Our Hope for Years to Come: Digitizing Recordings at the Sacred Harp Museum

The Sacred Harp Museum's collection of reel-to-reel tapes.

Sacred Harp Museum open-reel tapes.

As part of our ongoing efforts to enhance the security and accessibility of our collections, the Sacred Harp Museum has partnered with Osiris Studio in Atlanta to digitize all of the museum’s open-reel tapes. Ranging in date from the 1960s to the early 1990s, the tapes include everything from amateur recordings of singing conventions to professional masters of studio sessions. Our small investment has ensured the survival of these invaluable documents of Sacred Harp history—what was a vulnerable stack of aging magnetic media is now backed-up on hard drive and digitally archived in the museum’s secure cloud-based repository. Furthermore, researchers can safely access the recordings in a digital format that, unlike the tapes, does not degrade with use.

Michael Graves of Osiris Studio with Nathan Rees, Jesse P. Karlsberg, and Jonathon Smith.

Osiris Studio’s Michael Graves with the Sacred Harp Museum’s Nathan Rees, Jesse P. Karlsberg, and Jonathon Smith. Photograph by Joy Graves.

We are especially excited to work with Michael Graves at Osiris Studio—his Grammy Award-winning work is of the highest quality. For a sense of the expertise and passion that Michael brings to his work, read about his restoration of a newly discovered Hank Williams recording on his website. Since preservation is our first priority, we have made exact digital transcriptions of the tapes. Be on the lookout for future projects featuring fully-restored selections once we have had the opportunity to evaluate all the material. In the meantime, enjoy this selection of tracks from the 1967 Calhoun County Convention.

The Sacred Harp Museum is uniquely situated to help singers preserve the history of our tradition for future generations. Please let us know if you have reel-to-reel tapes or other recordings that you feel deserve this same level of professional archival preservation.

About Nathan Rees

Nathan Rees is a member of the Board of Directors of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company and associate editor of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company Newsletter. Originally from Utah, he lives in Carrollton, Georgia, where he is assistant professor of art history at the University of West Georgia.
This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Our Hope for Years to Come: Digitizing Recordings at the Sacred Harp Museum

  1. Philip Denney says:

    Thanks for this story and all the newsletter content!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *