BACKGROUNDER DRAFT: From Gregg ...
The Society for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2008 by Dick Robinson, a key player in the radio industry for nearly 50 years. Dick founded the organization in response to what he saw as the degradation of music and the general unavailability of the American Standards from our past in today’s society.
"Many seniors can’t find the wonderful music from their pasts that was popular during the greatest moments of their lives, such as their first date, first concert, wedding, and many more. We don’t want today’s foul-mouthed and misogynistic music to be the soundtrack for our children’s special memories while the incredible music from our past simply slips away. We want to foster the more wholesome traditions and values represented by the era of the Great American Songbook."
The Great American Songbook refers to the golden era of American songwriting which took place from roughly the 1920s to the 1960s. This time of uniquely American popular music, also known as “American Standards,” was an essential part of Broadway theatre and Hollywood musicals. Devotees of the Great American Songbook feel that the musical and lyrical sophistication its songs remains unequaled to this day.
This page will give you an overview of the project that is The Society for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook. There are many factors, including the simple passage of time, that threaten to obliterate this valuable page of Americana — neglect should not be one of them.
This grassroots initiative has the very simple objective of not only physically preserving the music itself, but to foster an understanding — or an appreciation, for lack of any better words — of this valuable genre.
In this day and age, there is no excuse for not assembling an infrastructure to insure that people worldwide, and for generations to come, understand the contribution The Great American Songbook has made to history the musical arts.
Some GAS Challenges:
- On Preservation ... Ranging from archives of sheet music, vinyl records and even film, these historical artifacts must be physically preserved for the benefit of generations to come.
There are many challenges The Society faces in preserving the music itself, including physical and digital long-term storage.
- Education ... Without a concentrated effort, the knowledge-base of GAS will simply disappear. From the simple melodies of the genre to the sophisticated orchestrations of some of history's best artists, this music was an important part of the soundtrack of the century.
In these days of shrinking school budgets and declining resources, the chances of the intricacies of GAS are destined to be lost. The Society and its many supporters -- including so many of the form's living artists -- are willing to share their insight toward the eventual creation of a sophisticated curriculum. With the realities of today's educational terrain, this may be a major portion of all the music education students in the future may be exposed to.
It certainly would be unfortunate if today's pop music, was in time, allowed to disintegrate into music's classic-standard due to lack of documentation
It is a goal of The Society to support the creation of a curriculum for use by educators nationwide, or even worldwide.
- Recognition ... The history of rock and roll is well documented thanks to many benefactors. There are many stars and immortal icons who have contributed to America's Standards.
- Distribution ... The music lives on, thanks in part to many radio stations that devote themselves to programming GAS music, on either a full or part-time basis. Sadly, as time goes on, market pressures force many of these station to shift programming to other, more mainstream formats.
The Society has made a commitment to provide continuous source of the GAS standards, both digitally over the Internet, and via syndicated special programs delivered at no cost (thanks to underwriters) to radio and television stations that would not otherwise have the resources to develop, original programming of the same quality.
Dick Robinson currently hosts American Standards by the Sea and a companion television program that continues to bring the classic GAS music, performed by the original artists, as well as modern-day performers such as Rod Stewart, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow and other's who have embraced this timeless catalog.
Thanks for exploring, and thanks for your support of, The Great American Songbook.
This is a meaningful initiative, worthy of serious thought.
SPGAS is supported by a number of credible entities. It could, at once, be fun and meaningful.
Thanks for looking.