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A Blissful Bargain Bonanza at WMNF’s Book and Record Sale

Naveen Sultan about 6 months ago

Tags: WMNF Book and Record Sale

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photo by Amy Beeman

A Blissful Bargain Bonanza at WMNF’s Book and Record Sale

By Amy Beeman

WMNF’s annual Book and Record Sale was a music lover’s jackpot. With thousands of used records and CDs, along with loads of books, DVDs, stereo equipment and even some laser discs and cassettes, all at extremely low prices, hundreds of people left clutching their new bargain finds with smiles on their faces.

WMNF’s Volunteer Coordinator JoEllen Schilke said in an email interview, “The sale is one of the big single-day fundraisers that we have. It also is important because it provides an alternative way to help the station for people who don't have a lot of money. [It also] brings people into the station when they are dropping off their donations.” Schilke said this year’s turn out was about the same as most years, but that the sale seemed to have brought in a lot of people who weren’t familiar with the station.

Those who showed up for the bonus hour (one hour before regular admission for a few extra bucks tacked onto the entry fee) found a lot of like-minded folks, according to one early arrival, record collector Scott Campbell. He said the line stretched all the way through the lobby of the downtown Howard Johnson Hotel to the entrance. Campbell had a nice fat stack of albums including a Rolling Stones record, some Billy Joel, and his prized find, a beloved Sinatra album. He said he was getting a little “burned out” after more than two hours of perusing so much, but he had a strategy. Campbell said he would skim carefully, because there were so many to go through and they weren’t in any kind of order, but made sure to pay close attention because there were good finds stuck in the middle of a bunch of random records.

And records seemed to be one of the biggest draws. Heads were down and faces looked focused. Busy fingers flipped through boxes after boxes of records as DJs played music for the crowd. Among the types of albums to sift through were Hip-Hop, Hawaiian music, Classical albums, some Motown, 70’s rock and Disco, Country and a good sprinkling of Hall & Oats and James Taylor, and just about anything else you can imagine, and plenty of stuff you never imagined. It was a little overwhelming in a kid-in- a-candy-store kind of way.

Among my personal favorite finds were a Patsy Cline, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Led Zeppelin, and my best score due to the overall pristine condition of the album and awesomeness of the music on it, Van Halen’s “1984,” and that was after noon! Point being, those choice babies were still floating around after so many people had already looked through the albums for three hours. There is just something super-satisfying about a great find at a garage sale price with the bonus of helping to support something that matters, our community radio station.

Volunteer Kurien Mathew said though he’d like to have been able to separate the albums by genre, it was just too much when taking into account the amount of albums donated versus the amount of man power it would’ve required. It really didn’t matter though, because as Campbell pointed out, the search was part of the fun. Part of Mathew’s job as a volunteer was to check the records for quality and scratches. “It’s beautiful. I love it,” he said, referring to the act of removing the dust from the records, and in general of being part of helping WMNF. He said one reason he was involved was because he wanted to help support the station in making as much money as possible.

And Schilke said she is grateful for volunteers like Mathew “The volunteers who put it on are absolutely amazing. People gave so much of their time and energy to make it happen. I am constantly floored over how generous people are!”

Schilke also hopes to create some micro-events in the same vein. “I'd like to sort through and organize the records and CDs that are left- plus we already have some new donations!- and invite people in to different open houses to meet the DJs, and have the music for sale at those events,” she said.

Which would be great, because after getting home and listening to my new Hawaiian album that I bought on a whim, I realized I needed more Hawaiian music in my life, which means I need to get back to another one of WMNF’s Book and Record sales!

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