Final Report to NEH 2019
Share |

Final Performance Report

Narrative prepared by SAM President, Sandra Graham, January 2019

The Society for American Music (SAM) is pleased to submit its final performance report to the NEH. SAM’s initial narrative for its NEH application appears at the end of this report as Appendix 3. What follows conveys the achievements of our “SAM 2.0 Campaign.”

1. Project Activities

As part of the SAM 2.0 Campaign, the Society for American Music identified seven main funding opportunities to achieve our goals. The challenge grant (for $450,000 of the total $1 million campaign), however, addressed just the first two priorities: (a) Short-Term Research Residencies at Major Archives and Libraries and (b) Endowments for Specialized Research.

(a) Society for American Music Research Residencies

The Development Committee identified eight major archives and libraries for short-term residencies. Five of them were addressed in the initial proposal: the American Antiquarian Society, Center for Black Music Research, Library of Congress Music Division, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Archives, and Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. All of these institutions have strong collections on different aspects of American music history; they also have in place established short- and long-term fellowship programs.

In 2017 we offered the first Charles Hamm Fellowship, given annually to support a one-week research residency at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Library and Archives. The award amount is $2000. The initial (2016) applications were not considered strong enough or appropriate to the Hall of Fame, so we did not award it that year

In 2018 we introduced the Wayne Shirley Research Fellowship, given annually to support a short-term residency at the Library of Congress on any topic relating to musics of the Americas in the amount of $1000. The first award will be made in March 2019

In 2017 we introduced the Eileen Southern Fellowship, given annually to support research on music of the African diaspora in the Americas. Although this was initially conceived as an archive residency (e.g., at the Center for Black Music Research), we discovered that we could attract more applicants by broadening the research agenda to include any archive as well as ethnographic research. We awarded the first fellowship in 2018 and had a healthy group of applicants for the 2019 award.

In late 2016 we inaugurated the Judith McCulloh Fellowship, given annually to support archival or ethnographic research on a folk-based music culture of the Americas. Although we initially tied this to the Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, we later broadened the description to other archives and fieldwork, thereby attracting a stronger applicant pool. We have awarded two fellowships, in 2017 and 2018.

Our plans for a research residency at the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) have taken longer to realize, but we are very close to announcing the creation of this fellowship. We had been raising funds for several years; in December 2018, the first Executive Director of the Sonneck Society (SAM’s previous name) died. With her family, we are establishing the Kate Van Winkle Keller Fellowship in Early Music and Dance, co-sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society, and co-funded by SAM, the AAS, and the Keller family. We announced this fellowship in January 2019 and will make the first award next year. The AAS will administer the residency and monies.

In summary, we have achieved all of our goals to establish 5 research residencies, although we have broadened some of the research goals beyond the archive to attract a healthier applicant pool.

Society for American Music Endowed Research Fellowships

The Society has established five new research fellowships, each named for an eminent member of the Society. They are now all fully funded.

The Virgil Thomson Fellowship is given annually to scholars at any stage of their career whose research is focused on the history, creation, and analysis of American music on stage and screen, including opera. The maximum award is $4000. It was first given in 2014 and has been awarded annually since then (with two winners in 2018). The Virgil Thomson Foundation made an early gift to the SAM 2.0 Campaign of $100,000.

The Judith Tick Fellowship is given annually to support scholarly research leading to publication on musical topics involving women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. The amount is $1000. We made the first award in 2014 and have awarded it every year since

The annual Paul Charosh Independent Scholar Fellowship awards $1500 to encourage the work of independent scholars and their participation in SAM’s annual conferences. According to Charosh’s wishes, “independent scholar” is defined as someone who does not teach at an institution of higher learning, or who does so with a non-renewable contract of one year or less. Applicants are not required to hold any particular degree or certification. Those pursuing a scholarly life outside the academy are also eligible. There have been three winners since it was first announced in 2015.

The Edward T. Cone Fellowship was established with $25,000 from the Edward T. Cone Foundation to establish an endowment to support a research fellowship focused on American concert music, ranging from symphonic works to solo or chamber music. It is given to scholars at any phase of their careers. It was first announced in 2016 and awarded in 2017; so far there have been three fellowships awarded (two scholars split the award in 2018).

The Hampsong Education Fellowship in American Song is given annually to educators at any phase of their careers who wish to help students and the general public understand American history and culture through the medium of song, by developing curricular or co-curricular projects that utilize materials from Thomas Hampson’s Song of America database and SAM’s Voices Across Time curriculum, among other sources. This fellowship reaches beyond the boundaries of music history to educators of all kinds in the humanities (English teachers, history teachers, K–12 teachers, home schoolers, museum specialists, etc.). We awarded the first $1000 fellowship in 2014 and have done so every year since.

The Anne Dhu McLucas Fellowship is given annually to a graduate student conducting archival research or fieldwork on oral tradition music or Native American/First Nation music. It was introduced in 2016 and the first award was made in 2017. There were no applicants in 2018, but 2019 attracted a healthy applicant pool, so we doubled the award for that year only and conferred two fellowships, to be announced in March 2019.

The John and Roberta Graziano Fellowship was inaugurated in 2014, seeded with a $25,000 contribution from the Grazianos. The award of $1000 is given annually to postgraduate scholars doing research in all genres of music that originated in the U.S. in the nineteenth century, as well as other music performed in North America during that historical period. It was first awarded in 2015, and there have been four awards (with another to be announced in March 2019).

The Richard Crawford Fellowship was introduced in 2017 and awarded for the first time in 2018. For the time being it is awarded every other year, until the funds grow to support an annual award. This $1000 award supports research and expenses involved in the preparation of critical editions for the Music of the United States of America (MUSA) series, which encompasses the full range of genres and idioms in American music. As the series nears its completion within the next few years, the award description will be rewritten to support American music research.

The Margery Lowens Dissertation Research Fellowship is named for a founding member of the Society. The annual award of $4000 is given to a student at the early stages of dissertation research on American music. The first two awards were made in 2017 and 2018.

In summary, thirteen of SAM’s fifteen fellowships were established through support from the NEH grant and by independent donations inspired by the SAM 2.0 campaign.

In addition to these fellowships to support scholarship, SAM received donations from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music ($20,000) and the Virgil Thomson Foundation ($20,000) to establish a fund to support a live performance of American music at SAM’s annual conference, with a current annual budget of $1600. The concerts are named for Vivian Perlis, a long-time member of the Society whose oral history project with twentieth-century American composers has become an essential resource; the concerts are held annually on conference Friday evening. The first concert was given in 2016 and performed by the Florestan Project, who prefaced compositions with a video clip of a Perlis composer interview. The second in 2017 was performed by the students and faculty of McGill University, and featured a Copland composition and contemporary works. The 2018 concert featured works by our honorary members of that year, Chen Yi and Zhou Long, and was performed by students of the Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, with the composers in attendance.

SAM used the initial installment of $50,000 from the NEH Challenge Grant to establish a special fund to support the activities of our Cultural Diversity Committee. The committee is responsible for determining how to spend the $2,000 annual allotment in accordance with the committee charge.  The funding may be used for a wide variety of purposes, including but not limited to expenditures related to bringing a special guest to the conference (e.g. travel, lodging, conference registration); supporting diversity outreach efforts; defraying conference reception costs; supporting workshops and other special events; and so on. Examples of conference initiatives so far include:

  • At the 2015 Sacramento conference, a panel titled “Great Migrations: Music in Black and Khmer Oakland,” with Ishmael Reed (emeritus, UC Berkeley), Rathajim Sin (community organizer and performer), and Ronnie Steward (Bay Area Blues Society) .
  • At the 2016 Boston conference: A reception hosted by the Cultural Diversity Committee; and a special session titled “Diversity and the Future of SAM: A Brainstorming Roundtable,” with SAM members as well as invited guests.

·      At the 2017 Montreal conference: A special presentation by Professor Tamara Levitz, UCLA, who as a non–SAM member was asked to assess SAM’s diversity by examining our outward-facing publications; this was followed by a lunch session with follow-up discussion and breakout groups. It also inspired a discussion that was featured in the Bulletin.

·      At the 2018 conference in Kansas City, MO, the committee initiated a new series on bias and diversity, which will be continued annually. At this meeting Tara Napoleone-Clifford, a facilitator with the Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity at the University of Central Missouri, led a session entitled “A Critical Look at Our Own Biases,” which was well attended by students and scholars of all career stages. The committee will offer similar workshop / training sessions at annual conferences going forward in response to popular demand. The second diversity session at that conference was a reception and roundtable titled “O Say, Can You See: In Consideration of National Identity, Community, Protest and American Music Today.”

 

2. Accomplishments

 

The Society has exceeded its original goals, thanks to generous donations of members who established fellowships we had not initially anticipated in our original proposal (e.g., the Graziano Fellowship, Lowens Fellowship, the Perlis concert series). In addition to these fellowships, NEH/SAM 2.0 contributions have been used to stabilize Society infrastructure, allowing us to hire a designer for a new logo that better reflects the Society’s identity in the 21st century; migrate to a new website powered by Your Membership, which eases many administrative tasks and costs; and fund committees such as the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, which our members had identified in a survey as a high priority, as well as an ad hoc (and now standing) committee on Contingent Workers and Independent Scholars, to ensure that SAM is meeting all of its members’ needs. Future plans include increasing our support for financially challenged members and widening our scope of activities beyond academia to remain relevant to members whose work includes community activism and public musicology.

            We are especially proud of our new logo and website, which are dynamic and non-U.S.-centric, and thus more welcoming to those who study all musics of the Americas. Our new website gives committee chairs more autonomy; allows automatic membership renewals; allows members to make online donations and also keep track of previous donations; create blogs and forums; access the membership directory; and submit fellowship applications. We expect this new website to facilitate communication among our membership as we all get used to its features.

 

3. Audiences

 

It is hard to measure the impact of the NEH grant on membership growth, because of SAM’s move to a new website. The transition took place in summer 2018, and members are still getting used to the new “rolling” renewal procedure (before, it was a fixed renewal date). In addition, our membership numbers tend to increase around conference proposal time, and may decrease a bit thereafter. Right now we estimate between 900 and 1000 members. Thanks to a webinar on how to write a successful fellowship application, initiated by the SAM president in 2017, our fellowship application numbers, as well as quality of applications, are increasing; we intend to continue the webinar going forward.

        In addition, unless a donor stipulates otherwise, many of our fellowships do not require SAM membership in order to apply; we hope this will widen our reach and retain applicants who are discovering SAM for the first time.

        Our recent conference attendance has been quite healthy; as noted in our 2017 report, attendance grew by 35% on average when comparing 2012–17 to 2007–12. Paper proposals for conferences continue to increase. In order to remain relevant, we are including “nontraditional” (for SAM), experiential conference sessions, such as workshops and seminars.

      At the annual conference we video-recorded the Perlis concert and posted it to SAM’s YouTube channel; the 2018 concert can be seen here.

