Thursday, April 24, 2014 · 11:26 a.m.
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Robbie, one of the "Stars of Chattanooga" singers, spoke yesterday about her song, "Stop the Violence." (Photo: Staff)

Members of Chattanooga Parks and Recreation, the Chattanooga Gang Task Force and Friends of the Festival gathered yesterday afternoon to celebrate one continuing partnership and the beginning of another.

In a press conference at Lindsay Street Hall downtown, Larry Zehnder, director of recreation, reflected on how the idea of installing recording studios in two of the city’s community centers has come to full fruition in the release of the first "Stars of Chattanooga" album.

The "Stars" release party

When: Saturday, Feb. 9, 7-9 p.m.

Where: 7414 Goodwin Road

How much: $9.95

The program provided the space and tools for young, local, hip-hop and R&B artists to write, record and produce their own tracks in a professional but accessible setting.

The connection with the Gang Task Force emerged from both organizations' desires to involve Chattanooga’s teen population in positive activities as an alternative to drugs and gangs.

“You can’t leave a kid in a vacuum and expect him to take the right path,” said Body Patterson, Hamilton County assistant district attorney and coordinator for the Gang Task Force.

"Stars of Chattanooga" shows teens the creative path toward creating a polished, finished product that is truly their own individual voice, as well as holding them to high academic and social standards.

The album will be released today at a concert and release party held at Hamilton Skate Place.

Friday’s press conference was also a moment to acknowledge a new partner in the city’s effort to create positive and impactful opportunities for teens. 

Friends of the Festival, the organization behind Riverbend, will present an essentially private concert for area teens as part of its Bend Unplugged series.

The June 10 performance at the Lindsay Street Hall will feature The Pimps of Joytime, an on-the-rise Brooklyn funk group with first-hand experience of choosing a career in music over a life of gang violence.

In addition to sharing their music and their story, the group will host a kind-of question-and-answer session to talk with the teen attendees about the music industry, touring and the ins and outs of being a professional musician. 

“They will get to hear from a band that there are struggles and challenges and that that’s part of the game, too,” said Brian Smith, public relations coordinator for Chattanooga Parks and Recreation.

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