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No. 83 April 2008


SEMLA Oral History Project

By Jenny Colvin, Furman University

SEMLA has embarked on the beginnings of our own Oral History Project, patterned after the work of the Midwest chapter of MLA as well as the MLA Oral History Subcommittee. The first few interviews were conducted during the MLA meeting in Newport, Rhode Island. Throughout the next few years we will be interviewing as many past chairs of SEMLA as we can, as well as people who have contributed to SEMLA in other ways and music librarians who have been in the profession a long time and are either nearing retirement or already living a retired life. While the MLA project is focused primarily on issues and people with national influence, our project focuses on the music librarians of SEMLA and the growth and history of the chapter itself.

In the year 2010, SEMLA will be celebrating its fortieth year as a chapter. The hope is that we will be able to include clips from various oral histories during a presentation or celebration to help us look back and remember the days of SEMLA past. For instance, who can remember when SEMLA met in Boone, NC, and people had to be driven halfway across the state just to get to the meeting from the airport? What about the meeting in Miami right after Hurricane Andrew?

Oral histories serve to remind us of where we have been, but they also contain important information on the development of music librarianship as a profession. One recent interviewee remembered “the days when you had to pay and the librarian would do your research for you on a dial-up modem,” and technology has been a frequent topic during the interviews. It is also interesting to note what hasn’t changed, and a focus on service within music librarianship is a consistent, time-spanning theme coming out of the interviews.

Not surprisingly, the oral history interviews are full of love for SEMLA. Without trying to make the argument that SEMLA is the best chapter of MLA, it is clear that we have something special. One interviewee said, “SEMLA is an embracing organization, I think, and I think there’s a sense of pride or togetherness or family. We are all very proud of our SEMLA ties.” As more interviews occur, perhaps we will discover the science behind what makes SEMLA such a warm and welcoming chapter.

If this interests you, please contact to become involved. We need people who can do interviews in their areas or during meetings, people who are willing to transcribe recorded interviews, and people who are willing to share their stories and histories in an interview. After the first round of interviews, the questions and process are being tweaked a little bit to better reflect our membership.

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SEMLA members in Newport

SEMLA in Newport

From the Chair

Anna Neal: University of Memphis

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look…
---e e cummings

The cherry trees behind the library are full of themselves, and the tulips in front of the library beckon to those who really don’t want to go inside to work or study. Seems only yesterday I was walking through snowy streets after the concert in Newport!

As always, SEMLA was well represented at the MLA conference, and it’s inspiring to see how many from our chapter are active on national committees and boards and presenting in various sessions. The only problem is that we tend to be so busy at MLA that we don’t get to spend enough time reconnecting with good SEMLA friends.

Our interim chapter meeting covered a lot of ground. We had a lot of good discussion about the SEMLA Travel Grant and the Educational Outreach Program. Both of these began with Chapter Grants from MLA, and we’re currently mulling over other ideas for possible Chapter Grants. We’ve had the Travel Grant in operation for several years now, and we’re looking forward to our first EOP workshop being offered this summer.

When we meet again we’ll be in completely different scenery – the coastal plain of eastern North Carolina. David Hursh et al have plans well under way for our October 9-11 meeting at East Carolina University in Greenville. I guess as chapter chair I’m required to be somewhat unbiased, but really I’ll just have to wait and see how that Eastern Carolina barbecue stacks up against Memphis! Grover Baker and the Program Committee have already issued the call for program proposals, and I look forward to the presentations. We always have such interesting programs at SEMLA. 

And wouldn’t you like to have all that interest right in your own backyard? We have the next couple of years planned but are soliciting invitations for 2011 at this point. If you’re interested in hosting, let me know. The Board will discuss this and make a recommendation at our next chapter meeting. Feel free to contact any of us who have recently hosted if you have questions about the responsibilities involved. An invitation should include general information about possible meeting facilities, lodging and dining possibilities, tourist points of interest, whatever you think makes your site intriguing and appealing. Let’s make May 31 the deadline. In 2009 we have our joint meeting with the Texas Library Association in New Orleans and then head east again for 2010 at Davidson College in North Carolina. 

For now, I hope the usual harried end-of-semester time is s—m—o—o—t—h for you!

. Anna Neal with first time attendee Laura Speer

Anna Neal with first time attendee Laura Speer

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Member News

Pam Dennis has won first prize in the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society essay contest with her paper, "German Musicians in the Post-Civil War South." The paper is a reworked version of her paper presented at the MLA conference in Pittsburgh. Pam will be going to Williamsburg on April 19 to attend the conference and to accept the prize.

