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Music Library Association-Atlantic Chapter

Annual Report 2002

Last update: August 26, 2003

The Atlantic Chapter held its annual meeting on November 15th and 16th at the University of Maryland in College Park. On Friday afternoon we met in the International Piano Archives at Maryland (IPAM) Room of the new Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. After a warm welcome extended by Bruce Wilson, head of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, the first speaker of the day was Kip Lornell, Professor at George Washington University. He gave a presentation titled "Representin' for the District: Black Vernacular Popular Music in the Shadow of the White House." He spoke about "Go Go", a type of music indigenous to Southwestern Washington, D.C. Go Go is similar to other African American popular musics such as Hip Hop or Rap, but differs in that it is performed entirely live. Go Go events begin late at night and last an indefinite period of time. There is also a Latin or Caribbean element, with the addition of conga drums and other Latin percussion. Lornell has recently published a book on Go Go titled Beat: Go Gos Fusion of Funk and Hip Hop (New York: Billboard, 2001).

Our second speaker of the afternoon was Donald Manildi, Curator of the International Piano Archives at Maryland. He spoke about Fifty-year history of the IAPM and its extensive holdings in sound recordings in all formats, including piano rolls, as well as paper documentation, programs, newspaper clippings, and reviews of many of the most outstanding pianists of the last century. He demonstrated the archives holdings by playing two examples "recorded" by (?Rubenstein?), the first a piano roll on a Chickering Ampico reproducing piano and then the same recording as restored by computer and played back on a Bösendorfer Imperial 290 SE computerized grand piano, one of only 13 in the world, capable of recording and playing back live performances.

Our final speaker of the afternoon was Joe Hickerson, long time reference and collection development librarian at the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Culture. His talk titled "Approaching a Record Record Record Record: My 50+ Years With Music Libraries and Recorded Sound" described his life's work with folk music and sound recordings. He told numerous stories of his experiences at Oberlin College, Indiana University and the Library of Congress that were interesting, engaging and entertaining. At one point he unfurled a scroll of graph paper more than 30 feet long, showing how he had traced the movements of various folk recordings as they went up or down each week on the Billboard Charts in the 1940s and 50s. The stories of his career showed how a number of seemingly disparate interests and events came together to produce an outstanding folk music specialist at the Library of Congress.

After our final speaker we were privileged to tour the new Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. The CSPAC houses the School of Music, and the Theater and Dance Departments of the University, six separate auditoriums with various functions, and the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. With 318,000 square feet and costing $130 million, the CSPAC is one of the largest building projects ever undertaken by the State of Maryland, and is renowned for its design and functionality. 

The Saturday morning portion of our meeting began with a catered buffet breakfast in the foyer of the Michelle Smith Library after which we had our annual business meeting. We discussed efforts to promote music librarianship within our Chapter. A number of chapter members have committed to making presentations on music librarianship at library schools near their homes. This year also marked the first time that the Chapter offered travel grants to first time attendees, music library paraprofessionals and library school students to attend our meeting. Donna Fournier acknowledged this year's recipients, Randall Zwally and Lawrence McDonough, and thanked the National MLA for its sponsorship of the grants. Music Librarians in the Philadelphia area held a successful meeting on October 25th, 2002. Such informal local meetings may provide a means to contact potential Chapter members. The majority of our business meeting was taken up with planning for the 2004 National MLA meeting hosted by the Atlantic Chapter.

After the business meeting we were honored to take a private tour of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. The MSPAL is a 23,000 square foot research library for music, theater and dance. It opened in 2000 as part of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. The MSPAL is well planned to contain the large collection of books, sound recordings and archival materials, as well as comfortable spaces for reading, listening, viewing and studying. It is one of the finest libraries of its type in the nation. Those who were not able to tour the Performing Arts Center on Friday were given the opportunity to take that tour after the Library tour. 

Our next annual meeting is planned for October 2003 at The Pennsylvania State University. Our Chapter looks forward to hosting the National MLA meeting in February 2004 at Crystal City, Virginia.

Respectfully submitted,
Carl Rahkonen
Atlantic Chapter Chair

Send comments or suggestions to:  Brian Cockburn