The Starr-Gennett Foundation and Indiana University East have partnered to make over 300 digital recordings available to the public. The Gennett Record label has national significance in the world of music and American culture.
The public is welcome to attend the open house on the second floor of the IU East Campus Library from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30.
During the open house, recordings will be available to listen to and the library staff will give a tutorial on how to access the recordings.
Terri Hardy, executive director of the Starr-Gennett Foundation, said the foundation was thankful to the Indiana University Archive of Traditional Music and IU East for their support in this project.
“Making the history of Gennett Records available to everyone is very significant to preserve our heritage. The record company launched stars such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Gene Autry, but also helped make America’s regional and ethnic music universally popular throughout the country and abroad.”
The project has been in the works since 2003. The phonograph records were sent to Disc Mastering in Nashville, Tenn., to be digitalized and catalogued. The project was funded in part by a National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) grant.
Starr-Gennett Foundation archived the digital recordings through the IU Archive of Traditional Music. The digital recordings can be accessed at the IU East Campus Library.
David Fulton, IU East Chancellor Emeritus, was Starr-Gennett Board president when the project was conceived and currently serves as the treasurer of the Board.
“The purpose of this whole project was to preserve the historic music recorded by Gennett Records and to make it available to the public,” Fulton said. “All of the recordings from the late 19-teens to the late 1920s were recorded with various types of technology. As a result, it is impossible to access the original recordings without special equipment.”
Now the music is available to faculty, students and the public through the digital recordings, he added.
“We are fortunate to have this unique music resource available for current and future use,” said Frances Yates, director of the IU East Campus Library. “It is a wonderful example of the past being brought to the present through campus-community collaboration.”