The following is a guest post by Ruth Bright, an intern working in Music Cataloging. Thanks to Sharon McKinley, Senior Music Cataloger, for conducting the interview.
What made you want to apply for an internship at the Library of Congress?
As a member of the Renaissance Scholars Honors Program at Montgomery College, I was encouraged to apply to be an intern at the Library of Congress through the Paul Peck Humanities Institute. I have always been an avid reader, and the opportunity to work with the music collection was a dream come true for someone who is majoring in music.
What’s an item or collection that makes you want to say, “Hey, look at THIS!”
In the latter part of my internship, I am spending some time making bibliographic records for a collection of volumes of American songs bound together by different private individuals, from the early to mid 1800s. The time period of these songs makes them an important deposit of early American songwriting, and as a collection, these 290 volumes are a valuable treasure of the Library.
What Library concerts or lectures did you especially enjoy?
Throughout my stay at the Library, I’ve managed to attend one lecture or another almost every day I’m here. The subjects ranged from Schoenberg’s composing process to Louis Armstrong as a melodist, from the political culture of the Parisian café to the present influence of Ralph Ellison on modern authors, and from Safavid Iran to the Great Experiment of the Soviet Union. These are just a fraction of the diverse presentations I have been privileged to hear. They reflect the depth of the holdings of the Library of Congress as well as the range of librarians and scholars that work with and use the collections.
What are your future plans?
While finishing my studies at Montgomery College majoring in music, I have been accepted into the School of Music at the University of Maryland. I am excited at the prospect of continuing my study of piano performance there in the fall. My long term goals include teaching piano and accompanying, with a special place in my heart for musical theater. I wish to pursue graduate degrees in those areas.
What musical interests do you pursue outside the Library?
I am an accompanist at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gaithersburg, and also teach and accompany privately. Always looking for opportunities to collaborate with other artists to make music and entertain an audience. I especially enjoy performing chamber music. In addition to piano, I also study violin, and enjoy playing with the Montgomery College Metropolitan Orchestra. An avid concert-goer, I love to hear good music performed live.
What’s something else you would like us to know about you?
I also write poetry, and would like to share a poem I wrote about books and the written word.
Their faces peering out at me,
Intent, some distant, silently,
Some handsome bold, some haggard old,
But all so gaze eternally.
And rows on rows, unnumbered souls,
With each a story, given roles,
Are acted out, without a doubt
As foreordained, achieving goals.
The beautiful and young stand still
As those without a spirit will.
The elderly, immobile see
As captured, single scenes fulfill.
The artists painted, masters said
Creating life as gods, and sped
Their beings breath, not granting death,
Immortalized, their words are read.