Society for American Music
Awards presented at the 2005
(click on the award to view the citation read at the conference)
Book Award (2003) Presented to Gage Averill for Four Parts, No
Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony
Article Award (2003) Presented to Stanley Kleppinger for "On
the Influence of Jazz Rhythm in the Music of Aaron Copland"
American Music, Volume 21 No. 1 (Spring 2003)
Achievement Award (2005) Presented to Dena Epstein
Service Award (2005) Presented to Anne Dhu McLucas
Dissertation Award (2003) Presented to Mark J. Butler for "Unlocking
the Groove: Rhythm, Meter, and Musical Design in Electronic Dance
Music" (University of Indiana)
Mark Tucker Award for an Outstanding Student Paper
given at the conference presented to Bethany Kissell for "Bernstein's
Personal Statement: Jewish and American Identity in the Jeremiah
Lowens Book Award (2003) Presented to Gage Averill for Four
Parts, No Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony
Four Parts, No Waiting by Gage Averill represents
a successful combination of historical musicology and ethnomusicology.
Subtitled "A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony,"
Averill's book offers a survey of popular American quartet singing
from nineteenth-century minstrelsy, vaudeville and the early recording
industry through the twentieth-century revival known as "barbershop."
The "barbershop" movement began in the
1930s as an amateur revival of a previously professional genre,
emphasizing male camaraderie and nostalgia for mythologized small-town
values and way of life. Institutionalized as SPEBSQSA (Society
for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet
Singing in America, Inc.), this movement, which spawned a separate
organization for women singers (the Sweet Adelines), embodies
a distinctive subculture of quartets, choruses, clubs, conventions,
competitions, repertory, and performance practices.
Averill places this development in the broad contexts
of music, the entertainment industry, politics, social class,
gender, race relations, and culture, offering an important contribution
to the study and interpretation of this highly characteristic
and popular but often overlooked aspect of America's musical life.
Lowens Article Award (2003) Presented to Stanley Kleppinger
for "On the Influence of Jazz Rhythm in the Music of Aaron
Copland" American Music, Volume 21 No. 1 (Spring 2003)
(Citation by Lenore Coral and Paul Laird)
Musicologists often cite jazz influence on concert
music, but we seldom go beyond superficial musical characteristics
to describe such an influence. It is agreed that jazz played a
major role in Aaron Copland's formulation of an "American"
compositional style, but this influence has seldom been described
in any real depth. In 2003, Stanley Kleppinger's article "On
the Influence of Jazz Rhythm in the Music of Aaron Copland"
(published in American Music 21/1 [Spring 2003]: 74-111) made
a major contribution to our understanding of Copland's relationship
with jazz, and his use of its rhythmic influences in his compositions.
For the power of Mr. Kleppinger's arguments, his virtuosic handling
of sources, and his comprehensive understanding of this complicated
topic, the Irving Lowens Award for Best Article Committee chose
his work as the best article on an American topic published in
Mr. Kleppinger has distilled what jazz rhythm meant
to Copland through a study of Copland's own writings and writings
of others in the 1920's at the start of Copland's career. Copland
was a prolific and insightful writer who carefully articulated
what jazz rhythm meant to him, helping to show how his ideas developed
over time. His use of polyrhythm, a technique he admitted was
not confined to the jazz idiom, had to be combined with harmonic
and melodic jazz gestures and even with suggestions in program
notes to put the listener in the jazz receptive mood. Although
Copland stated that his Piano Concerto was the last work in which
he used jazz idioms, Kleppinger finds the same rhythmic devices
in works throughout Copland's compositional career. He suggests
that these markers, while sometimes subtle, help to identify Copland's
music as American.
Please join us in congratulating Stanley Kleppinger
as we award him the 2003 Irving Lowens 2003 Best Article in American
Lifetime Achievement Award (2005) Presented to Dena Epstein
(citation by Mary Wallace Davidson)
The Society for American Music this year honors a
distinguished music librarian, scrupulous scholar, and prolific
author. Dena Julia Polacheck was born in Milwaukee on Thanksgiving
Day a few months before America entered World War I. Having earned
a Bachelor of Arts degree in music in 1937 at the University of
Chicago, she took a Master's degree in library science in 1943
at the University of Illinois at Urbana. Supporting her studies
as an art and music cataloger, she cataloged a newly acquired
collection of 800 Chicago music imprints published before the
great fire, which in turn led to her magnificently documented
master's thesis, revised and published in 1969 as Music Publishing
in Chicago before 1871: The Firm of Root and Cady, 1858-1871.
Four years later Da Capo Press reprinted the Board of Music Trade's
Complete Catalogue of Sheet Music and Musical Works, 1870 with
her extensive introduction documenting the activities of the Board's
publishers through the Copyright Act of 1891.
While she was in graduate school, Dena married Dr. Morton Epstein.
