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Music Library Association-Atlantic Chapter

Newsletter - Fall 2000

Last update: August 26, 2003

Report from the Chair

Donna Fournier, Chapter Chair  
Welcome to the first issue of the Atlantic Chapter’s newsletter. We are the newest chapter of the Music Library Association, formed from the former Chesapeake and Pennsylvania Chapters, and encompassing Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and West Virginia. Hard work by the former chairs, Brian Cockburn (James Madison University) and Betsy Walker (Curtis Institute), produced a new constitution. Ballots were cast, and, by unanimous decision, a new chapter was born! A nominating committee was then formed to elect a new chair (Donna Fournier, Haverford College) and a new secretary/treasurer (Catherine Dixon, DC Public Library).  

Betsy Walker hosted the chapter’s first meeting on November 19th–20th at Curtis. Thirty-six of us made the trip to Philadelphia where we essentially took over Curtis while most of the students were away. Our first session, held jointly with the local chapter of the Art Libraries Society, was about the art treasures of the Curtis Institute. Allen Townsend, Head Librarian of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, presented slides with commentary of the paintings, sculpture, stained glass, and iron work that decorate the former mansions, now the home of Curtis. We had ample time for a walk around the premises to see the art works on display.  Afterward, we were graciously treated to “Afternoon Tea,” a weekly tradition at Curtis.

Our next session was “Breaking the Historical Sound Barrier,” a presentation about the remastering and reissuing of historical recordings. Ward Marston, remastering engineer with Marston Records and Eric Wen, an independent producer with Biddulph Recordings talked about the tremendous value of making historic recordings available commercially to the public, and to libraries. Together they shared their passions for collecting and for preservation. We heard fascinating sound excepts, amusing anecdotes, and insightful advice. They reminded us of the very important role that we music librarians have in helping to collect, preserve, and disseminate historic recordings.

Music Library Association, Atlantic Chapter
includes Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Chair Donna Fournier, Haverford College
Vice Chair Catherine M. Dixon, D.C. Public Library
Communications Committee
Robert Freeborn, Penn State University, Chair
Membership Committee
Carl Rahkonen, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Chair
Steve Landstreet, Free Library of Philadelphia
Mary Prendergast, University of Virginia
Anne Harlow, Rowan University
Website Editor
Brian Cockburn, James Madison University
List Owner
Alice LaSota, University of Maryland
The Newsletter is published semiannually.  Send submissions and correspondence to:
Kile Smith, Editor
Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music
The Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine St., Rm 125
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1116

The next morning we met for breakfast and a session called “Indispensable Internet: Sites Vital to My Job.” Betsy Walker had already solicited us for a list of websites for discussion. These ranged from sites organizing music associations, societies, publishers, vendors, song texts, and librettos, to a webpage where one can find a composer’s grave!

Atlantic Chapter business has been discussed at two meetings since our last MLA Newsletter report—in November at Curtis and in February during Louisville MLA Y2K. We discussed putting the old chapters to rest by merging bank accounts and sending Chesapeake and Philadelphia Chapter materials to the MLA archives at the University of Maryland. We also talked about proposing our “Breaking the Historical Sound Barrier” program to MLA’s Best of Chapters session and hope to bring Ward and Eric’s talk to New York in 2001. We agreed that outreach to students and paraprofessionals was important. This will be one of the goals of our new membership committee, chaired by Carl Rahkonen. We also talked how best to use our chapter website, newsletter, and listserv. Robert Freeborn will serve as communications coordinator working with Brian Cockburn, webmaster, Kile Smith, newsletter editor, and Alice LaSota, listserv owner. With the support of our chapter, the Library of Congress has proposed that MLA 2004 be held in Washington, DC.  Conventions manager Don Roberts will be visiting DC in April to investigate conference hotel possibilities.

Jim Cassaro at the University of Pittsburgh will be hosting our next chapter meeting on November 17th–18th, 2000. One of our sessions will feature music collections in Pittsburgh. Please see this newsletter’s article with program and registration details. For those of you in our chapter area, we hope to see you there.

