Preserving Memories of Quality Music Education

"Notes da Capo" by John L. Puffenbarger

April/May 1998

Are you interested in learning about the early activities of music education in West Virginia? Interested in reviewing the programs or hearing recordings of any all- state groups since the 1960s? Interested in reading about the beginnings of solo and ensemble festivals, for example?

Travel to Colson Hall on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. There helpful personnel will direct you to the archives of the West Virginia Music Educators Association. This collection has been developed and continued by the WVMEA historians.

In 1981 the MENC national office requested that the WVMEA create the position of historian in order to preserve records pertaining to music education in our state. Phyllis Osenton, who was WVMEA president at that time, appointed Clifford Brown to this position. Brown served as historian until his untimely death from an automobile accident in November 1988. 1 was appointed historian in December 1988.

Each year we collect material related to music education in West Virginia. The materials are sorted and placed in files belonging to the WVMEA affiliates. These files include minutes of the WVMEA Executive Board, WVMEA Conference programs, records of affiliate organizations, and records from past presidents. Materials date back to 1920. Also on file are recordings of all-state groups dating from 1961 to the present (band, chorus, and orchestra).

The WVMEA archives at Colson Hall are organized using the "series" method. VNNEA records are placed in boxes labeled "Series I," "Series 2," and "Series 3." Bandmasters Association is "Series 4;" Vocal Association is "Series 5," etc. A listing of the WVMEA affiliate series number is available from the desk personnel.

While we are fortunate to have a lot of material in the archives, it is not complete. Any affiliate, which has additional historical documents, is encouraged to store these in the archives in order to preserve music history in our state. Also, each affiliate should appoint its own historian.

Schools in our state have a rich history which should be preserved for the future. Each director should take time to save pictures and programs of all past activities. Don't throw away old programs and recordings; these are part of your school's music history. Designate a drawer or two in a file cabinet for this historical information.

On a personal note: I have enjoyed working with NOTES A TEMPO editor Dr Edward Wolf these past nine years. He has served on the WVMEA Executive Board as editor, WVMEA President, and Conference Chair He contributed much insight, and has been a valuable member of our organization.