Meredith Willson, the composer of one of Broadway’s most famous shows, "The Music Man," will soon have his early work available online.
The Great American Songbook Foundation in Carmel received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to digitize old recordings of Willson, including his radio shows and compositions.
Right now, the Willson recordings from the 1940s and '50s are only held on 16-inch lacquer discs, which are more fragile than vinyl records. Archivist Lisa Lobdell says the lacquer discs can shrink, crack or separate.
“The incentive for every organization that has these in their collection is to get them digitized as quickly as possible,” Lobdell says. “Due to the large number that we have, we didn’t want to lose these to neglect.”
The foundation says the project is important for those interested in studying radio and post WWII America.
Recordings will be available through request through the Songbook Foundation and on Indiana University’s online streaming platform by next summer.