The NEH grant and SAM 2.0 Campaign have allowed us to reach new constituencies. For example, the Charosh Independent Scholar Award winner (described above) is announced and introduced at the opening reception of the conference and is announced in the conference program booklet, with the aim of facilitating networking among those with similar interests. The winner also presents a paper at the conference. So far the winners have included a high school teacher, independent scholars, and (in 2019) a public musicologist who works in radio. We deem this essential as more people with graduate degrees are electing (or being forced) to find jobs outside of academic institutions.

      Our institutional donors may be found on our website here.

 

 4. Evaluation

 

We have not done a formal evaluation of the NEH/SAM 2.0 campaign. We do, however, have abundant anecdotal evidence endorsing our initiatives. A typical reaction to receiving a fellowship (largely awarded to graduate students, independent scholars, and early-career professionals) is “I am beyond thankful and humbled to be the recipient of this award.” There is no doubt that being a fellowship winner not only advances scholarship, but the prestige of such an award also advances careers.

      We ask our fellowship winners to report on how they used the money and the progress they have made one year after the award; these reports are submitted to the Executive Director. One such report appears in Appendix 1; Appendix 2 reprints a recent article in the Bulletin reporting on the work of a Charosh Fellowship recipient.

      I am not aware of any external coverage of the campaign, although SAM certainly reported on it in its in-house organ, the Bulletin. Within the Society, members were highly aware of the campaign and gave generously. I am also not aware of any weaknesses in the NEH program.

 

5. Continuation of the Project

 

There is one research fellowship that SAM is determined to establish, relating to Latin American / Latinx musics. This is an obvious lacuna, as more and more SAM members give papers on Latin music topics. Having such a fellowship would underscore SAM’s commitment to musics of all the Americas and demonstrate that we are serious in welcoming those who do this work.

      Otherwise our fundraising priorities are to encourage “SAM Sustainers” (sustaining donors, to keep our unrestricted funds healthy to pay for our executive director and our new website) and to raise funds to help financially challenged scholars attend our conferences and remain active members of the Society. This is one of the biggest concerns we face going forward.

 

6. Long-Term Impact

 

Over the long term (e.g., the next 25 years), once we have met our immediate fundraising needs, we plan to grow the fellowship funds so that we can increase the amounts of the awards, rather than establish new fellowships. The NEH challenge grant helped attract other institutional sponsors, such as the Cone, Thomson, and Hampsong foundations (described in section 1).  Given that the NEH money was a challenge grant, our campaign to match the donated funds definitely attracted donors both very large and small (a large number of students gave).

 

 

7. Award Products

 

The articles, dissertations, and books supported by fellowships funded by the NEH and by other SAM donors are listed in the section 1 of this report, with links to the appropriate web pages.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The NEH Challenge Grant / SAM 2.0 Campaign literally transformed the Society for American Music. Our numerous fellowships have given us a reputation for supporting music scholarship. Our goal of inclusion is front and center in our activities. The face we present to the world via our logo and website is modern, warm, welcoming. This in turn has prompted generosity from our members. For example, Robert Walser and Susan McClary inaugurated a fellowship for minority doctoral students two years ago, which awards $11,000 annually for one semester’s writing and research. Ten years ago such a fellowship, and indeed the long list of fellowships we now award, would have hardly seemed a realistic goal. We are exceedingly grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities for helping us become who we are today.

 

APPENDIX 1: Tick Fellowship Report

 

Judith Tick Fellowship, 2016

Candace Bailey

 

With the gracious support of the SAM Judith Tick Fellowship, I was able to travel to Baton Rouge and New Orleans in the spring of 2016. I spent five days at the Hill Memorial Library at Louisiana State University, where I was able to unearth an incredible amount of material pertaining to music owned by antebellum free women of color; circulation practices among French and American musicians in New Orleans; the personal collections of professional pianist Coralie LeBlond; composer Basile Bares and his women dedicatees; and many other items. From Baton Rouge, I traveled to New Orleans for three days, where I met with Alfred Lemmon of the Historic New Orleans Collection. He introduced me to uncatalogued entire collections that contained materials of interest to my work.

 

The money from the fellowship was spent on air travel to New Orleans, lodging, and meals.

 

The immediate outcome of this work resulted in a presentation at the American Music Research Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. My plans are to turn that paper into an article on the Johnson sisters of Natchez. Furthermore, I intend to include much of this research in a forthcoming book, Women, Music, and the Performance of Gentility in the Mid-Nineteenth Century South.


APPENDIX 2: Sample Bulletin Article (Jan 2019) on a Fellowship Recipient

 

Following Up with One of SAM’s Fellowship Recipients

Carolyn Bryant 

Heather Buchanan, 2017 Paul Charosh Independent Scholar Fellow

 

Detroit-based producer and publisher Heather Buchanan, who received the 2017 Charosh Independent Scholar Fellowship, recently made a landmark partnership with California film studio Silver Heart Productions. Buchanan’s work with Silver Heart will increase representation of women and people of color in film and television. A release by AUXmedia, Buchanan’s company, reports that “Akin to Reese Witherspoon’s efforts to bring books to the big screen, Buchanan is building a film and television lineup that specializes in diverse characters, storylines and creators.” Silver Heart owner Michael D. Jones remarked that “Heather’s wealth of experience in developing underrepresented stories is much needed in the film industry.”  Heather won her 2017 fellowship for a research project on “jazz diplomacy” in World War I, with a focus on the life and works of composer James Reese Europe. Her project included creative integration of humanities research in American music, digital platforms, and performance. In February 2018, she reported on the continuation of her Reese research when she was the featured presenter at the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH) 92nd Annual Black History Luncheon in Washington, DC, where she spoke on “The Remembrance Project,” her print, film and music collaborative project about the Harlem Hellfighters Band.  In addition, she is producer for a film to debut in February 2019, When the Swan Sings on Hastings: A Short Film, featuring jazz and blues from Detroit’s Paradise Valley, an all-black entertainment district demolished to make way for the I-75 freeway. And she has plans for “Love, War & Jazz,” a live podcast to coincide with the centennial of the Treaty of Versailles (which officially ended WWI), which will include the debut of her arrangement of James Reese Europe’s 1919 composition “All of No Man’s Land is Ours.” Heather very much appreciated the support from SAM. She is full of creative ideas for projects and presentations that include public musicology. Stay tuned for more.   – Carolyn Bryant, for the Paul Charosh Independent Scholarship Committee

