WGN Radio Station Studio Orchestra Music Library and Records, 1925-1956
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Brief Description: Consists of scripts, programs, production notes, correspondence, music library rental records, sheet music manuscripts, and music scores with annotations that document the WGN Studio Symphonic Orchestra from the 1925 to 1956. Of special note are the music scores, parts, production notes and scripts of the "Theatre of the Air," which include orchestral works and orchestrations to accompany vocal works (many in special arrangements by Rosario Bourdon and others, with reduced instrumentation suitable for theater or salon ensembles). Also of interest are the scripts from the University of Chicago's series called "The Human Adventure."
Held at:
The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
236 Harding Band Building
1103 South 6th Street
Champaign, IL 61820 6223
Phone: 217-244-93093
Fax: 217-244-8695
Email: schwrtzs [at] illinois.edu
Record Series Number: 12/9/114
Created by: WGN Studio Orchestra
Volume: 32.0 cubic feet
Acquired: 00/00/1957.
Arrangement: The collection is organized into five series: Series 1, Marion Claire correspondence, 1940-1950, arranged chronologically; Series 2, Tams-Witmark Music Library rental records, 1940-1950, arranged chronologically; Series 3, Theatre of the Air, 1940-1950, which is arranged into 4 sub-series according to format (Sub-Series 1, Scripts; Sub-Series 2, Manuscript Vocal parts; Sub-Series 3, Orchestral parts; and Sub-Series 4, Full scores and over-sized parts) and then arranged by accession number; Series 4) Scripts and Programs, arranged in rough chronological order; and Series 5) WGN Music Library, arranged by accession number. Accession numbers were either established by the WGN library staff or by UIUC Music Librarian Jay Alien in conjunction with his cataloging project of the early 1960s.
Biographical Note for WGN Studio Orchestra : The Chicago-based WGN radio station began its life in 1923 as WJAZ, a small Zenith-owned station broadcasting out of the "Crystal Room" studio in the Edgewater Beach Hotel. In 1924, the Chicago Tribune, under Col. Robert R. McCormick, assumed control of the station and gave it the call letter WGN (for World's Greatest Newspaper). That same year, WGN took over station WDAP, assuming control of its programs, as well as its studio. WGN provided its listeners with local and world news, live broadcasts of political and sporting events, and many music and theatrical programs. In the early days of radio, live music was an integral part of the listening experience. "The Theatre of the Air", which ran from 1940-1956, was produced before a live studio audience and broadcast across the country via the Mutual Broadcasting System. In 1943 "Theatre of the Air" moved to the Medinah Temple, where 3,000-4,000 people could watch the famous singer Marion Claire perform with the WGN Studio Orchestra. Col. Robert R. McCormick would often lend his voice to the program, speaking on historic topics like the Revolutionary War. The WGN Studio Orchestra also played for other programs, such the University of Chicago's "The Human Adventure Series," and music-drama presentations like operettas and musicals. The WGN Studio Orchestra developed an extensive music library to support these productions. Although radio broadcasts of live musical productions may be a thing of the past, WGN still operates at frequency of 720 kHz, and has since 1927.
Subject Index
Radio and music--Illinois--Chicago
Radio station -- WGN
Genres/Forms of Material
Sheet music
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Acquisition Notes: WGN Radio Station  Gift originally given to the Music Library and then later transferred to the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music in 2012.