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I love listening to Worcester-based WICN (jazz radio). Bonnie Johnson had an especially good show yesterday, opening with Cynthia Scott and 3rd, 4th & 5th graders of PS32 in Brooklyn, NY, singing “Dream for One Bright World.”

“There is a new day dawning
“The time is now
“The world is ready for a change …

“Let’s teach out children to care
“To help one another
“And mend broken hearts
“So many children in the world
“Have never had a chance
“Their time has come …

(More lyrics here.)

You can listen to WICN online at wicn.org. Bonnie Johnson’s program is described at Colors of Jazz. “Bonnie Johnson is host of Colors of Jazz on Sunday afternoon from noon-4 pm. If you asked the Worcester native how she found jazz, she would tell you that jazz found her. As an undergraduate student at Howard University in Washington, DC, Ms. Johnson became a fan of the Quiet Storm featured on the college station WHUR-FM. …

“Ms. Johnson appreciates the diversity and the evolution of music. As a self-taught electric bassist, she has enjoyed many years of playing various types of music with her daughter and close friends in a family band. Growing up, she sang in the St. Cecilia Girl Choir at All Saints Worcester. …

“Ms. Johnson holds B.A. in Liberal Studies and M.S. in Communications and Information Management degrees from Bay Path College. She believes the future of jazz is in our children, stating, ‘Music and the arts is one area that gives young people an outlet and release of creative energy. While there are many children exposed to music through lessons and attending live performances, there are too many more that are not.’ One of Johnson’s primary goals as host at WICN is to reach youth in creative ways through community engagement.”

That’s something to think about on Martin Luther King’s birthday — and maybe to act on, too.

Bonnie Johnson, host of WICN radio’s Colors of Jazz 

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Listening to the lone WICN radio host early Saturday morning reminded me of when I was a WGMC radio host in Greece, New York — until Suzanne was six months old and starting to reach over the baby seat to grab the turntable.

I was never sure if anyone was out there listening, but I liked doing it anyway.

Kind of like blogging.

At 5:30 a.m., the WICN host was playing a series of mellow tunes. He seemed to be enjoying the music, which means he didn’t talk much. I appreciate that kind of host so much more than the ones who love to hear themselves talk.

WICN, “Jazz Plus,  for New England,” is a rare boon to jazz lovers. Having been to the studio recently to donate school instruments, I couldn’t help thinking that the hours before dawn on a Saturday must be pretty bleak and lonely in that industrial part of Worcester.

The only thing I was able learn about the host after Googling around was that his last name is Chandler. It was nice to think of Mr. Chandler enjoying the music in that barren neighborhood before 6 a.m., and I wish I had told him that someone was listening and appreciated the way he rode the records, transitioning so smoothly.

You can listen to WICN online, here, if you don’t live near Worcester. Send the station an e-mail to tell a host you’re listening. It’s a small outfit. I’m still waiting to hear back from my own e-mail.

If you are free during a weekday, be sure to catch a live performance by Pamela Hines and Arnie Krakowsky (below) on January 29.

Update 1/27/14: WICN General Manager Gerry Weston e-mails that the early morning host was “Osay Chandler, he’s out of Pittsburgh.”

Photo: WICN
Join pianist Pamela Hines and her special guest on January 29 at 2 p.m. Arnie Krakowsky, a  professional tenor saxophone jazz musician, will perform live with Hines in the WICN studio.

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I like to listen to a jazz radio station out of Worcester, WICN.

The other day the announcer mentioned an effort funded by TD Bank’s charitable foundation to collect old school instruments and refurbish them for a new generation.

If you live near Worcester and have been wondering what to do with those drums and violins, consider dropping them off at 50 Portland St. If you don’t live near Worcester, you might consider looking for a similar program in your town — or even starting one. Other TD Banks might help out. Banks in general can be good sources of such community support.

Here’s what the website says: “WICN 90.5, the NPR jazz station in Worcester, and Worcester Public Schools continue their collaboration called Instrumental Partners. The program collects used musical instruments from Central New England residents for the benefit of public school students. ‘We’re approaching 100 instruments donated so far!’ said WICN General Manager Gerry Weston. Instrumental Partners began in 2012.

“All instruments are accepted: brass, wind, string, percussion, acoustic, electric, etc. Worcester Public Schools Performing Arts Liaison Lisa Leach said, ‘We are very excited about this collaboration and putting instruments in the hands of young people who are unable to purchase or rent them, but still have the desire and work ethic to make music an integral part of their developing lives.’ ” More.

If you want to call first, the number is 508 752 0700.

12/27/13 Update. Today I took the oboe and the alto sax below to WICN for the Worcester Public Schools music program. Now a new generation of children will play them.

school-instruments-sax=oboe

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