APPENDIX 3: Narrative accompanying original application

 

The Society for American Music (originally known as the Sonneck Society in honor of Oscar G. Sonneck) was founded in the mid-1970s in the full flush of the nation’s bicentennial decade fever.  But interest in America’s musical history and culture had flourished long before then, mostly outside the boundaries of institutions, universities, and established scholarly musical societies whose curricula and interests were anchored exclusively in European practices and traditions.  Aficionados, local history buffs, performers looking for repertoire, and collectors of Americana made their discoveries and cobbled together pieces of the nation’s musical past.  Without a way for their findings to enter scholarly discourse, or in turn to have an impact on what students learned, however, the fruits of their work did not reach the nation’s collective understanding. 

The notion that the United States produced no music comparable to the uplifting and universally transcending music of the Western European tradition was, more or less, promulgated as truth through the mid-twentieth century.  In such a world the successes of Stephen Foster, Tin Pan Alley composers, and Broadway could be used against taking American music seriously.  The assumption was that any real music scholar would pack up his bags and study in Europe.  Even Oscar Sonneck (1873-1928), who was first chief of the music division at the Library of Congress (1902-1917), the first editor of the nation’s premiere scholarly music journal The Musical Quarterly beginning in 1915, and whose path-breaking research focused on eighteenth-century American music, had been trained in Heidelberg and Munich, as was expected.  It could be argued that for well into the latter half of the twentieth century the study of American musical culture was taken more seriously in Europe than it was in the United States.  American-born music scholar Theodore Baker (1851-1934), for example, wrote his dissertation on the music of North American Indians, “Uber die Musik der nordamerikanishen Wilden,” in 1882 at the University of Leipzig.

It is hard for today’s graduate students to imagine a time when studying George Gershwin, Charles Ives, Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, or Pauline Oliveros, to say nothing of The Beach Boys, film music, or video game soundtracks would be ardently discouraged or dismissed.  In a world with multiple scholarly journals dedicated to all aspects of American music studies being published by the most respected university presses both here and abroad, the brief history of American music studies is not immediately obvious.  The tidal change that has occurred within the past forty years is due in large part to the singular determination of the Society for American Music. 

SAM’s success increasingly confirms the value of music as a medium with the power to reach across potentially divisive demographic domains—within the humanities generally and within the field of American studies specifically.  While not universal in its appeal or meaning, music’s immediate visceral impact minimizes the need for training, experience, or education in order to speak in some way to large and varied groups of listeners.  Music scholarship, however, provides insights into the human condition that go beyond our physical selves.  Understanding how music’s genres, forms, material culture, performance, dissemination, pedagogy, and values are culturally constructed and circulated makes us aware of its power to express and reflect who we are as thinking people.  Understanding our musical history—the rich record of cultural, economic, and social life that music leaves—opens up new pathways to understanding ourselves. 

Musical traditions from across centuries and the globe are now shaped by Americans into a fluid and heterogeneous sonic landscape.  College campuses represent primary sites of this musical interaction, as a glance at concert offerings over the period of a few weeks at the College of Music of The Florida State University makes clear.  Home to the third-largest and one of the most comprehensive music programs in the United States, the College of Music features a diverse student population that (in spring 2013) presented concerts dedicated to Irish fiddling, steelband, old timey, Renaissance choral, Chinese zheng, and Andean music; performances by the blues lab and early music, gamelan, and Balinese dance ensembles, in addition to the expected phalanx of concerts by the wind band, glee club, community chorus, and symphony orchestra.  In that same month (April 2013) the opera program presented three full productions of Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree.  For today’s student, such musical activity opens up new cultural horizons; for today’s scholar, it offers a wealth of material for reflection and analysis.

Two recent scholarly studies by members of the Society for American Music demonstrate how music is a portal to discussions that engage the complexity of America’s musical diversity.  Charles Hiroshi Garrett’s book, Struggling to Define a NationAmerican Music and the Twentieth Century (University of California Press, 2008) considers five instances of music that function as a site of cultural contestation.  Garrett focuses on the Ragtime Dances of Charles Ives, Jelly Roll Morton’s Spanish tinge, the internal migration evident in Louis Armstrong’s music, the power of Tin Pan Alley composers to determine insider/outsider status through their depictions of Asian others, and Hawaiian music and musicians as participants in creating a national paradise.  In this process this scholar reveals heretofore hidden resonances of individual popular pieces that are more than the sounds we hear and more than the lyrics seem to suggest.  Beth E.  Levy’s book Frontier Figures: American Music and the Mythology of the American West (University of California Press, 2012) considers over a dozen twentieth-century “art music” composers whose programmatic pieces were complicit, even if unconsciously so, in propagandizing a reading of the nation as a new Eden, the logical fulfillment of Manifest Destiny.  She raises questions of race, gender, religion, and regionalism by weaving music into the larger fabric of cultural practices. 

