Elias Savada Provides Gift for Sound Digitization

Elias Savada, Director of the Motion Picture Information Service, is gifting Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) with a three-year cash donation for sound digitization and preservation. Savada is the son of the late Morton Savada, who was proprietor of the Manhattan record store Records Revisited.

The Savada family donated the complete inventory of the store, more than 200,000 78-rpm records, to SCRC’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive after the store closed in 2008. In addition, the family gifted papers from Records Revisited; correspondence from customers, other dealers, and friends; inventories and receipts; and obituaries, clippings, and other information about artists of the era to complete The Morton J. Savada Papers collection. In 2015 the Savada Family renewed their philanthropic commitment to the collection through creation of the Savada Family Sound Beat Endowed Fund, which provided seed funding for the ongoing creation of daily episodes of Sound Beat, an interstitial broadcast program that uses recordings from Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive. The Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive houses over 500,000 items, from the earliest experimental recordings on tinfoil to modern digital media. Through digital transfers made at the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive, the collections provide source material for Sound Beat episodes.

“One of our greatest priorities as stewards of the rare and unique materials that comprise Special Collections Research Center is preservation. We are so grateful to Elias Savada and the Savada family for their ongoing commitment to the preservation of recorded sound at Syracuse University,” said Petrina Jackson, Director of Special Collections Research Center. “Being able to maintain this commitment takes a lot of invisible labor on the part of our staff. As we continue to collect and care for materials, we are guided by the fact that many, like the Savada family, have entrusted us with their collections and that documenting these histories are not only the root of new and original scholarship, but a source of accountability and remembrance. Preservation is a protection of our investment in these archival and cultural heritage materials and a commitment that allows us to continue to provide access to materials to researchers and our SU community.”

“I am unaware of any other donation of recordings as large as the Savada gift to Syracuse University Library,” said Sam Brylawski, past president of the board of Association for Recorded Sound Collection. “It is an outstanding gesture by the family. It is gratifying, too, to know of Syracuse University’s commitment to preserving the work of Morty Savada and making it available to the public and the research community.”

Elias Savada holding record from Records Revisited in the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive, 2010.

Virtual Event on Digital Library Program and Special Collections Research Center: Building the Latin American 45s Collection

Syracuse University Libraries’ Digital Library Program will host a virtual event on Wednesday, September 23 at 4 p.m. EST to discuss how it is partnering with the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) to build the Latin American 45s digital collection. Through cross-department partnerships, the Digital Library Program is providing campus access to the University’s unique digital offerings while promoting their innovative reuse and exploration through teaching and learning.

This virtual event will highlight the challenges around the digital stewardship of rare and unique materials and share examples of current projects, including a multi-year effort to digitize, describe, and preserve the Bell Brothers Collection of Latin American and Caribbean Recordings, due to be released for the campus community as a stand-alone digital collection through a newly designed portal in Fall 2020. The virtual event will include a behind-the-scenes look at SCRC’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive, home to the first studio ever designed solely for audio preservation.

The Digital Library Program comprises an interdisciplinary team of professionals from across the Libraries who come together to commit their time and talent in spearheading a variety of digital initiatives that spotlight the richness of the Libraries’ myriad collections and enhance the Libraries’ campus partnerships.

This program is the first in a series about the Digital Library Program and how it engages with partners and colleagues to bring the University’s hidden, unique content into the digital light. The program is open to the public. Advance registration is required by emailing libevent@syr.edu with your name and email. The Zoom link will be sent to registered attendees the day prior.


Sound Beat Access Audio Chronicles to Release “You Don’t Surrender: Journal and Memoirs from Don Waful, a World War II P.O.W.”

Sitting in radio city around table with microphones are Don Waful, an elderly gentleman, student Tyler Youngman, Libraries' employee Jim O'Connor, and Inclusive U intern Gabby Iannotti
From Left to Right: Recording in WAER’s studios are: Don Waful ’37 and G’39, veteran; Tyler Youngman ’20, Sound Beat intern; James O’Connor, Sound Beat producer; Gabby Iannotti ‘19, Sound Beat intern from InclusiveU.

Syracuse University Libraries will be releasing its first audiobook titled “You Don’t Surrender: Journal and Memoirs from Don Waful, a World War II P.O.W.”  in October 2019.  This original audio content was produced by Sound Beat: Access Audio Chronicles, which creates audio projects that highlight iconic Syracuse University community members. Don Waful, who received his bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University’s College of Arts & Sciences in 1937 and his master’s degree in 1939, has been an icon in the community and on campus for decades. A member of the Alumni Glee Club, Waful is one of Syracuse’s oldest-living alumni and longest-tenured football fans. As an American Prisoner of War (POW) from 1942 through 1945 during World War II, Waful maintained a journal of his experiences. “You Don’t Surrender: Journal and Memoirs from Don Waful, a World War II P.O.W.” chronicles both the journal he maintained, along with a memorial perspective from Waful himself in the form of interviews conducted at WAER. The audiobook also includes historical commentary interspersed throughout the chronicles.

