Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Topic expansion

After spending a long time buried in the archives of Olin, and finding virtually nothing on my topic of the history of church music in Winter Park, I have decided to expand my subject to the more general history of music in Winter Park. This is not to say that my interest in church music has faded, but due to time constraints I simply can't interview every pastor in Winter Park in the hopes of finding something that could support an entire research project. I have done extensive research on the Winter Park Symphony Orchestra, which has provided me with some interesting insight not only into the development of the orchestra but the development of the Rollins College music department. I have decided to divide my research into several topics: a) church music, b) the symphony orchestra, c) the Rollins music department, d) vaudeville and musical theater in Winter Park, e) how the invention of the radio changed Winter Park, and f) music in schools (and the difference between what was available in white schools vs. black schools). More may be added as I continue to research and find what I think are interesting potential topics. My research on the symphony orchestra has been particularly revealing; one woman managed to turn a tiny little town without an orchestra into the host of one of Central Florida's most prolific orchestras. Rollins itself played a large part in the orchestra's beginnings, and in fact was one of the motivations for the orchestra, as the founder noted that she heard that Rollins had a very good conductor, but that he had "nothing to conduct." I have found letter upon letter of correspondence between said conductor and founder, and I have also found many letters detailing what music the orchestra needed, how much it would cost, which made me marvel at the dedication it must have taken to get the orchestra underway (nowadays, we can just order all that stuff online and have it there the next day). I also found some letters from musicians desperately looking for work and took note that many of the letters were written during the depression, which explains why the orchestra simply couldn't hire as many people as it claims it would have liked to have had. All in all, although on first glance there does not appear to be much on my topic in Winter Park, I think that I will find a rich history as I continue to research (music is everywhere!).

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