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SE Queens music program for teens yet to happen

The program, designed to bring southeast Queens teens into music studios and teach them about the production aspects of the recording industry, was being coordinated through the Queens Village-based Hip Hop Summit Youth Council, but the activity has yet to materialize, one assistant principal said.

"We are very interested in it, but we haven't been able to implement it," said Vivian Rodgers-Hill, assistant principal at IS 192 in St. Albans. "It's still under organization."

Rodgers-Hill hopes the program will be up and running by April, but she has not met with the organizers, she said.

The Hip Hop Summit Youth Council could not be reached for comment.

The program was the brainchild of Charles Fisher, the Youth Council's founder, and his son, Randy Fisher, the executive director. 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.

Officials at Sony Music could not be reached for comment, and a representative for Russell Simmons did not return calls seeking comment.

The program was scheduled to start in September and involve students from Districts 28 and 29 in southeast Queens. Teens were to be recruited from IS 192, IS 8 in Jamaica, August Martin High School in Jamaica and Campus Magnet High School in Cambria Heights.

"I contacted the schools and most hadn't heard anything about it," A Department of Education official said Monday. "Only one principal knew about the program. It was not coordinated centrally."

It is not uncommon for programs to be run locally through the school rather than the Department of Education, the official said.

One principal at August Martin High School in Jamaica said he met with the Fishers to discuss the program a year ago, but the last the principal had heard the program was still looking for funding, the school official said.

The students were to participate in four-month sessions to get hands-on lessons 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 to visit the company's offices, studios and manufacturing plant to see the industry first-hand.

When the program was announced in August, a letter dated from 2000 was provided by the Youth Council from Sony Music showing the company's support of the project. The document also included a contract between Sony and Fisher, indicating that the company would allow students into their studios for the program.

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

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