If you find yourself attending one of Memphis' oldest and most vibrant programs on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday evening in Overton Park during the summer, there's a good chance you'll run into an engineering professor by the name of Randel Price.
Dr. Price has been teaching students how to build, design, and test the structures that keep our society functioning at Christian Brothers University since 2003. However, on an average weekend you can find him constructing a different kind of public utility, one that brings together thousands of individuals from all walks of life and corners of Memphis, TN.
"You've got good music, and it's just a nice place to be, a nice way to spend a summer night"
The Levitt Shell is a staple of the city's civic life, a reflection of the relentless dedication to public activities that Memphis has always kept close to its breast. With a lineup of over 50 free concerts every year, the organization depends heavily on an intricate volunteer base, generous sponsors, and a sufficient flow of donations from concert-goers to keep itself operating. Somewhere in that wide pool of unique individuals who commit a few hours of their weekend to ensuring that live music remains free and open to the public is Dr. Randel Price. Each volunteer has their own reasons for offering their talents, energy, and time for an activity that would normally be paid in another context, but for Dr. Price, it all comes back to community. He muses,
"I'm meeting people here that I would never walk up to on the street, but we start carrying on a conversation and I find out they're not that much different"
Despite the societal tendency for individuals to cluster in groups of other like-minded individuals who share everything from political leanings to dietary interests, the sloping lawn nestled in the center of Overton Park brings together a diverse array of folks who congregate to enjoy an ancient human tradition.
"This one little corner of Midtown becomes the whole city of Memphis, and it's just a chance to get together."
Learn more about Dr. Price at http://www.cbu.edu/randel-price