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The University of Maryland Madrigal Singers was a collegiate musical group that performed madrigals, a vocal choral Renaissance song form, from 1958-1974, giving concerts locally, on national broadcasting networks, at the White House, and internationally. UMD Libraries staff recently worked across departments and with a vendor to digitize the 153 sound recordings (on open reel tape and audiocassettes) in the records of the Madrigal Singers, and have made them available in the UMD Digital Collections. For this special audiovisual issue of Provenance, I have produced an audio story about the Madrigal Singers' State Department sponsored goodwill tour: "Their success as a musical group reached its pinnacle in 1964 when they participated in a U.S. Cultural Presentations Program tour sponsored by the State Department. For fourteen weeks from February to May, the Madrigal Singers performed over ninety concerts in eleven countries in the Near East, North Africa, and the British Isles." There are a dozen digitally transferred and preserved recordings originally made in six foreign countries from that time that represent the young UMD students expressing themselves in this archaic musical tradition. In the story, I have included choice samples from recordings made in Greece, Iraq, and Lebanon, and I have interviewed the UMD Libraries' Curator of Special Collections in Performing Arts to discuss this particular tour and the overall importance of the Madrigal Singers collection. I hope you enjoying learning about this interesting student group and its unique political and artistic contribution in the mid-twentieth century.


Eric Cartier is the Digital Librarian in the Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting Department at the University of Maryland, College Park Libraries. Since October 2012, he has managed daily operations in the Hornbake Digitization Center, where digitization assistants create and inspect digital surrogates of paper-based and photographic materials, as well as sound recordings in many formats. Eric previously worked as an audio preservation technician at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, where he earned his Masters of Science in Information Studies from the University of Texas, and where he played drums in The Banned Books. He currently serves as the Chair of the Society of American Archivists Recorded Sound Roundtable.

UniversityOfMarylandMadrigalSingers1964Tour.mp3 (42499 kB)
University of Maryland Madrigal Singers 1964 Tour

umd_transcript_publish.pdf (110 kB)
University of Maryland Madrigal Singers 1964 Tour Transcript