Posts tagged: children’s music

Boca Magazine highlights FAU Sound Archives Collection

By , June 28, 2013 2:49 pm

In a small room on the fifth floor of FAU’s Wimberly Library, zippered bags clutch dozens of record sleeves of vintage children’s music, relics from another time. There’s Bongo, a circus bear unicycling on a tightrope and voiced by Dinah Shore. There’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” whose record sleeve depicts just that. There’s the Three Billy Goats Gruff, Pinocchio, Little Toot and Humpty Dumpty. One album cover, featuring Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird, includes a pencil-written note in the margin: “To: Dick Hertz. Birthday, Jan. 20, 1951. From: Mommy.”

These forgotten treasures are currently the domain FAU’s Recorded Sound Archives (RSA), which began in 2009 as an extension of its popular Judaica Sound Archives; nowadays, the institution restores and digitizes lost and important music of all kinds. These recently obtained children’s record sleeves, their once-vibrant cover art damaged by flood and mold from Hurricane Sandy, are mostly second copies from the vast collection of Peter Muldavin, the world’s foremost expert on vintage children’s records. When his Long Island storage facility suffered storm damage, he donated its contents – 786 records – to the RSA, whose passionate archivist, Ben Roth, is a friend. Some of the 78 rpm records date back to the 1920s, bearing price tags of a quarter a piece.

The restoration business, on Roth and company’s end, is a long and painstaking one. They are still in the process of entering all the data, with plans to release some of their results through their website starting in January. Roth showed me a bit of the RSA’s fascinating restorative process, some of whose accoutrements look like something out the old Mousetrap game. First, the records are dipped, like strawberries in chocolate, in a motorized tank devised for cleaning jewelry, in which ultrasonic waves eliminate the ingrained dirt. Then they are positioned in front of an industrial hair dryer haphazardly duct-taped into position on a metal stand – an appropriately primitive way of cleaning these analog goodies.

As for the damaged, crackly sound of the records, that can be polished by more modern means – Sony’s Sound Forge computer software. The sleeves have been photographed and inventoried for digital restorations, but unfortunately the originals in the zipper bags will be discarded – their damage is too severe.

If you make an appointment, you may be able to listen to some of these recordings in the RSA’s headquarters, while admiring the collection’s vintage turntables, including an entirely hand-cranked 1911 Victrola and a 1924 credenza model that Roth says “cost more than a car” at the time of its manufacture.

Link to original blog post: http://www.bocamag.com/blog/2013/06/28/record-time/

Chanukah music for everyone

By , December 10, 2012 1:26 pm

 Chanukah celebrations are joyous occasions with lots of holiday gifts, decorations and parties.

The eight-day festival of Chanukah retells a story about hope, the importance of maintaining Jewish traditions, and the symbolic power of light.

Of course, at the Judaica Sound Archives we always celebrate Chanukah with music!

Back by popular demand, the JSA’s wonderful collection of Chanukah songs that will entertain and delight the entire family.

From the Children’s Village Choir singing Hanukkah is Here to Moshe Oysher singing Maoz Tzur with his sister Fraydele and his niece Marilyn Michaels, the songs in this collection express the essence of the holiday. Joyous songs, children’s songs that teach about the holiday, traditional songs, and a new twist on an old favorite have been included.

May your holidays be filled with the music that fills your heart. Best wishes for a Happy Chanukah!

Gladys Gewirtz: Pioneer of Jewish Children’s Music Dies

By , April 18, 2012 1:28 pm

Gladys Gewirtz circa 1965

Gladys Gewirtz  touched the lives of thousands of people who never met her. Her recordings were among the first that were digitized and played on the JSA website (www.fau.edu/jsa).  Over  60 years ago, Gladys Gewirtz, had the idea of creating recordings for young Jewish children. Together with her sister, Roz Grossman who wrote the lyrics and patter between songs, she produced recordings based on familiar fairy tales and nursery rhymes. The simple sing-along tunes are endearing and bring back early childhood memories to many listeners.

Gladys attended Julliard and Columbia University. She was music director of the first Camp Ramah, and taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary where she  inspired a generation of music teachers and counselors.

The sisters’ songs deal primarily with Jewish customs and holidays, and also celebrate the newly established State of Israel. Miriam Brosseau writes, “in Gewirtz’s record Mother Goose Songs for Jewish Children and Holiday Play Songs, she and narrator Eve Lippman inject Jewish themes into familiar American children’s songs; Little Boy Blue, for instance, cannot watch over his sheep on Shabbat–he is in shul, of course. The young boys on the cover all sport kippot and Mother Goose is pictured in a matronly shawl, with a prominent Star of David around her neck.”

Through the pioneering work of Gladys Gewirtz and her sister, Roz Grossman,  Jewish life and customs became songs that even pre-schoolers could understand.  It is only now, after so many years, that we can truly appreciate the powerful influence that these simple tunes had in fostering Jewish identity and education for  generations of Jewish children.

Gladys spent a number of years at Kol Yisrael (The Voice of Israel) as a music producer.  She was married to the District Attorney of Jerusalem, Ezra Hedaya.

Together with her brother, Shimon (cantor). and his wife, Ilana (flutist and soloist), Gladys established and directed the first music service at the Hebrew Music College in Jerusalem. She also wrote various cantatas and oratorios on biblical themes. Gladys and her brother Shimon again combined their talents to write a musical  based on The Book of Ruth. entitled Your People are Mine.

Gladys was 84 when she passed away on April 14, 2012. Shimon and Roz are currently living in Israel.  All of us at the Judaica Sound Archives are saddened by her passing and offer sincere condolences to her family. Her memory is a blessing to all who knew her. Her music legacy will not be forgotten.

Click here to listen to all eight (8) of her albums from the JSA Collection.

JSA Featured Performer – Judy Caplan Ginsburgh

By , February 7, 2012 2:43 pm

The Judaica Sound Archives is proud to feature the beautiful voice of Judy Caplan Ginsburgh.  Although much of her work is geared towards children’s music and holiday songs,  her  clean, clear, lyrical voice performs beautifully when singing cantorial songsromantic ballads, and folk songs.  She is a nationally recognized and multi-award winning performer.  She travels extensively to perform at a variety of different of events, appearing in concerts, educational workshops and sing-alongs .

Judy obviously has a passion and a talent for childhood education. She has innovated a number of educational performances and events which engage school-age children with music and song. One of my favorites from her collection is the  iParenting 2007 Award winner, You’re Amazing.

Judy has had great success as a recording artist since 1981. Her award-winning, best-selling recordings for Jewish families feature familiar songs which have been sung for years in Jewish schools and homes. Her interactive and educational recordings of music for general audiences have received the highest praises from teachers and parents around the globe.

The Judaica Sound Archives has 11 of her albums in our collection. I know that once you start listening to them you will be emailing me to ask where you can buy the CDs.  So before you have to ask.  I will tell you.

The Judaica Sound Archives does not sell CDs. If you are interested in purchasing this music please visit Judy Caplan Ginsburgh’s website: www.judymusic.com .

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