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We Survived Boogie Fever!!

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, I had the pleasure to present some braille music scores and talk about the NLS Music program to many people in a short amount of time.  They were all very happy and streaming by the Main Reading Room desk in the Jefferson building at a very rapid pace.  However, they weren’t running…they were DANCING!

Mirror ball with Library of Congress logo.

And singing and smiling and laughing and boogieing. The Library of Congress presented a Bibliodiscotheque from April 12-May 6, culminating in a dance party to the music of Gloria Gaynor.

Gloria Gaynor singing at the Library of Congress, Great Hall

I saw many sequins, platform shoes, afros, medallions, polyester worn proudly, unbuttoned shirts, and some great dance moves, but my best take-away of the evening was watching people’s reactions when they realized they were reading braille music with their fingers.  And not only reading music, but reading Disco music!

Cover of braille music score, “I Will Survive” by Fekaris and Perren.

Their enthusiasm was gratifying, since at the Music Section our interactions are usually limited to telephone and e-mail.

As the dancers strolled down the aisle and circled the desk, other Library divisions displayed their treasures as well.

Librarians at the Main Reading Room Desk with information on hair and makeup of the disco era.

And while the dancers were moving non-stop, they were dancing and singing to disco music they heard on their headphones. They were all members of the Silent Disco Society, and rather than a funny hat with a tassel, they wore headphones that flashed colors and played classic disco music. I remember disco, and yes, I danced as much as possible. It was irresistible.

I’m happy our patrons can get their groove on with some of the classics of the disco era, like Stayin’ Alive (BRM 25125), I Will Survive (BRM 25487) Disco Duck (BRM 30622 prepare yourself;  there is some quacking called for in this song), and if you still want more, Disco Piano at BRM 28568.

The history of the Main Reading Room has seen its share of enlightenment, but I don’t think it has ever “gotten down” like this before.  And we survived!

NLS staff at Bibliodiscotheque. From left to right, Director Karen Keninger, Music Reader Librarian Mary Dell Jenkins, Acting Section Head for Publications and Media, David Pelizzari.

Women in the Arts

I have blogged previously about Women in Music  and although the official calendar date has passed for Women’s History Month, I would like to share my experience from a forum sponsored by the Library of Congress. Leaders in the Arts was a conversation held in the beautiful Members Room on March 22, 2017, with Librarian Carla Hayden […]

Le Jazz Hot!

It’s always interesting to check the date for famous birthdays or events and see where reflections will lead.  Today, January 26, is the birthday of Stèphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist. That’s right, violinists can be jazz musicians, and once you hear a sample, you’ll start appreciating, and I hope, admiring the style.  In fact, stringed […]

A Four Hour Concert in an Unheated Hall

On this day, over two hundred years ago, a historic concert took place. It was in Vienna, in the middle of the Advent season, and Beethoven needed some money. “But, Beethoven,” you would say, “surely he was doing fine! He is Beethoven! Everyone loves him!” However, in Vienna in 1808, just because everyone loved you […]

Never Too Late!

Forty-three years ago patron Dianne Phelps earned her Music Education degree at Eastern New Mexico University. She faced difficult challenges with her partial vision at the time and struggled with some of the faculty, reluctant to award her a degree. Thankfully, she prevailed. Afterwards, she had a keyboard and was frustrated as she was not […]

New Year, New BARD Titles

I hope everyone out there had a relaxing and peace-filled holiday season. Now that the year is almost through, it’s time to look ahead to 2016 and the new beginnings that await us there. In keeping with that spirit, this blog will highlight some of the newest braille and digital talking books that have been […]