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Gospel Music Restoration Project for New Museum

Welcome to American Mosaic from VOA LearningEnglish. I'm June Simms.

America’s Smithsonian Institution plans to add somerare music recordings to a new Smithsonian museumin Washington, DC. For the past few years, therecordings have been stored at Baylor University inTexas. Steve Ember has more about the collection,known as the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project.

Bob Darden is a college professor in Waco, Texas. But in 1960 he was a small child whose father had justbrought home the family’s first long-playing phonographrecords. Two of the record albums did not interest theboy. But, the other…

“The third was Mahalia Jackson’s Christmas album. And my parents say that at about age six or so that I played Mahalia’s album over and over.”

Mahalia Jackson, 'Queen of the Gospel Singers,' in 1955.

Bob Darden’s interest in that kind of music never went away. When he grewup, Mr. Darden became Gospel Music editor for Billboard Magazine. As theyears passed, he found it harder and harder to find the music he loved. In 2005, Bob Darden wrote a letter to the New York Times newspaper. Heexpressed concern that gospel music was disappearing. He says a mannamed Charles Royce read the letter.

“And called that day and said, ‘tell me what we need to do and I’ll help fund it.’”

Charles Royce’s gift was used to create the Black Gospel Music RestorationProject at Baylor, where Bob Darden taught. He says the music collection hasgrown.

“We have 8,000-plus individual sides digitized and catalogued and morecoming in every day.”

That is 8,000 mostly 45 rpm gospel records. The vinyl discs date from the 1940s to the 1970s.

In 2011, the wife of former President George W. Bush learned of thecollection. Laura Bush has a home in Waco. She serves on the culturalcouncil of the Smithsonian Institution’s new Museum of African-AmericanHistory and Culture. Dwandalyn Reece is the museum’s curator of music andperforming arts.

“They let us know of this wonderful project going on at Baylor, in Texas, andthen a team of people came up here to DC to show us what they’veaccomplished and we were all very impressed.”

The 45 rpm gospel records were especially important. They often had a “hit” or popular song on one side. Bob Darden describes the other side.

“Usually where the artist does their own personal song.”

Mr. Darden says many of the “second side” recordings were civil rights songsthat few people knew about. He says that makes the records importanthistorical objects.

Historian Dwandalyn Reece says this was a surprise.

“You think people are just talking about religion, and the other side they have amessage embedded in that as well. The whole idea of having a civil rightsmovement message in a gospel song – it was – it just blew my mind.”

Bob Darden says African-America gospel music was the basis for mostAmerican music in the 20th century.

“Every rock and roll African American artist, every rap, every soul artist cameout of the church and sang these songs.”

Now parts of this collection are on the way to Washington. Dwandalyn Reecesays it is an important gift to the United States and the world. She says theMuseum of African American History and Culture will make the musicavailable for more people.

“I see this as an untold story that hasn’t gotten its due yet.”

The new museum is set to open in 2015. I'm Steve Ember.

内容来自 VOA英语学习网https://www.chinavoa.com/show-8242-229407-1.html
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