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“Farther Along”
A Conference on the Southern Gospel Convention-Singing Tradition

Grover Baker, Center for Popular Music, Middle Tennessee State University


On April 4-5, the Center for Popular Music, Middle Tennessee State University, hosted “Farther Along”: A Conference on the Southern Gospel Convention-Singing Tradition. As the first-ever academic conference devoted to this routinely ignored tradition in American music, it was a rousing success. Over 100 registrants attended, ranging from practitioners to publishers, singing school instructors to university professors, as well as students from middle school to doctoral programs and every level in between. Ages ranged from nine to mid-nineties, and participants hailed from 15 states, including Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, New Jersey, and every state in SEMLA’s region.

Sessions were devoted to all aspects of the tradition, past and present. Presentation topics included publishers of convention song books, from “mom and pop” outfits like the R. E. Winsett Music Company of Dayton, TN, to denominational publishing houses, like the Tennessee Music and Printing Company of Cleveland, TN (Church of God). Classic gospel songs were also covered, like “The Grave on the Green Hillside,” written by Aldine Kieffer and recorded by the Carter Family, and Albert E. Brumley’s “I’ll Fly Away.” Brumley’s son, Bob, and granddaughter were in attendance, with Bob fielding questions from the audience after the presentation. Presentations also included singing school instructors on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee in the late 1800s/early 1900s, and southern gospel family groups such as the Speer Family. Personal and social outcomes of convention singing were discussed, such as reported health benefits and the transmission of gender roles and family values.

Other highlights included a roundtable discussion with convention song book publishers, a performance presentation on the art of convention-style piano accompaniment, a roundtable discussion/demonstration with accomplished pianists from the tradition, and a “singing” on Friday evening that drew over 150 participants. The ending conversation on the future of convention singing provided much discussion, including a plea from those in attendance to make the conference a recurring event.

SEMLA members in attendance were Jenny Colvin (Furman University) and Chris Durman (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), as well as Center staffers Grover Baker and Paul Wells. Music librarians also played a prominent role during a session entitled "Research Resources for the Study of Gospel Music." In her presentation, "Digitizing on a Shoestring," Jacquelyn A. Royal, music cataloger at Squires Library, Lee University, shared information about that library's project to digitize a collection of over 500 southern gospel LPs. Paul Wells and Grover Baker collaborated on a presentation about the Center for Popular Music and the various types of southern gospel materials within its collections. In addition to several manuscript collections, these materials include sound recordings, sheet music, broadsides, program booklets, trade catalogs, and over 2400 gospel song books.

 Grover Baker, Chris Durman, Jenny Colvin, and Paul Wells at the “Farther Along” Conference.
 Grover Baker, Chris Durman, Jenny Colvin, and Paul Wells at the “Farther Along” Conference.

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SEMLA Travel Grant

Watch this space for more information about SEMLA's travel grant. This grant supports portions of travel, meeting registration, hotel, and subsistence expenses for a chapter member to attend this year's annual chapter meeting in Greenville, NC, October 9-11, 2008. Supporting our colleagues' involvement in the life of the chapter is a priority! Please note that music library paraprofessionals/support professionals and library school students are eligible for this opportunity and are encouraged to apply.

The amount of the grant may be up to $500 to reimburse expenses.

I. Applicants must reside in one of the states or territories comprising SEMLA (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Puerto Rico), and also be in at least one of the following eligible categories:

a) A graduate library school student (by the time of the conference in October 2007) aspiring to become a music librarian;

b) A recent graduate (within one year of degree) of a graduate program in librarianship who is seeking a professional position as a music librarian;

c) A music librarian (holding a Master of Library Science degree or qualifications granting an equivalent status at her/his employing institution, e.g. a certified archivist with other graduate degree working extensively with music materials) in the first two years of her/his professional career, or;

d) A library paraprofessional/support professional working with music materials as a significant portion of his/her job responsibilities.

Applicants in categories a-c must not have attended more than one prior SEMLA meeting before applying for the grant. This restriction does not apply to paraprofessionals/support professionals.

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Call for Papers
SEMLA 2008 Annual Meeting

The Program Committee for the 2008 SEMLA Annual Meeting, to be held October 9-11 at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, is currently accepting proposals and ideas for the conference program. If you would be interested in delivering a presentation or paper, or if you have any suggestions for possible topics, please contact a member of the Program Committee. Deadline for submissions is April 30.