The Website Brian Cockburn, Website Editor

The Atlantic Chapter Website (www.lib.jmu.edu/users/cockbuba/mla) has been up and running since February 2000. It has evolved several times since then to better serve the needs of our members. The website provides traditional information like a list of officers, committee structure, a welcome from our chair, Listserv subscription information and some announcements. We are also maintaining an archive of chapter meetings and business minutes.

With this newsletter we will be providing the newsletter online as well.  However, the part of our site that has generated the most comment has been our compilation of music bibliographic instruction syllabi. This is a tool used by many MLA members who wish to improve in this area and see what others have done.

The latest addition to the site is an Arts News box showing worldwide current events in the arts. This is updated several times a day so you can check it fairly often to keep up with what is going on.

The future includes a directory of chapter members and specialized resource pages on topics such as a bibliography of children’s fiction related to music, music for weddings, and a review of internet search engines and music. We will be providing these specialized topics pages for librarians (like children’s librarians, public librarians, etc.) who do not have music specialization but provide music information to patrons.

The ultimate utility and future of the webpages will be decided by members. Your suggestions, content, and comments determine what appears on our website. In fact, the specialized pages have come about as suggestions from you. So please help by contributing, and in particular, consider providing a specialized subject page. As always send your correspondence to Brian Cockburn at cockbuba@jmu.edu

James Madison Special Collections Brian Cockburn, Website Editor

James Madison University announces the availability of three special collections. The collections have been physically processed according to contemporary preservation practices, stored in climate controlled environment, and online databases developed. Additionally, a collection-level record for each collection may be found in the library’s OPAC with a link to the online finding aid.

The Paul Lavalle Collection

This was given to the Music Library at James Madison University by Paul Lavalle’s daughter, Suzanne Lavalle Bothamley. The collection consists of hundreds of published and unpublished works arranged or composed by Paul Lavalle as well as a number of published works by various composers from his personal collection. Also included in the collection are articles, programs, and photographs. Web address is www.lib.jmu.edu/music/lavalle.

The Gena Branscombe Collection

The collection from Gena Branscombe’s compositions was received in 1993 from her daughter, Gena Tenney Phenix. The collection contains items consisting mostly of works for solo voice and chorus, as well as articles, photographs and correspondence papers. The only instrumental works in this collection are three pieces for horn and piano. Two comprehensive collections of the published and manuscript works of Gena Branscombe exist in the Music Library at the Center for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center in New York City, and the National Music Library in Ottawa, Canada. Web address is www.lib.jmu.edu/music/branscombe.

The Music Performance Recording Collection

This consists of almost 800 video and sound recordings in Beta, VHS, U-matic, Reel (in several formats), Cassette, and DAT. Performances by JMU ensembles, faculty, guest artists, and festival recordings are included, as well as studio masters for most of the commercially issued recordings by JMU ensembles. The collection will grow by approximately 120 items each academic year. Web address is www.lib.jmu.edu/music/recitals. Questions can be directed to Karen Quesenberry, Library Assistant and Curator for these collections, at quesenks@jmu.edu or call the Music Library at 540-568-6041.

Our Own Listserv Alice LaSota, List Owner

The Atlantic Chapter of the Music Library Association has its own listserv. The list name is ATMLA-L. It is intended primarily for members of the Atlantic Chapter of MLA, but welcomes the participation of other interested parties. The purpose of the list is discussion of local chapter issues and national MLA issues as they affect our activities. To subscribe, send a message to listserv@umdd.umd.edu with the following command in the body of the message: SUB ATMLA-L Firstname Lastname. To send a message to all the people currently subscribed to the list, just send mail to atmla-l@umdd.umd.edu. Send administrative questions to Alice LaSota, the list owner, at al31@umail.umd.edu.

Atlantic Chapter Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh Jim Cassaro, University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh University Library System (www.library.pitt.edu/) cordially invites you to attend the annual meeting of the Music Library Association Atlantic Chapter in Pittsburgh the weekend of November 17-18, 2000. Come join us and see all that Pitt (http://www.pitt.edu) and Pittsburgh (www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us) have to offer! Our sessions will take place in Room 232 of the Cathedral of Learning (http://www.pitt.edu/~natnlyrm/countries/cath-tour.html) on the Pitt campus.

