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Five Questions: Janet McKinney, Music Division Contract Archivist

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The following is the final entry in a series of guest posts by retired Senior Music Cataloger Sharon McKinley.

How did you become an intern?

A former Junior Fellow (the amazing Matthew Morrison!) recommended the program to me, so I applied. The Junior Fellow program was such a fantastic experience. I cannot say enough good things about it. After the summer ended I was asked to stay on part time to continue work on the M1508 project. After a few months I started in the position I am now, as a contract archivist in the Acquisitions and Processing Section.

What are you working on?

I am coding the “Holograph Music Manuscripts” series (“holograph” meaning in the composer’s hand) of the Leonard Bernstein Collection to join the rest of the finding aid already available online. I am processing new additions to the Howard Ashman Papers, as well as additions to the George and Ira Gershwin Collection that came from the Archive in California.

What do you listen to when you work?

I find that what I listen to usually corresponds to what is happening at the Library. If I am working on the Gershwins, Bernstein, Ashman or Ella Fitzgerald, then I am listening to their music. I listen to specific pieces that are going to be performed in our concert series or to other music recorded by the performers. Sometimes what I listen to is motivated by crazy lunch time conversations such as what is our favorite Requiem or favorite choral movement from the Messiah. I also love to listen to Irish music and Simon & Garfunkel.

Do you have a favorite item in the collection?

I’m sure if you asked me in a few days my answer would change. One of my favorite items is the original orchestration for Rhapsody in Blue—not because it’s my favorite piece of music, but for the historical significance it carries. It actually resides in the Ferde Grofé Collection, who had to quickly orchestrate the piece for the premiere by the Paul Whiteman Band. There are some band member names in the margins instead of instruments, blank pages where George was to have piano solos, and conductor’s markings throughout. To see a document that played such a significant role in the history of American music is very exciting.

What should we ask you about?

FOOD! I love to cook and am food obsessed. I enjoy learning how to make store bought items at home from scratch, and I especially enjoy brewing my own beer!

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