The work of Garrett, Levy, and their many colleagues in American music studies has great potential to enrich both humanities scholarship and public dialogue.  Just as the Society for American Music was the pioneer in this field over four decades ago, it is now poised to expand its efforts by establishing funding opportunities to support scholarship in music across temporal, geographical, social, stylistic, racial, gender, and ethnic boundaries.  The residencies and fellowships that we propose will have a major impact on educators (at all levels), as well as on composers, performers, historians, cultural critics, and the larger public.

As part of our SAM/2.0 Campaign, the Society has identified seven main funding opportunities to achieve our goals. This proposal (for $450,000 of the total $1 million campaign), however, addresses just the first two priorities: 1. Short-Term Research Residencies at Major Archives and Libraries and 2. Endowments for Specialized Research. What follows is a description of each of these categories.

 

 

Society for American Music Research Residencies

The Development Committee has identified eight major archives and libraries for short-term residencies. Five of them are addressed in this application: the American Antiquarian Society, Center for Black Music Research, Library of Congress Music Division, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Archives, and Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.  All of these institutions have strong collections on different aspects of American music history; they also have in place established short- and long-term fellowship programs.  The Society’s residency at each institution will become part of an established program (and will be publicized with the other research opportunities offered by that institution); this will serve to introduce the Society and encourage the use of musical sources to researchers in other humanities disciplines. 

              Representatives of every library or archive we have spoken with have expressed great enthusiasm for welcoming American music scholars who are interested in working in their collections.  Each of the institutions named below has agreed to add a Society for American Music Residency to its existing program as soon as we have raised the requisite funds.  All of these new residencies will be open to graduate students, early- and mid-career scholars, and senior scholars.  (Letters of support are attached.)

 

1. American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, MA)

              The American Antiquarian Society (AAS), a National Research Library of American History, Literature and Culture, is one of the premier libraries in the world for scholarship on early American history and culture.  The Society has the largest collection of printed materials from first contact through 1876 for North America and the West Indies.  There are no collections at the Society that are geared specifically towards music research, but a significant collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century sheet music constitutes part of the Graphic Arts Collection.  Other sources for musicological research—early imprints (including tunebooks), letters, diaries, personal papers, graphic arts, and one of the most important collections of nineteenth-century American newspapers—make the AAS an invaluable resource for scholars working on all areas of American social and cultural history, including the performing arts. 

              The AAS has a robust program of short- and long-term fellowships, and a reputation for fostering collegiality among fellows and staff members.  The reading room is intimate and many fellows, even those who are visiting the Society for several days, attend regular colloquia where fellows present the results of their work.  Scholars also regularly eat lunch together.  The friendly and cooperative atmosphere creates an ideal atmosphere for regular cross-disciplinary conversation.  Many current members of the Society for American Music have benefited from fellowship at the AAS.  The Office of Academic Programs at the Antiquarian Society is very supportive of this initiative, in part because the establishment of a SAM Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society would attract more music scholars to this valuable collection.  This would contribute both to research on American cultural history and to the cross-fertilization of ideas that so frequently is the result of extended use of this collection.  

 

2. The Huntington Library (San Marino, CA)

                  The Huntington Library in Los Angeles has an unparalleled collection of rare books, prints, maps, photographs, and other materials related to American history and literature; materials related to the American Southwest represent one of the Library’s major areas of collection strength.  Although the Huntington does not have major music holdings, the collection does include published and unpublished music, tunebooks, and some interesting eighteenth-century materials. Scholars of twentieth-century music, in particular the musical culture of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other cities of the Southwest, would find valuable materials in the family papers, maps, and letters held at the Huntington. One major collection includes the personal papers and account books of the founder and early manager of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra. 

              The Huntington has recently expanded its fellowship program, in part because of new collaborative grants and fellowships of the type that we propose.  The Director of Research has expressed enthusiasm for a partnership with the Society for American Music, for such a fellowship would increase the profile of the Huntington and its wealth of materials among music scholars.

 

3. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Archives (Cleveland, OH)

              The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives is the largest archival/research collection in the country that is dedicated to the study of the history and cultural significance of popular music in the United States and around the world.  The Library comprises unique collections from numerous genres (jazz, blues, country, as well as rock and roll), including a massive library of recordings, scholarly and journalistic works on music, and one of the most thorough assemblages of periodicals related to music and popular culture in the country.  What makes the site particularly important, however, are the personal collections of figures from the music and entertainment industries that are held in the Archives.  A sampling includes the following: collections that belonged to or are about recording label magnates (Ahmet Ertegun, Milt Gabler, Mo Ostin, Jerry Wexler), papers from record labels (Sire Records, Atlantic Records), and personal materials from performers (Elvis Presley, Art Garfunkel, Patti Smith).  Because the Library and Archives constantly acquires new materials (through donations and purchases), the collection is ever-expanding; researchers visiting the Library and Archives thus have the opportunity to be in on the ground floor when newly-unearthed materials are made available.  Because of the depth and scope of the collections, which includes everything from contracts and other legal documents to personal correspondence and unpublished photographs, researchers can benefit by spending extensive amounts of time with the materials.

              Curators at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives have expressed enthusiasm about working with the Society on this initiative, for it will highlight the serious nature of this important collection.  The breadth of the Archives allows for wide-ranging research, such as a project addressing changes in marketing practices for New York punk bands in the 1970s (using the Sire Records collection) or inquiries into themes of race and religion in early objections to rock and roll in the 1950s (drawing on the Alan Freed collection).  Likewise, the precise nature of certain collections would allow for focused studies of key individuals or organizations, such as a biography of Ray Charles (using the Ahmet Ertegun and Atlantic Records papers).