Historically, Sound Beat has been a 90-second daily radio program based on recordings from the Belfer Audio Archive, part of Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center. Sound Beat is broadcast in over 360 markets nationally and internationally, and each episode focuses on a particular recording and provides a short backstory detailing its place in the landscape of recorded sound. Sound Beat: Access Audio Chronicles is a new longer form program that extends the Sound Beat concept by enabling the creation of new knowledge and cultural exchange and advancing teaching, learning and research through the oral documentation of interviews, journals, experiences and perspectives from primary sources. It also extends Syracuse University Libraries’ commitment to accessibility and inclusion by providing resources to those who may not be able to read or process traditional print books or prefer listening to books.

Sound Beat, both the 90-second interstitials and the longer form Access Audio Chronicles, also provides an opportunity to incorporate applied learning for Syracuse University students who help to research, write and promote the episodes.  Recently students with intellectual and developmental disabilities from The Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education (InclusiveU) have begun working with Sound Beat. Syracuse University alumnus Brett Barry ’97, G’13, is the program host and narrator.  James O’Connor, Sound Beat producer, Bianca Caiella Breed, assistant director for development at Syracuse University Libraries, Tyler Youngman, production assistant, Sound Beat intern and Syracuse University student ‘20, Gabby Iannotti ’19, production assistant and InclusiveU graduate, and Ian Coe, Sound Beat intern and InclusiveU student ’21 have been working on the “You Don’t Surrender: Journal and Memoirs from Don Waful, a World War II P.O.W.”  audio project. In addition to reading and recording the journal entries, they have interviewed Don several times on topics ranging from his time as a student to key events that occurred during the war. Each interview and interaction has provided more depth to Waful’s character and unique story as a student and veteran, his outlook on life, and his loyalty to his alma mater. Through the interviews and his journal writings, Waful has shared his despairs while captured along with his hopes for his future.

As part of Orange Central, Syracuse University’s alumni weekend event, the team will be speaking about the experience of bringing the journal to life, complete with a question and answer session with Waful himself. The presentation will be on September 14, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. in Bird Library.


Sound Beat Celebrates 50th Anniversary of First Landing on Moon

Syracuse University Libraries’ Sound Beat, the Libraries’ 90-second daily radio program based on recordings from the Belfer Audio Archive, will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon on July 20, 1969 with special “Moon Month” programming.

The Apollo 11 spaceflight landed Commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969. In honor of that historic date, episodes of Sound Beat for the month of July, which are broadcast in 360 markets throughout North America, the Philippines and New Zealand, will celebrate the event through lunar-themed recordings from the Belfer Audio Archives. The program will also acknowledge Syracuse University alumni who have been associated with the space program, including former NASA Administrator and Syracuse University Professor at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Sean O’Keefe.

Sound Beat episodes will explore mankind’s relationship with the moon from a B.C. era hymn through classical compositions to the age of vinyl. Sound Beat will include the recordings Neil Armstrong brought aboard and played in orbit and on the Moon’s surface, and other recordings that examine how earlier generations and civilizations reconciled the glowing orb in the night sky. Selections will include:

  • We’re Going By Rocket to the Moon–an educational and entertaining look at space travel for kids, published 19 years before the lunar landing
  • The Airborne Symphony, composed by Marc Blitzstein, conducted by Bernstein–A history of human flight using music that the United States Army Air Forces originally commissioned for use in film
  • Under a Russian Moon– brief description of the Space Race between US and Russia and centered on Sputnik, the first man-made satellite in space
  • Music out of the Moon, Dr. Samuel Hoffman-–“the strange, electronic sounding music” that Neil Armstrong played while in transit, hurtling towards his historic moonwalk
  • Howling at the Moon, Hank Williams-–an exploration of the Moon’s place in cultural mythologies, from the man in the moon to werewolves and beyond
  • Debussy’s Clair de Lune, Mozart’s Moonlight Sonata, Jack Kerouac’s The Moon, and more

About Sound Beat:

Sound Beat is carried by commercial stations in major markets, community-supported stations in small communities, and reader services that provide news and entertainment to the elderly and visually impaired. Listenership is estimated at around 4 million per day and is one of the most popular carriages in the history of the audio interstitial format.