A reunion is a form of community self-organizing

An MCHS Reunion, whether a ’60s Reunion, such as the one that the MCHS 2015 organizing team is staging, or any other MCHS Reunion, is a form of community self-organizing.

By that I mean that people get together and create a structure that enables the community to find – and communicate with, interact with – other members of the community.

The Reunions come and go. There is tremendous value in face-to-face meetings, and conversations. That’s what Reunions are about.

We also communicate, get together, interact, in other ways – including through social media venues such as Facebook. All the ways that we use to develop our community, as MCHS Alumni, warrants our support and participation.

Technical Details

Sharing of technical details – as well as strategic thinking on all manner of topics – is helpful, I have learned, as many have, in the process of community self-organizing.

Among other things, by way of example, we have recently been posting MCHS yearbook photos to Facebook. The scanner that I am using is an Epson V550 Photo Scanner. I mention this because the quality of the scanner has a lot to do with the scans that a person is able to create.

I hadn’t been planning to buy a new, better-quality scanner, but a year ago I was travelling between Toronto and the Laurentians. I had a scanner with me, as I wanted to scan some photos in the Laurentians, using a laptop, but I had forgotten a cable. So I decided to buy a new scanner, to ensure I could complete the scanning project that I had in mind. I chose a high-end scanner. I’m really pleased I bought the Epson V550 model; I would never have imagined what a difference it makes when you move up from the cheapest, entry-level scanner and buy a higher-end model.

Creation of Text Files

As well, I use an easy way to convert text from the yearbook pages unto text for Facebook posts or for blog posts. I scan the text – for example, the caption for a photo – as a PDF file. I then convert the PDF file to a Word file. That’s an easy way to manage the process. With practice, the process of scanning and posting becomes very quick, and very easy.

When I first began to work on publicizing of the MCHS 2015 Reunion, I did not have a clue about the value of having a Facebook Group to help with the spreading of the word. Fortunately, people were out there who brought us up to speed quickly, regarding this topic.

Originally, we also thought that we could get by without a separate website devoted specifically to the Reunion – a site that would be easy to navigate, and where all the key information would be displayed. We quickly learned, from Alumni feedback, that such a website was indeed required. We have set it up. In the process, we have taken our first steps on learning how to work with static pages at a website.

What we want to underline, in this regard, is that sharing of information, at a wide range of levels, is a key ingredient in common it self-organizing, whatever form such an organizing process may take.

Sound Recording

I’ve been working with audio recordings for many years, both for oral history interviews and to get good quality sound for online videos. The place where I buy sound equipment is Trew Audio at 17 Carlaw Street in Toronto. They are a tremendously valuable resource for equipment and advice. I learned about Trew Audio, which specializes in professional sound recording equipment, years ago from Tim Hewlings (MCHS ’63) of Montreal who has made a career in professional audio.

The sound of a top quality recording, as experienced with good quality monitor earphones, is truly one of the great pleasures of life, in my way of looking at things. I recently bought a pair some new ear pads the Sony earphones that I’ve been using for many years. I was reminded of the feeling that I would have, in the primary grades, when I began school in Montreal, whenever I would get a new school notebook. The pages would all be new, and that was such a great feeling. A new notebook, and now I can write away to my heart’s content.

I’ve also moved on from a Zoom H4n recorder, that I’ve been using for many years, to a Zoom H5 audio recorder. After many years of service, the Zoom H4n was slowly starting to show the signs of the passage of the years.

The settings, that I need for the recording I do, were set up for me by staff at Trew Audio. The machine is clearly an advance on the H4n. It takes almost no time at all to load up the SD card, and it has a function that enables you to start recording at once, without a need to wait for anything.

At a Community Storytelling Panel on June 13, 2015, which I recorded with two audio recorders and a DSLR camera, I got some helpful pointer from a young musician named Anthony Savidge, who along with Hayley Ryerson performed music between the speakers. Anthony gave me some helpful pointers about which gain control dials on the H5 is used for which channels. It’s a great way to learn – just ask somebody, who has the requisite expertise, in such matters, and you will be steps ahead of where you otherwise would be.

 

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