Grover Baker, Program Chair
Center for Popular Music, MTSU

David Hursh, Local Arrangements Chair
East Carolina University

Roberta Chodacki Ford
Columbus State University

Jaroslaw Szurek
Samford University

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Southeast Chapter, Music Library Association
Interim Business Meeting
Newport, RI
Anna Neal, chair, presiding
February 21, 2008
24 in attendance

I.          Call to order at 7:02 PM.
II.         Minutes for annual meeting in October 2007 were approved as published in Breve Notes.
III.        Treasurer’s report

Southeast Chapter of the Music Library Association
Treasurer’s Report
For period October 20, 2007 to February 12, 2008
Submitted by Scott Phinney
Newport, RI
February 21, 2008

NET WORTH as of October 15, 2007 $19,917.59
Membership dues $50.00
SEMLA 2006 Annual meeting registrations/banquet $35.00
Interest on checking account (as of 1/31/08) $2.38
Interest on money market account (as of 1/31/08) $3.45


Ottervik conference registration refund 68.00
Checking account balance as of 02/12/08 $15.827.33
Money Market account balance as of 02/12/08 $4,113.09
NET WORTH as of February 12, 2008 $19,940.42
MEMBERSHIP (paid as of 2/12/08)  





IV.        Welcome to new members and first time attendees

Laura Speer (University of Central Arkansas)

V.         Web Task Force - Directory of Collections

a. Sara Beutter Manus asked if anyone had major changes to their collections, please send updates to the web form.

VI.        SEMLA Oral History Project

a. Jenny Colvin reported that the project had its first interview. She used some of the questions the Midwest Chapter developed for its project and will be adding questions of her own. Nancy Zavac was the first interviewee. Past chairs and officers will be interviewed first. If anyone is interested in talking to Jenny about this, please contact her.

VII.      Nominating Committee

a. Anna Neal reported on behalf of Lynn Jacobson; contact Lynn about nominees for Chair-Elect and Member-at-Large.

VIII.     Best of Chapters

a. Lynne Jaffe reported that the committee chose Jaro Szurek’s presentation, Subversive Sounds - Music and Censorship in Communist Poland, for Best of Chapters. She thanked the committee for its service: Peter Bushnell (University of Florida), Heidi Radtke Siberz (University of Miami) and Lynne Jaffe (At Your Service), Chair.

IX.       SEMLA Greenville

a. David Hursh reported that they are planning to have Eastern NC-style BBQ for dinner with pasta/salad for a vegetarian option.
b. They are working on presentations and have 3 local-interest presentations so far.
c. Some of the sessions will be in the library and some will be in the School of Music.

X.         EOP

a. Holling Smith-Borne reported that the Education Outreach Committee had a successful pre-conference workshop with about 18 SEMLA members attending the “Train the Trainer” session.
b. The SEMLA chapter of the program had a request from NEFLIN for two workshops taught by Sarah Dorsey.
c. Holling is in contact with the coordinator and is ready to move forward with these workshops.
d. Plans for next SEMLA meeting

i. Grover Baker said that they would have a report about the EOP.
ii. There was a suggestion to have a real workshop in conjunction with the SEMLA annual meeting, which would require much more organization.
iii. It was suggested that there be a short three-hour workshop.
iv. They haven’t decided what or how long yet, but if anyone has any suggestions, please contact Grover or Holling.
v. David Hursh sees this as more of an opportunity to have an actual workshop, though he thinks the 1-hour sessions would work better there than the 3-hour sessions.
vi.Grover said part of the idea was to use the workshops as outreach to get people to attend SEMLA while they are there.
vii. One of the problems this time was that some of the trainees were dominating the discussion; this aspect of the sessions may need to be reworked.
viii. David said about 250 people attend the annual ECU conference; we’d use their mailing     list to piggy-back the announcement.
ix. Holling asked which workshop modules they should do:

