Magazine article The Tracker

Our Most Important Mission

Magazine article The Tracker

Our Most Important Mission

Article excerpt

It is with a sense of excitement, anticipation and pride that I announce to the membership that Dr. Gregory Crowell of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has begun his duties as the Society's first Director of Publications. Concurrently, under the new Bylaws overwhelmingly ratified by the membership in July 2004, the former Publications Oversight Committee has been rechristened the Publications Governing Board. With this new document comes a broader range of responsibilities and authority for the PGB. Lastly, the OHS Press-the newly styled publishing arm of the Organ Historical Society-has hit the ground running with several exciting and important new publications in progress.

As the Society approaches the eve of its fiftieth anniversary, the formal establishment of a press singularly devoted to the publication of research on all aspects of the pipe organ marks one of the most important steps the Society has taken in its history. The OHS's standard bearers, The Tracker and The Organ Handbook, are already respected as models of their kind throughout the world. The Society has also issued a number of highly respected books over the past decades, including most recently The Austin Story, The Hook Opus List, and the facsimile reprint of the first organ periodical in the United States, Eugene Thayer's The Organist's Journal and Review.

The mission statement of the new OHS Press reads:

The OHS Press is established by the Organ Historical Society for the advancement and dissemination of scholarship on the organ, its music, literature, cultural contexts and performance. We consider for publication scholarly works about the organ and musical editions, regardless of commercial viability, directed either to the specialist or the general reader.

To help carry out this charge, we have engaged the new Director of Publications-our first new directorate in twenty-three years. The PGB will develop the publication program, establish policy, review manuscripts and draft the publications budget. The Board is comprised of a group of highly respected scholars and writers, and will function primarily as a resource group to assist the Director of Publications in whatever way possible, insuring that the OHS may take its rightful place at the global forefront of English-language publications on the organ.

Some of the many exciting projects currently under consideration include: an opus list series, organ company histories and builder biographies, monographs dedicated to the publication of research on specific organ-related subject matter; and an Instrument Documentation Series. In addition, a series of American Organ Archives facsimile editions, which will reproduce some of the extraordinary holdings found in our Archives-the largest such collection in the world-is being planned. It is our hope that this exciting new series will include elegant builder catalogs, periodicals, monographs, collections of photographs and other related ephemera. We are even discussing the desirability of a translation series to bring some of the most important documents ever written on the organ within the grasp of the English-speaking reader.

As I began to write this opinion piece, full of pride in our accomplishment and hope for our future direction, the importance of our endeavors came crashing down on me on the evening of Tuesday 18 January. …

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