Music Genre(s): Contemporary Jazz
Judy Wood, WWOZ'S October 2001 Volunteer of the Month, is in love with the sounds of New Orleans. "This is a wonderful city where there's live music on every street corner," she said.
Judy grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and moved to the Crescent City with her family in 1973. "Now that all my children have moved from New Orleans, I have chosen to stay because of my love of the music," she says.
Judy will be the major general of the volunteer corps of 'OZ's 2001 Fall Membership Drive, a daunting task when you consider that there are over a hundred membership drive volunteers at 'OZ, and seven phone shifts a day, every day for two weeks.
She began volunteering at 'OZ in the early '9Os by answering phones at the membership drives. Since then, she has served on the Community Advisory Board and now appears on the air Wednesday afternoons on "Jazz from the Park" (4 p.m. - 7 p.m.) where she alternates with Sweet Lorraine, her mentor. Her programs are put together meticulously; she plans the whole show out at home, song by song, usually on a "theme-of-the-day."
A teacher by profession, Judy has worked in health care for the last decade. She was the first female city council member in Slidell in the late '70s. Now, she says, she mostly "enjoys life." WWOZ holds a place in Judy's heart, as well as in the airwaves. "'OZ is a special gift," she said. "I don't know of any other city that has a radio station that is there purely to celebrate the music of the city."
Judy is proof positive that you do not have to be musically talented to be musically inclined. "I am not a musician, can't even carry a tune," she said. "But I am what musicians are seeking, which is an audience." Music, she says, is an extremely important aspect of our lives. "I believe that music is the universal language that communicates to all regardless of race, religion, age, ethnicity or sex," she said. "It speaks to the spirit." She even signs her e-mails "Jazz and Joy, Judy."
No surprise, then, that she loves the musical language spoken in New Orleans. "New Orleans offers a variety of live music beyond limits, including all the music on the streets of the city, parades, the Mardi Gras Indians, the churches, the clubs... the list could go on forever," she said. "Live music is particularly powerful as the musician's spirit communicates to the audience and the audience in turn sends its vibes back to the musician."
Judy's favorite perk from working with 'OZ is hanging out with fellow hosts and volunteers who share a similar love for the music of New Orleans. "I love the WWOZ Jazz Tent at Jazz Fest," she said. "I sit on the front row every day, every year." She applauds this particular 'OZ contribution to Jazz Fest. "The energy from the stage to the audience cannot be beat," she said. "There is a chemistry there with the people who return every year to listen, eat, tap their feet and sweat!"
Thanks for your glowing contribution, Judy, and we hope that life continues to be a joy for you.
by Luren E. Williams [September, 2004]
Judy's Top Ten List for 2007