Friday, November 17, 2000

  • 1:00-1:30pm      Registration

  • 1:30-1:45pm      Welcome: Dr. Rush Miller, University Librarian and others

  • 1:45-3:00pm      Session I: “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh Explained I”

  •       The Theodore M. Finney Music Library, University of Pittsburgh, Jim Cassaro, Music Librarian

  •       The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Music & Art Department, Kathyrn Logan, Head

  • 3:00-3:30pm      Coffee Break

  • 3:30-5:30pm      Session II: “Music Libraries in the Service Of...”

  •       Sound Recording Archives and Recording Companies, Brian Kern, Muskingum College

  •       Music Critics, Mark Kanny, Music Critic, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

  •       Medicine: Music Therapy, Speaker TBA

  • 5:30-7:00pm      Reception: Stephen Foster Memorial

  • Dinner and evening on your own

Saturday, November 18, 2000

  • 8:30-9:00am      Coffee and Pastries

  • 9:00-10:30am     Session III:  “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh Explained II”

  •       Carnegie Mellon University, Antoinette Powell, Music Librarian

  •       Center for American Music, Dr. Deane L. Root, Curator

  • 10:30-11:00am   Coffee Break

  • 11:00-12:00pm   Business Meeting

  • 12:00-2:00pm     Lunch on your own

  • 2:00-5:00pm      Tours (to be arranged)

We are currently working on tours of Heinz Hall and the Benedum Center, home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Opera. Closer to home are the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning (http://www.pitt.edu/~natnlyrm/countries/natrooms.html), the Darlington Memorial Library (http://www.library.pitt.edu/libraries/darlington/darlington.html), and the Center for American Music (http://www.library.pitt.edu/libraries/cam/cam.html).


In the name of the MLA Atlantic Chapter, I have booked a block of 20 rooms (10 singles and 10 doubles, both of which can accommodate 1 to 4 people per room) at the Holiday Inn Select–University Center (100 Lytton Ave., 412-682-6200). This hotel is right across the street from the Cathedral of Learning where our meeting will take place. The cost, single or double, is $102 per night (Pitt corporate rate). There is also the Wyndham Garden Hotel (3454 Forbes Ave., Oakland, 412-683-2040), a short walk from campus. Single or double rooms are $95 per night (standard) or $124 per night (executive). A little further away (six blocks) is the Hampton Inn (3315 Hamlet 412-681-1000). Their Pitt rate is $89, single or double.


Getting from Pittsburgh International Airport to Oakland can be expensive. Cabs are about $30– $35 one-way. The hotels above are served by the Airlines Transportation shuttle, 412-471-8900. They are located on the baggage claim/ground transportation level of the airport. One-way service is $12.50, round-trip is $21. A cheap alternative is to take the 28X Airport/Oakland shuttle for $1.99 each way. Drop-off is at Webster Hall, a short walk from the Holiday Inn Select hotel.


Pittsburgh has more cultural activities than some expect! On any given night, you can find an interesting mix of music, dance, theater, and art presentations in several venues. A few suggestions:

  • Pittsburgh Symphony (pittsburghsymphony.org). November 17 & 18, 8pm: A Night At The Opera. Pittsburgh Symphony Pops Orchestra, John Mauceri, conductor.

  • Pittsburgh Opera (pghopera.org). November 17, 8:00pm: Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro

  • Renaissance & Baroque Society (rbsp.org). November 18, 8:00pm: Belladonna: 17th century dances and celestial fantasies (Synod Hall in Oakland, a short walk from the hotel; tickets: 412-682-7262

  • City Theatre (citytheatre-pgh.org). Side Man, by Warren Light

  • Pittsburgh Public Theater (ppt.org). Wit, by Margaret Edson


The Oakland area of Pittsburgh offers a rich array of restaurants. Sample foods from around the world in a small area around the Pitt campus. Pan-Asian, Korean, Moroccan, Indian, Italian, American, fast food, coffeehouses, cafes: there’s something for everyone! A stroll down Craig Street on the Fifth Avenue side of campus, or down Atwood Street off Forbes Avenue will serve up many choices of venues in which to dine, unwind, or just chill out! We hope you all can join us for this exciting meeting in Pittsburgh.

A printable Registration Form

Send comments or suggestions to:  Brian Cockburn