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StoryCorps arrives in Buffalo to chronicle residents' tales

Chris Caya

America’s largest oral history project has set up at Canalside and will transform the downtown waterfront into the region's storytelling capital over the next month.

Community leaders will gather today to officially welcome StoryCorps to Buffalo. WBFO has partnered with the groundbreaking oral history organization to host the visit.

The Airstream mobile recording studio has been stationed at the Canalside boardwalk since Sunday. The team will be recording the stories of local residents through October 7.

StoryCorps site manager Stacey Todd says there has been intense local interest in the initiative.

“Since the second we pulled in, people have just stopped and said ‘what is this?’ or ‘I love StoryCorps! How do I participate?’ A lot of people are just interested in the Airstream trailer. People want to come inside,” said Todd.

The official launch of the StoryCorps visit will be staged today at 11:30 a.m. at the Canalside boardwalk. The public is invited to attend.

Since its inception 13 years ago, 65,000 stories have been recorded in all 50 states. The narratives archived in the Library of Congress.

“We were founded in 2003 by Dave Isay,” Todd explained.  “He opened a small recording booth in Grand Central Station-Grand Central Terminal in New York City, just with the simple idea of having two people who know each other ask each other questions rather than having an academic oral historian asking people questions.”

Over the next month, 140 stories are expected to be recorded.  A small selection of the narratives will edited and aired.

People can sign up for a new round of appointments starting Friday by calling 1-800-850-4406 or by visiting storycorps.org/reservations.

StoryCorps last visited the Buffalo region in 2008.