his own music. With a passion for putting music to picture, John began writing original music for local movie projects. He is a longtime member of the Society of Composers and Lyricists and has scored dozens of shorts, feature films, and commercials.
APH members will benefit from his keynote presentation for the conference that will focus on how (and when) to use music in video biographies. Centrone will also discuss the use of stock music for video productions versus working with a composer, as well as how the role of music in films has evolved over the years.
Whether you work in video or not, you will be entertained and informed by this fascinating look behind the scenes of movie making and the music that helps tell the story.