1. Reference
2. Acquisitions/Collection Development

x. Neil Hughes asked if this would be a test-run or if it would be a full paying program.
xi.David thought participants would pay to attend this, at least a registration fee.
xii. There was discussion about who would be reimbursed at what rate.
xiii. Holling reported that the rate would be negotiated individually between the institution receiving the workshop and the chapter liaison
xiv. Neil suggested that the Board consider keeping the initial fee low and have SEMLA subsidize it partially.
xv. Holling clarified that the workshops are actually administered by the chapters.
xvi. Lois Kuyper-Rushing asked what was the benefit of the workshops to SEMLA members.
xvii. Grover pointed out that the grant stipulated that we would produce this workshop in exchange for monies to attend the training workshop in Newport.
xviii. Alicia Hansen asked whether the proposed fee (~$20) would be comparable to the ECU conference rate.
xix. David reported that the fee is around $30 for the ECU conference.
xx. Joyce Clinkscales pointed out that the cost of the conference isn’t just $30 when you factor in the cost of the lodging and travel.
xxi. Jenny Colvin asked if SEMLA needs to create an Education Outreach Committee to discuss this.
xxii. Alicia asked what the true focus of this project would be:

1. Outreach
2. Professional Development, etc.

xxiii. Holling suggested a Task Force, featuring Grover Baker, Sarah Dorsey, Holling Smith-Borne and David Hursh.
xxiv. Diane Steinhaus offered to help.
xxv. Alicia opined that the philosophy of the program needs to be separate from the   SEMLA program if it is going to continue.
xxvi. Lois suggested that the Task Force’s job should be to decide which of the models would work the best for SEMLA 2008.
xxvii. Lynne Jaffe reminded the Chapter that the grant stipulated that something from the preconference needs to be brought back to the chapter.
xxviii. Grover said that this is not the only way that SEMLA is going to participate. This program could be done at various locales.

XI.       Travel Grant

a.    There has been some discussion about how this grant should be administered.
b.   The Board met and makes the following recommendation:

i. Limit to 1 person
ii. $500
iii. Any applicable expenses that could reimbursed
iv. 1 letter of recommendation instead of 2
v. Reimbursement based on CONUS fees; hotel based on double-occupancy rate for the conference.
vi. Timeline change:

1. Announce in Breve Notes in April and on SEMLA-L
2. Send out actual announcement in June
3. Another announcement in July.
4. Another announcement in Breve Notes August issue.
5. Deadline Aug. 20

vii. There was a question as to whether it would be sent to library schools. The committee had discussed this.
viii. Phil Vandermeer commented that a lot of chapters apply to the national organization and wondered how we ended up sponsoring it ourselves.
ix. We initially received a grant from the national MLA, but when it ran out, we committed to funding it ourselves.
x. Diane Steinhaus commented that it seemed like SEMLA had a fair amount of money.
xi. Lynne Jaffe responded that it would be nice to keep a reserve in case we were to host MLA again.
xii. Grover added that the amount could be adjusted on a case by case basis.
xiii. Lois asked if we could offer more money when we had more money.
xiv. Neil advocated keeping the grant flexible.
xv. Jaffe commented that $1000 is still ear-marked for Tulane that has not been disbursed yet.
xvi. Scott Phinney added that $1,100 of the total is funds for the EOP training grant that ; had not been disbursed yet.
xvii. David suggested that the amount be decided by the Board each year based on applications.
xviii. The general consensus was to keep flexibility in the grant.
xix. David made a motion that the proposal be accepted with the amendment that the grant be flexible based on the judgement of the Board. The motion was seconded, voted, and passed. There were two abstentions.

XII. Call for Papers/Presentations for SEMLA 2008

a. Grover Baker invited input about the program for the 2008 meeting. If anyone is interested in submitting program ideas, please contact him, Roberta Chodacki Ford, Jaro Szurek, or David Hursh.

XIII. Future SEMLA Meeting Sites

a. If anyone would like to host for 2011, contact Anna.

XIV. 2009 - Joint Meeting with Texas Chapter, Loyola University

a. Alicia Hansen asked about members’ preferences for hotels in New Orleans. David Hursh suggested the hotel we used for SEMLA 2000, the Dominican Conference Center.
b. There was a question as to whether it made more sense to be in the French Quarter or not.
c. The Dominican and the Hampton were suggested.
d. Alicia will check on these.

XV. 2010 - 40th Anniversary Meeting, Davidson College

a. Steve Mantz was not present to report.

XVI. Old Business

a. There was no old business.

XVII. New Business

a. Phil Vandermeer reported that 2011 meeting was supposed to be in Philadelphia and 2012 will be in Dallas, but the negotiations in Philadelphia were not going well.
b.Phil asked if SEMLA would be willing to host again, further explaining that he had spoken with Holling about hosting in Nashville.
c. Neil Hughes asked if MLA would kick in money up front this time.
d. Phil reported that the current Board would be more agreeable to financial support for local chapters to reduce the burden of fund-raising.

XVIII. Adjourn at 8:01 PM.

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