After holding professional positions at the Newark Public Library
and the Library of Congress, she became a mother in 1948 and raised
their family in New Jersey. On one of her many weekend trips to
the New York Public Library to find her next research topic, she
discovered a citation of the Civil War diary of William Francis
Allen, the first author of Slave Songs of the United States in
1867, and began to explore his background and that of his co-editors,
particularly Lucy McKim Garrison. Although these sources bore
some fruit, she still had obtained almost no documentary evidence
about music among the slaves. She thus systematically expanded
her research into other diaries, novels and poetry of the period,
as well as diaries of slave owners in Jamaica and Barbados. In
1977 she published what Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. has recently called
her "definitive, indeed monumental study," Sinful Tunes
and Spirituals: Black Folk Music to the Civil War (reissued in
2003). Along the way she made an airtight case that the banjo
was indeed African in origin. As she noted, "Applying normal
library reference techniques to that problem worked, if you were
patient enough and took enough time."
In 1964 she became curator of sound recordings and later assistant
music librarian at the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library
until her retirement in 1986. Always active in the Music Library
Association, she was its president from 1977 to 1979, and received
its citation for distinguished service in 1986. In 1996, as an
anniversary present, her husband established MLA's Dena Epstein
Award for Archival and Library Research in American Music. She
has also served on the Sonneck Society Board, chaired its Publications
Committee, been a member of the editorial board of the Black Music
Research Journal, and served on the National Advisory Board of
the Center for Black Music Research.
Since 1962 Dena has written and spoken widely in a variety of
venues documenting topics related to early African American music,
19th-century American music publishing, and American music librarianship.
She has also contributed biographical articles to Notable American
Women, 1607-1950, The New Grove, and The Encyclopedia of Chicago.
Since her alleged retirement, Dena has published about two dozen
articles and reviews, and edited her mother's autobiographical
manuscripts about the impact of Jane Addams (first published in
1989 as, I Came a Stranger: The Story of a Hull-House Girl). In
the 1990s, Dena and Mort transcribed a hand-written catalog of
conductor Theodore Thomas's orchestral library (over 3,000 items).
Dena is still applying those "normal library reference techniques"
to identify all of Thomas's extant marked sets among the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra library's current collections.
Hilda Polachek wrote that when Dena was born that Thanksgiving
Day, her eyes were "blue as gentians. We had much for which
to be thankful." We too have much for which to be grateful:
Dena's lifetime of extraordinary contributions to American musical
life, and her personal modeling of familial and collegial intelligence,
good will, and good humor.
Distinguished Service Citation (2005) Presented to Anne Dhu McLucas
(Citation by Paul Wells)
For 2005 the Society for American Music presents
it Distinguished Service Citation to our hostess for this conference-Anne
Dhu McLucas. This citation is bestowed each year on a member who
has given "exemplary and continued service to the Society
and its mission." It is hard to imagine any member of our
Society more deserving of this award than Anne.
A member from the earliest days of the Sonneck Society, she has
served our organization in virtually every way possible. She was
a member of the editorial advisory board of American Music from
1985-1989; served as Second Vice President from 1987-1989; was
Program Chair for the Hampton, Virginia conference in 1991; was
a member of the Nominating Committee from 1999-2001; chaired the
search for a new journal editor in 2000-2001; chaired the Honors
Committee from 2001-2003; and held the Society's highest office,
that of president, from 1997-1999. Her service as president was
particularly noteworthy for the steadfast and graceful way in
which she shepherded us through the difficult and emotional business
of changing our name. This was a matter that demanded exceptional
tact and diplomacy, and Anne handled it admirably. If all of this
were not enough, she was generous-or foolish!-enough to volunteer
to host this year's conference, and has done so with characteristic
energy, intelligence, and poise.
Anne's presence at society conferences is a given. As our membership
has changed and grown over the years, there has always been a
core of people whom one can be assured of seeing every year, and
who comprise the human essence of the Society. Anne Dhu is one
of these. Her friendly and caring demeanor has helped make many
a new member feel welcome in our ranks. She is one of those who
make the Society the exceptionally human organization that it
It probably goes without saying that Anne's love for and dedication
to the Society for American Music flows naturally from her love
for and dedication to American music. Her musical and scholarly
interests in are refreshingly catholic, ranging from 18th century
musical theater to contemporary popular music; from traditional
balladry to the works of John Cage; from the music of Mescalero
Apache rituals, to the traditions of Irish-Americans. Her scholarship
reflects this breadth, and she is mistress of the tools of a remarkable
range of academic disciplines, including musicology, ethnomusicology,
folklore, and gender studies. This is all very much in keeping
with the spirit of our Society, and is in large part what makes
Anne such a valued member of it.
No doubt I've neglected to mention some committee that she chaired,
or overlooked some important task that she carried out, but detailing
more accomplishments would simply belabor the obvious: Anne has
contributed enormously to the growth, sustenance, and management
of our society on many levels, for the entire time of its existence.
It is a tremendous honor for me to present this year's Distinguished
Service Citation to one of the stalwart members of the Society
for American Music-and one of my own dearest friends-Anne Dhu