 

4. Library of Congress, Wayne Shirley Fund (Washington, DC)

              The Library of Congress Music Division oversees more than 20 million items broadly related to American music, theater, and dance culture.  Overseen by a staff of music specialists, its collections are among the most-consulted in our field, with hundreds of scholars making multiple visits over the course of their careers.  Its impact is incalculable.  The Library of Congress Music Division is also home to the archive and oral history project of the Society for American Music. 

              This fund is named in honor of Wayne D.  Shirley, recipient of our Society’s highest honors: the Distinguished Service Award (1996) and the Lifetime Achievement Award (2010).  Starting in 1965 Wayne Shirley served as a reference librarian and then music specialist in the Music Division at the Library of Congress until his retirement in 2002.  He was editor of the Society’s first quarterly journal American Music, and continues as a board member of multiple scholarly societies responsible for the creation of critical editions of American works.  The Wayne Shirley Fund recognizes Mr. Shirley’s generous and unparalleled knowledge of and enthusiasm for all aspects of American musical life by supporting short-term residencies for scholars working on projects deeply rooted in the collections of the Library of Congress Music Division.

5. Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Judith McCulloh Fund (Washington, DC)

The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, where the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections are maintained, preserves materials related to the blues, early country music and bluegrass, the Folk Revival, and ethnic traditions from around the globe.  Included in its collections are materials representing a broad spectrum of sources and topics: the sounds of science and nature; the papers of singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie; and oral history materials.  There are also material from the recording industry, including original recordings, business records, correspondence and photographs. 

In honoring Judith McCulloh, the Society for American Music recognizes her commitment to scholarship on traditional and heritage cultures, and her support for the preservation, documentation, and understanding of American folk culture.  The Society aims to support engagement with the subjects that McCulloh championed as a long-time acquisitions editor at University of Illinois Press, where she founded the book series Music in American Life (with over 130 volumes) and Folklore and Society (which numbers sixteen volumes). 

 

Society for American Music Endowed Research Fellowships

The Society has established six new research fellowships, each named for an eminent member of the Society and each already seeded with funds donated by friends, former students, and other scholars familiar with the groundbreaking and frequently interdisciplinary character of their work.

 

1. Richard Crawford Fund, to support projects that explore the American musical experience in all its diversity

This fellowship is named for Richard Crawford, an internationally renowned scholar who received the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.  In his own work, Crawford consistently strives to understand the meaning of music at its fullest, and to explain his observations in lucid, well-shaped prose.  His pursuit of documentary accuracy, rigorous scrutiny of sources, and deep respect for musical performers as the shapers and bearers of musical traditions—whether traditional, popular, or classical in style—are keys to his approach. 

              The Fund will support research that reflects Crawford’s interests in the distinctive ways in which music is woven into the fabric of American social, economic, and aesthetic life.  Music-making can be understood and interpreted from many perspectives that are influenced by specific cultural values and functions and according to the world-views of those who participate in its creation or dissemination—whether they be singers, instrumentalists, dancers, composers, recording engineers, conductors, salespersons, luthiers, critics, teachers, scholars, or casual auditors.  Music as a score or recording is an object worthy of attention in itself, but the musical object alone seldom tells the whole story of a musical type, form, genre, or style, or accounts for its impact within its social setting.  This fund will favor those scholars at any stage of their careers who seek to understand America’s musical life in a similarly comprehensive fashion.

 

2. Anne Dhu McLucas Fund, to support graduate students pursuing research or fieldwork in traditional or Native American music

              This fellowship is named in memory of a long-term member (and former President) of the Society for American Music who died suddenly in late 2012.  McLucas was a brilliant scholar with wide and vastly different interests.  She was also known for her strong mentorship of younger scholars—students at the University of Oregon where she taught, and innumerable new members of the Society for American Music.  McLucas’s strong scholarly interest in the oral tradition led to the creation of this fellowship, which will provide support for either research or fieldwork by a graduate student interested in traditional music or the music of Natives.  The criteria for this fellowship and the proposed demographic that it targets both reflect McLucas’ scholarly interests and honor the memory of an important scholar who also served as a strong and supportive mentor to students and younger members of the Society for American Music. 

 

3. Eileen Southern Fund, to support research on music of the African diaspora

This fellowship is named for Eileen Southern, who capped her career as a professor of music at Harvard University, was trained as a pianist and specialist in music of the Renaissance, and emerged as a pioneering Africana scholar during the 1960s.  She became interested in documenting all types of black music, from spirituals and folk songs, to ragtime, blues, theater music, all styles of jazz, and the much less familiar concert traditions of African American performers and composers (some stretching back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries).  Her groundbreaking textbook, The Music of Black Americans (1971), inspired generations of students. 

              That the African influence is central to music of the Americas is a commonplace that hardly needs restating, but the reciprocal impact of the African American forms on those in Central Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and in a variety of other transnational settings is still in need of scholarly exploration.  The Southern Fund will support research and creative projects related to this seminal scholar’s many interests, and will be directed towards scholars at any stage of their careers that show a strong aptitude for interpreting African-influenced musical phenomena as they have arisen and spread around the world. 

 

4. Judith Tick Fund, to support research on women’s music-making across time

This fellowship is named for longtime SAM member Judith Tick, who received the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her pioneering work on women and music in the United States.  This fellowship is the first in the musicological community to support the study of gender and women in the musical history of the United States.  The endowment will support travel, the hiring of research assistants, and/or other costs associated with scholars’ research.  In the past four decades, research in this field has evolved from a composer-centered compensatory history on women to a much deeper inquiry into gender and sexuality within historical and cultural contexts.  This new interdisciplinary approach opens up unending possibilities and will lead to more exciting research in the field.  Having this endowment will certainly make such progress possible.

