MLA California Chapter Newsletter 2013

Last October, MLA-CC held its first meeting as a merged chapter at Chapman University in Orange, California. Scott Stone was our gracious host. It was an excellent day-and-a-half of presentations and conversations.

Tom Bickley and Didgeridoo

Tom Bickley and Didgeridoo

Tom Bickley (CSU East Bay) started us off with a presentation on “Information Literacy and the Didgeridoo.” He collaborated with faculty members from music, physics and computer science on a project to improve student success in the first year course in musical acoustics. Groups of students used pvc pipe to construct and decorate didgeridoos. They learned to play the instruments, measured the acoustical properties of the instruments, researched musical cultures, and performed a short piece for the class. Tom brought us an example of a didgeridoo and played it for us.

David Gilbert (UCLA) and Lindsay Hansen (CSU Northridge) reprised their IAML 2013 presentations on two Hollywood film composers who fled Vienna due to World War II. Gilbert discussed Ernst Toch’s work in the film industry for his presentation, “Émigré Composers and the Price of Success in Hollywood: The Case of Ernst Toch.” Gilbert also used film clips and score excerpts from the UCLA Library, Performing Arts Special Collections to show Toch’s impact on the film industry.  Hansen discussed Ray Martin in her presentation, “From Vienna to Hollywood: the Ray Martin Story.” Ray Martin had countless pseudonyms and is mostly known for his light music compositions, including film music.

Jerry McBride (Stanford University) presented on Stanford’s Musical Acoustics Research Library, which includes the Catgut Acoustical Society papers, as well as papers from other important wind instrument acousticians. The collection consists of letters, research papers, photographs, digital materials, wood samples, clarinet mouth pieces, lab equipment, and more.

California music librarians mingling

California music librarians mingling

“Lightning Round – What I Learned at That OTHER Conference” was an opportunity for several MLA-CC meeting attendees to describe their experiences at conferences outside of MLA. The other conferences included Conference on Deep Listening: Art/Science, International Humanities Conference, German Studies Association Conference, International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres Conference, Rare Books & Manuscripts Preconference, and American Library Association: Music medium of performance and Genre/Form Project.

Scott Stone invited two music faculty members (one from Chapman and the other from CSU Long Beach) to answer our questions for the session “Round Table with Music Faculty – Information Literacy: Important or Not?” While it is clear that information literacy is incredibly important to music faculty members, we learned that the ways these two faculty members approached research is different than what we normally expect; for example, they prefer to go to JSTOR when looking for an article because it will save them a some time when it comes to accessing the full text and because they dislike RILM’s interface.

Laura Bailey (San Diego Public Library) and John Smalley (San Francisco Public Library) co-presented “Out Loud in the Library! Music Programming and Partnerships at Public Libraries.” They each shared their own stories of successes and challenges with music programming. Smalley taught a course on Western music for SFPL and Bailey programmed a concert for the SDPL. They recently presented on this topic at the Music Library Association Meeting in Atlanta.

The presentation, “Restoration of Zenobia Powell Perry’s opera, Tawawa House for the Townsend Opera Company, Modesto, California,” by Jeannie Gayle Pool was awarded the Best of Chapter. Pool discussed the fascinating story behind Zenobia Powell Perry’s background and creation of Tawawa House. Pool has been working very hard to restore this opera, which will be performed by the Townsend Opera Company this May.

In “How Do Students Really Use the Library” Stephanie Bonjack (USC) discussed the results of a usability test conducted for USC to examine how they could improve their library’s website. This presentation evolved into group discussion on how students use information and how (or if) we as music librarians should adapt to their information seeking styles.

MLA CC Executive Board

MLA CC Executive Board

Two orchestra librarians discussed their jobs and the challenges they face in “A Day in the Life of an Orchestra Librarian.” We learned that orchestra librarians have extensive knowledge about the various published versions of pieces—including what editions have errors. Orchestra librarians need to be able to handle the pressure of frustrated conductors, guest soloists, and performers. While the role of music librarians in public and academic libraries greatly differ from orchestra librarians, we found that there are potential ways for us to collaborate and support each other.

Join us next year in Stockton, California as we meet at the University of the Pacific!

Veronica A. Wells, MLA-CC Chair

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