INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Society capitalizes on campus resource
“The aim is to bring to the public the best voices that history has given us,” said Tom MacDonald, a retired voice teacher who is the groups president.
Each month, he looks online at a list of recordings available from the archive and requests materials around a certain theme. Theyre brought from special storage in Conklin and MacDonald chooses about 45 minutes of material for use in his presentation.
“For me, its an exploration of a treasure trove,” MacDonald said. “Theres discovery on my part, too. Its an adventure.”
This “treasure trove,” which emphasizes opera singers from 1900-1960, is a collection of more than 50,000 vocal performances. More than 3,000 singers are represented in the collection, donated in 1982 by Philip Conole, a former member of the library staff. Herbert Poetzl, curator of the archive, said its gratifying to see someone as know-ledgeable as MacDonald taking advantage of the collections resources.
“Hes doing a service to the University,” Poetzl said. “Its a natural way to reach out. But the materials are delicate, so we have to medi-ate their use in some way, and this seems an ideal way to do that.”
MacDonalds informal talks include infor-mation about performers and techniques of the past, including personal anecdotes from his career in Europe, the United States and Mexico. He hopes hearing these great re-cordings will encourage an appreciation for the performers technical mastery and inspire todays audiences to demand more from singers.
The Bel Canto Societys next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, in FA-170. MacDonald has titled his presentation for the evening “The Passion of Mafalda.”
For more information about the society, call MacDonald at 724-8250. To search for materials in the Conole Archive, visit the Librarys online catalog at http://library.lib.binghamton.edu.