 

5. Virgil Thomson Fellowship, to support research in theater

Established in collaboration with the Virgil Thomson Foundation, this fellowship is named for a composer whose contributions include the operas Four Saints in Three Acts and The Mother of Us All (both with texts by Gertrude Stein), scores to The Plow That Broke the Plains and The River (films by Pare Lorentz), and Louisiana Story (film by Robert Flaherty).  The Fellowship is awarded competitively to SAM members at any phase of their careers whose interest is focused on the history, creation, and analysis of American music on stage and screen, including opera.  The Fellowship may support research expenses, including but not limited to travel expenses, books, and media resources.

 

6. Hampsong Educational Fellowship in American Song

This fellowship has been established in collaboration with renowned baritone Thomas Hampson, whose Song of America project, initially developed in collaboration with the Library of Congress in 2005 and now a program of the Hampsong Foundation, examines connections between poetry, music, history, and culture from the perspective of classic song.  The Hampsong Fellowship will be awarded competitively to SAM members at any phase of their careers who wish to help students and the general public understand American history and culture through the medium of song; curricular projects should utilize materials from two web-based resources: Song of America (http://SongofAmerica.net) and Voices Across Time (http://www.library.pitt.edu/voicesacrosstime/index.html), as well as other primary resources  in American song.  Song of America is an online database created by the Hampsong Foundation for the purpose of understanding American culture through classic song; Voices Across Time is a resource guide created by the Society for American Music and the University of Pittsburgh Center for American Music, offering materials and strategies for using historic American songs as primary sources for studying American history and literature.  

              The Society has been involved in educational outreach since 1996 with its important project “Voices Across Time: Teaching American History Through Music” project, but this new initiative will allow us to broaden the scope and reach of our efforts.  The projects supported by this new fund promise to benefit many groups over the long term: teachers, students of all ages, professional performers in search of “new” repertory, recording artists, amateur music makers, and the general music-loving public.

 

* * *

              Taken together, the expansion of research support for both residencies and endowed fellowships will allow the Society for American Music to attract scholars working in both traditional and non-traditional areas.  This support will increase the cultural diversity of the Society and thus the richness of scholarship in American music.  As the study of music within complex cultural contexts continues to expand, it is expected that these opportunities will increase in number and attractiveness to scholars looking for support at all stages of their careers.

 

 

Long-Range Plans

Plans for SAM’s new residencies and fellowships spring from a thoughtful and deliberate long-range planning process that began with conversations among former presidents of the Society in 2009.  One past president noted that the Society, which was formed with explicit goals toward legitimizing scholarly work in American music, needed to think clearly about its future now that that goal had been achieved.  In Spring 2010 the President and President-Elect of the Society reactivated the Long-Range Planning Committee (LRPC) and charged it with examining the future role and function of the Society.  The revised Long-Range Plan was strongly informed by the results of a survey of the membership and an open forum on the goals of the Society held at the 2011 conference. 

              The LRPC identified seven areas of strategic focus in the newly revised Long-Range Plan, all of which will sustain the Society’s humanities activities and strengthen the impact of the challenge grant funds:

  1. Infrastructure: Processes and procedures that govern the Society.

 

  1. Financial Stability:  Financial transparency; a balanced operating budget; growing endowments; and regularized accounting and reporting. 

 

  1. Research Support:  Funding, expertise, and resource support for individuals engaged in scholarly research leading to publication and/or performance.

 

  1. Outreach:  Communication and collaboration with individuals and groups beyond the Society, including the general public, other educators and scholars, composers, and performers. 

 

  1. Communication and Publication: Sharing and distribution of information among members by means of digital and print media.

 

  1. Membership:  Attracting and retaining members by making SAM appealing to a broad and diverse constituency.

 

  1. Conference:  An innovative and relevant annual meeting experience that extends throughout the year.

 

              The first two areas have resulted in measures to ensure financial transparency for the Officers and Board members, maintain a balanced operating budget, support growing endowments, and provide regularized accounting and reporting.  These measures build on a 2008 Board of Trustees recommendation that we adopt a centralized accounting system managed by the Executive Director, a consistent accounting firm to handle the tax returns, and the installation of Quickbooks to record all income and expenses.  Reporting and tracking methods continue to improve, and the budgetary reforms that we have adopted now serve the Society well, reflecting the reality that the Society for American Music is now a large international scholarly organization. 

Our handling of endowed funds has undergone a similar process of professionalization.  Since these monies were once managed by volunteers, the funds of the Society were variously invested in CDs (long and short-term), bonds, and mutual funds managed by a variety of investment firms.  The Society changed investment strategies in July 2012 to a moderate mixed-investment product, Capital Directions (offered by PNC Investments).  As a result of a more varied and balanced investment in several mutual funds we have seen significant improvement and more-stable returns.  Our investment has averaged a return of 4.45% during the final quarter of 2012 and is expected to show growth in the first quarter of 2013.  The Society’s policy is to limit the award from each endowed fund to 4% of the rolling three-year average of the value of the fund, or to 80% of the rolling three-year average of the interest earned, whichever is the smaller amount.  In this manner, we have been able to support our awards and subventions without having an impact on the capital, and also to allow them to grow.

Contributions to the Society have been consistent over the last ten years, averaging $7,000 per year, primarily adding to our unrestricted fund, the balance of which is currently slightly above $65,000.  In the last two years we have used money from this fund to support the Long-Range Planning and Development committees (the capital campaign efforts of the latter are described in more detail below).  The generosity of our members, however, has enabled us to keep this fund growing.  The existence of this unrestricted fund will allow us to devote 100% of the funds raised during the campaign toward the creation of research residencies and endowments for specialized research.

