Tomorrow night sees the return of the Murphey School Radio Show, a live variety show in the style of popular radio programs in the 1930s (or the more contemporary A Prairie Home Companion) staged at the Murphey School at the Shared Visions Retreat Center. Donna Campbell, the show’s producer, says the idea originally was for a single one-off performance.
“We thought it was just going to be one show with the Shared Visions foundation, we were going to raise money for four mental health agencies in Orange County and Durham County, and we thought that was it,” Campbell says.
The fun and success of that first show laid the foundation for twice-yearly events since. The inspiration for the variety show setup came from the restored school itself.
“It’s an old 1930s auditorium. When it was a school, on Saturday nights, any musicians traveling through the area would stop in there and play,” Campbell says. “It was used that way then, and that’s why we do something sort of in the 1930s style of an old-time variety show.”
Local literary figures are among the show’s most prominent guests: Year one featured authors Jill McCorkle and Daniel Wallace, while this year’s most notable wordsmith guest is Clyde Edgerton. Jazz vocalist Lois DeLoatch and folksy singer-songwriter Si Kahn, meanwhile, offer complementary takes on musical styles with roots in North Carolina.
And while the Murphey School Radio Show is a good time, the primary aim is fundraising for local nonprofits, one each from Durham and Orange counties. This year’s beneficiaries, selected by the Shared Visions Foundation, are Student U and EmPOWERment, Inc., organizations that focus on providing affordable housing solutions in Durham and Chapel Hill, respectively.
Find more information about tomorrow’s sold-out shows here, and check out a video from last year’s show of a jingle written for the INDY below.
Murphey School Radio Show: Jingle for INDY Weekly from Minnow Media on Vimeo.