Get to know three of XPN's talented volunteers for National Volunteer week - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

It’s National Volunteer Week, and if you weren’t aware, our station runs on volunteer support. That’s why this week, we want to shine a light on our talented group of volunteers, without whom XPN wouldn’t be able to offer a fraction of the programming we do. But this is hardly news to our dedicated audience — if you’ve been to Free at Noon once, you’ve met the volunteer team who checks you in; or if you attended the XPoNential Festival, a volunteer has surely offered you a drink in the member tent; or perhaps you’ve seen XPN volunteers set up at a table in the lobby of your favorite venue.

In these features below, get to know three of our dedicated volunteers — how long they’ve been in the biz, what their favorite music sounds like, and some of their favorite concert memories. And let this encourage you to get to know more of our team. After all, there’s not one person at XPN who doesn’t have a deep-rooted appreciation for music; you know you’ll have that in common.

Abigail Biddinger

Where she’s from: Baltimore, MD

Her volunteer roles with XPN: photo gallery archivist, XPN Welcomes table at live shows, support at XPoNential Festival, live music photography and more

How long she’s been volunteering: over ten years

Her music taste: “My music taste is so broad. As far as genres go, I will listen to anything: rock, rap, jazz, hip-hop, blues.”

Favorite XPN concert: The Outlaw Music Festival at The Mann, August 2023. “I was listening to some Kathleen Edwards on the way over here! Kathleen is somewhat folk, country, and bluesy sometimes. I saw Kathleen at the Outlaw Music Festival! She was also at the XPoNential Music Festival!”

How music plays a role in her life outside volunteering: “I love creating playlists for everything. I have playlists for different decades. I also create playlists for different times of day and my routine activities like walking, running, and working out. I have playlists for specific genres, multiple Christmas playlists, night ride playlists, a melancholy playlist, a winter weather playlist, and playlists that I continually updates throughout the year based on new songs that are released. When December comes, I always like to reflect on which songs were popular that years. I even have playlists for specific states!”

Fun fact: “I am ambidextrous, but my left hand is dominant. I like reading, and have a list of books which I will never be caught up on.”

Abigail Biddinger | photo courtesy of WXPN

Julia Dunn

Where she’s from: South Philadelphia. “I have lived in Philly my entire life. When I was younger, Kids’ Corner was a really big deal: my father introduced me to it.”

Her volunteer roles with XPN: WXPN Welcomes table, Free at Noon

Her music taste: “If there is a brass section, I’m interested! So, any type of folk, jazz, or soul which involves that brassy feel fascinates me. However, I am also everywhere with the music I listen to, which is why I love XPN. I like tapping into different genres: old rock, soul, indie. You can always start a conversation with someone by informing them that the station plays almost all kind of music, including their preferred style!”

Favorite on-air show: “I funk every Friday! I also like John Vettese’s ‘What’s the Frequency?’ (Friday nights, 9 to 11 p.m.). I like how John taps into a lot of 90s subcultures. Finally, I admire Kristen Kurtis’ style during The Morning Show (weekdays, 6 to 10 a.m.)”

Favorite XPN concert: “I love the XPoNential Music Festival because it is a great opportunity to discover lesser-known artists. Through the festival, I also get a better idea of some artists you all feature on the radio! But even going to local venues thrills me.”

On her life outside volunteering: “I am a school counselor for kindergarten through 8th graders! Many people do not know about the problems they are dealing with, or the live which they live. Working with children brings joy to my life. Being in this environment was my dream when I started living on my own in the city. When I am not working, I enjoy riding my bike, doing yoga, and going to the beach!”

Advice to anyone interested in volunteering: “Do not be afraid to sign up for something you are not familiar with! When it comes to music, our city has so many places to offer. So do not be afraid to branch out! There are also so many talented people that live here or come through here that we are supporting. You don’t want to pass those moments by! You might go to an artist’s debut show before they go viral, and then always look back on the memory fondly! Volunteers often go into each show thinking that they have to know every detail about the artist /genre, but no one expects that! All you have to know is what WXPN has to offer. If anything, that might be an invite for you to learn more about the artist!”

Fun fact: “I was in the Kimmel Center’s first youth jazz band! I played the trumpet. The band was an ensemble consisting of many different instrumental families: brass, strings, etc. The group was recruiting members from Philadelphia’s public schools. My band teacher recommended me, so I went over to the center on a Saturday and performed there! This experience was very rewarding — I attended a small school with very small audiences for our musical performances, so being a part of a much bigger group was incredible.”

Julia Dunn | photo courtesy of WXPN

Scott Seiber

His volunteer roles with XPN: Free At Noon check-in, XPoNential, and NON-COMMvention

How long he’s been volunteering: 10 – 11 years

His music taste: “That’s a tough one because I like a lot of music. I tend to like punk rock, but also classic rock shows. Recently I saw The Cure, The Dead Milkmen, and other psychobilly groups. I used to go to a lot of reggae and new wave shows. This is one of the reasons I enjoy XPN’s station: it does not hit just one genre, but is catered toward the interests of many. In fact, the station’s country music genre actually got me into that genre.”

Favorite on-air show: “I have several. One is Dan Reed’s ‘Highs in the 70s’ (weekdays at 6 p.m.). I also enjoy Robert Drake’s ‘Land of the Lost.’ I am so happy that program occurs every Friday (from 7 to 9 p.m.)! There is also John Vettese: he shares many local bands you would not have heard otherwise [on the The XPN Local show, Tuesdays 8 to 10 p.m.]

Favorite XPN event: “I really enjoy it all. I do Free at Noon every Friday, and have been checking into Free at Noons since the beginning. The first event I actually volunteered at was a telethon. The telethon happened to be on a Friday, so I decided to attend the Free at Noon after completing my work there. I got talking to the guy who was the head volunteer at that Free at Noon concert, and said, ‘How can I do this?’ From then on, I started doing Free At Noons.”

On his life outside volunteering: “I am into motorcycles! I am a motorcycle mechanic, and worked for many years repairing and customizing motorcycles. I have been riding motorcycles since I was 13 or 14 years old. I have aways been around bikes: much of my life revolves around music and motorcycles. I go to a lot of concerts, and also many motorcycle-related events, both in the U.S. and Europe. I am involved with a motorcycle club that is basically classic and vintage motorcycles. I have a lot of camaraderie with other motorcycle friends. For me, motorcycling is not a hobby by my life. Everything revolves around it. Sometimes we ride to shows!”

Advice to anyone interested in volunteering: “The more you put in, the more you get out. I feel very at home at the station, since it is somewhere I am every week. If I did not come to Free at Noon, my life would not be as good. When here, I feel like part of the family. I have been here long enough to become acquainted with the employees. The volunteers here are such a nice group of people. Prior to volunteering here, all of my friends were reserved to motorcycle circles. So, for me, volunteering at XPN meant meeting other people with other interests. Involvement with the station truly reaps benefits.”

Scott Seiber | photo courtesy of WXPN

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