              The Society is committed to strengthening its effectiveness and long-term impact in the humanities by improving the dissemination of information among members and the public through digital and print media.  In addition to funding for research utilizing diverse technologies, another major (and long-term) goal of the Society is the creation of a new edition of Resources in American Music History, which is a one-volume reference tool created in the 1970s that includes information about American-music related holdings of libraries, archives, and historical societies all over the country.[1]  This valuable reference tool needs a new and expanded edition; we plan first to digitize the entire volume, then update the information and—where practical—create online links to collections that have already been digitized. 

              The Society’s Long Range Plan also includes attracting and retaining members by making the Society more appealing to a broad and diverse constituency—a goal in keeping with our traditions.  The Society was formed in 1975 by American music enthusiasts of all stripes, yet only half of the original membership was made of up college professors, and not all of those were musicologists.  Although today our members self-identify primarily as musicologists, our conferences continue to attract performers, collectors, independent scholars, journalists, composers, K-12 educators, librarians, and anyone interested in American music.  One of our active interest groups within the membership is “Connecting Outside the Academy.” The collegial and welcoming values that characterized the Society in its early days have not just continued, but have strengthened, and we are confident that these qualities will continue to stimulate interest and innovation in our field. 

 

Impact and Assessment

The Society for American Music seeks to increase understanding of American music culture as the nexus of global musical intersections and to share that knowledge with the nation’s citizens.  Our investment in research residencies and fellowships will have a major impact on that goal through enriched scholarship, teaching, and learning in the humanities.  We anticipate that the research residencies created as a result of the SAM/2.0 Campaign will raise our profile as a society.  It will also raise the profile of American music (in general) and of American music as a disciplinary framework for the study of music—as well as American history and culture—in particular.  The topics supported will broaden the scope of scholarship in American music.  Interactions with primary source collections will encourage more digital scholarship and inspire initiatives that will extend audiences outside the academy, especially in the realms of public outreach and education. 

              Although these goals are qualitative, there are specific quantitative benchmarks that will serve to measure our success.  One assessment plan will track increased participation in the Society’s various activities: increased membership, increased submissions to the Bulletin, the Journal of the Society for American Music, and increased participation at the annual conference.  More broadly, we will track publications, performances, and recordings in non-SAM outlets that reflect research supported by SAM funds.

              Another gauge of the effect of the challenge grant will be the increased engagement of K-12 educators with the Society—as applicants for the Hampsong Award, as presenters at our conferences, and as participants in specific opportunities such as “Voices Across Time.”  In time, we anticipate that the Society’s efforts will result in a greater presence of American music (and its history and culture) in more K-12 and college-level textbooks. 

 

Fund-Raising Plans

In 2012 the Society’s President, Dr. Katherine K.  Preston (College of William and Mary) identified a development committee that has worked well together for the last year under a well-organized and efficient chair, Dr. bruce d.  mcclung (University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music).  With Dr. mcclung’s guidance the committee has raised over 50% of the goal of the campaign in the first (“leadership phase”) year of the campaign.  Our success during this phase of the campaign (including bequests) suggests that the timing for launching this campaign is right.  The membership is dedicated to the well-being and longevity of the Society (many members have asserted that they owe their careers to this organization) and we are prepared to accomplish a successful campaign. 

              The Society embarked on the SAM/2.0 Endowment Campaign in January 2012 with a retreat by the Development Committee.  This allowed us to carefully plan the initial stage (“leadership phase”) of the campaign.  We designed an initial brochure and pledge card (see Appendix A), created lists of individuals to be approached (A, B1, B2, and C lists), decided who should be approached by whom on the committee, discussed how to approach members, and practiced how to talk about fund-raising with our colleagues.  The brochure and pledge card were published and distributed to members of the Committee.  Eighty-six hand-picked members made pledges, which demonstrated their commitment and interest in helping the Society.  In March 2013, the Society officially launched the public phase of the SAM/2.0 Endowment Campaign at our 39th Annual Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.  During 3 ½ days of the conference, we raised almost $65,000 (including a $25,000 challenge grant from President-elect Judy Tsou), illustrating a strong level of support for the goals of the campaign.  We currently have contributions from 219 members, representing over 25% of our entire membership.  To date we have raised over 60% of our goal, with a current balance of $615,028, including $350,000 in bequests, $125,000 in foundation grants, and $140,028 in cash pledges.  The goal for the campaign is $1,000,000.  The timing for the campaign is four years, culminating at the annual conference in Boston in 2016.  The Society has established a website for purposes of this campaign: http://www.SAM2point0.net/.  [site no longer active] Here visitors can learn about the background and impetus for this important fund raising initiative, and make pledges. 

              The experience of the Development Committee at our recently concluded conference in Little Rock has convincingly demonstrated that we have the support of every constituency in the Society—graduate students, early career professionals, independent scholars, senior scholars, and retired scholars. 

                  The Society for American Music has fulfilled its original raison d’être: the study of American music and music in the Americas is now accepted as legitimate scholarship by the academy.  Even more exciting for those of us who have been working for years in the field, however, is the realization that American-music study is a true growth area in the discipline.  The Society for American Music is now embarking on the second phase of its existence.  We are redoubling our efforts on behalf of American music; by doing so we seek to expand knowledge and also to inform our fellow citizens about their own rich musical heritage.  To help us succeed with these goals, we ask the National Endowment for the Humanities to assist us by means of this Challenge Grant.  This will ensure that we will complete a successful campaign. 



[1]D.W.  Krummel, et al, editors.  Resources of American Music History (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1981).