“So I thought it would be a great idea to find a way to get people to come together and play the songs they love, and not just in a predetermined way, but in a way that people could walk in and interact with each other.”
Visitors of all ages contributed to the jukebox playlist, including 12-year-old Alexa Martinez-Cortes of Chapel Hill, who visits the Ackland frequently.
Martinez-Cortes, accompanied by UNC Ph.D student Vanessa Volpe, brought cassette tapes and records, and played songs from “Phantom of the Opera,” Frank Sinatra and the Temptations.
Facilitating the song requests was Karina Soni, station manager for UNC’s WXYC radio station.
The station has partnered up with the Ackland and will play a complete list of the jukebox’s songs for one of their Thursday features.
Soni also recorded audio clips of each of the contributors to the playlist, and asked them what compelled them to choose the song they did as well as what it reminds them of.
“I’ve heard some really cool stories,” Soni said.
“There was one guy who came who told me about how this song meant so much to him because when he was seventeen years old, he asked this woman to dance with him to that song.”
“And instead of the woman just saying yes, she said, ‘I can do more than dance,’ and he never forgot that.”
Selected audio clips will be played with the songs on WXYC’s Thursday feature, which Soni said she hopes will complement the event and the “More Love” exhibition nicely.
Portnow said she wants the jukebox to serve as a connector between the various visitors of the museum.
“The idea is that you can really make connections with people around you at any time,” Portnow said.
“And in my experience, music and art are some of the easiest ways for people to make those connections.