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Hip-hop program for teens still seeking SE boro home

By Courtney Dentch

The program, designed to bring southeast Queens teens into music studios and teach them about the production aspects of the recording industry, was coordinated through the Queens Village-based Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council, but the group could not find a suitable location to hold the program, said Randy Fisher, executive director of the Youth Council.

The program was the brainchild of Charles Fisher, the Youth Council's founder, and his son, Randy Fisher. They planned to start the project during the fall of 2003 with the cooperation and sponsorship of Sony Music and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.

The program was to involve District 28 and 29 students in southeast Queens from IS 192, IS 8 in Jamaica, August Martin High School in Jamaica and Campus Magnet High School in Cambria Heights.

But the Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council could not find a site to accommodate the cumbersome audio and video equipment for students to get a true hands-on experience, Randy Fisher said.

“We couldn't secure a space for all the studio equipment,” he said, noting that several organizations had offered a location but did not come through on the offers.

“When it came to it, they said, 'we don't have the space,'” Fisher said.

The Youth Council has also been looking for additional funding to ensure that the program moves forward, he said.

The students were to participate in four-month sessions to get training in all aspects of audio and video production, including equipment use, recording techniques, promotion and legal and business issues. Through a partnership with Sony Music, the teens were supposed to visit the company's offices, studios and manufacturing plant to see the industry first-hand.

The program still has support from both Simmons and Sony, Fisher said.

Fisher has also talked with principals at the schools slated to be involved, he said. Three of the four principals told city Department of Education officials last month that they were unaware of the extra-curricular program.

“I've been letting them know that when the program is up and running we'll solicit their students first for the program,” he said.

Fisher hopes to get students in the studio this summer, he said.

In the meantime, the Fishers have been establishing a similar entertainment business program for adults through York College, Randy Fisher said. Courses in the history and business of hip-hop, audio engineering techniques and more are being taught by Charles Fisher on Tuesdays and Wednesday nights, he said. Participants who successfully complete six of the 10 seminars will earn a certificate in entertainment business.

“Rather than waiting around for this program and the kids doing nothing, we asked if we could run this other program at York,” Fisher said.

But Fisher is determined to move ahead with the program for public school students, he said.

“They need this program,” he said of the students. “They need options, and I'm going to make it happen.”

To learn more about the program or the York College courses, call 718-262-2000, Ext. 3026.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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