Safe & Sound – VPR’s celebration of Vermont music – is gearing up to shoot its 100th episode

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VPR weekend listeners have probably heard Safe & Sound, a show that celebrates Vermont music and musicians. At the beginning of June, the series will have 100 episodes.

Vermont Edition host Connor Cyrus spoke with Marie Engisch, RVP weekend edition host and reporter, on hosting and production safe and soundand Pierre Engisch, VPR’s sound engineer, who mixes the show.

On what it’s like to hit 100 episodes:

Mary Engisch: Pretty amazing, because we didn’t think we’d get past the first episode. It was just meant to be a one-time event…to fill some space. And here we are.

At the very start of the pandemic, live performances were beginning to shut down, including one that VPR presented as a nationally syndicated show called Live from here. And, as the name suggests, it was a musical performance broadcast, live, from various locations across the country, but originated on Minnesota Public Radio. And that filled two hours on a Saturday night, with these live performances from across the country.

They had to stop their production. And so, VPR found itself, sort of overnight, with that two-hour space to fill. And so [Director of Audience Insights and Radio Programming] Kari Anderson walked up to us and said, “Do you think you can fill it with a few hours of local Vermont music?”

And I was like “No”. (laughs) I was completely skeptical. And I’m so glad it’s thrown in my face every week, how wrong I was for not having enough local music. And yes, the musicians prove it every week.

How did you manage to fill this hour per week?

Peter Engisch: I started using all the contacts I had in the recording industry, and for Vermont, and I knew a ton of engineers everywhere, and I just started contacting them and say, “Hey, who do you work with? What do you have, what can you send me?”

And then it all snowballed from there, like all of a sudden the word was getting out to musicians, not just studio owners, and everybody was in touch and everybody was feeding off of each other, and was almost introduced to each other, so it’s almost like a reintroduction of musicians and studios with what we were all doing… It kind of created this cool community.

Mary Engisch: I think it’s a great way to show fans of traditional Vermont music that there’s so much more to Vermont music than three people in a folk ensemble.

Do you think you have 100 more episodes in you?

Mary Engisch: What I’m hoping will happen, because we’ve been creating this show every week from home – because we’re working from home during the pandemic – so putting on this show from home is a very different experience than what I hope it will happen.

[And that] is that as things slowly, slowly open up, we’re going to be able to get some live music back into this program and have some little performances here at VPR and include them. So I’m looking forward to it, to bringing that element back into the program.

Peter Engisch: Yes, we would like to see it evolve.

Broadcast at noon on Friday, May 26, 2022.

Do you have questions, comments or advice? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

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