BGSU Bands Collection

BGSU Bands Collection cropAs the 100th anniversary of BGSU Bands approaches in 2023-2024, Dr. Kenneth Thompson, professor of conducting and ensembles, is collaborating with the BGSU Center for Archival Collections and the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives to establish the BGSU Bands Collection. This archival collection will preserve band uniforms, rosters, scores, films, photographs and other materials that document the complete history of BGSU bands through the past century.

The idea for the collection started when Thompson discovered boxes of materials in a storage room at the College of Musical Arts. One of the documents found was a marching band compilation book from 1966, containing the music and marching formations, scripts and personnel lists from performances.

Dr. Thompson realized that this social and cultural history of the bands was “one sprinkler accident away from being lost forever.”

Among the materials are films of every Falcon Marching Band performance in the Doyt Perry Stadium. These films and other objects in the collection are being archivally preserved for future generations.

“We owe it to the people involved to preserve this history,” Thompson said.

A collection of this scope, in both volume and diversity of material, is a challenge to preserve. Angela Pratesi, head librarian and associate professor of the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives, described the process and need to preserve the films in specific.

“Magnetic tape, the material used to record the audio-visual information, is highly prone to degradation. It is designed to last only 10-20 years, so it is important to store these materials in a climate-controlled facility optimized for magnetic tape and digitize it as soon as possible,” she said.

Sixteen open-reel films of Falcon Marching Band performances from 1970 to 1980 were professionally digitized in 2021, and the originals placed in a special cold-storage room of the Northwest Ohio Regional Book Depository.

More information on this initiative, opportunities to support the Collection and upcoming 100th anniversary celebration activities

Updated: 01/18/2023 09:09AM