Someone JUST sent me this from back in June. Thought I'd share if you hadn't
Problem is that- based on this article - folks are going to want to donate
their copies of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Damn Yankees" to the Library of
Record-Eagle com 06/09/2006
A little something extra from the extra
Man donates his renowned library of recordings
BY BOB DARROW
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Just a portion of David Hummel’s huge recording collection is pictured here.
TRAVERSE CITY — If walls could talk, David Hummel's would sing show tunes.
If walls could breathe, they'd gasp for air in Hummel's Traverse City home,
where the rooms are lined with shelves jammed with a vast collection of
American musicals performed during the last half-century.
Six thousand record albums. Thirty-five hundred compact discs. Five thousand
tapes, on both reel and cassette.
Hundreds of reference books, including one Hummel authored himself. Thousands
of playbills from Broadway shows.
"I had to have everything show-related," said Hummel, a former recording
engineer and consultant who recently decided to give it all away.
By Tuesday afternoon, it'll all be gone, donated to the Library of Congress —
from recordings of hits like "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Damn Yankees," to
obscure flops like the Gene Kelly-produced "Clownaround," that sit amid
stacks that wrap around corners and into bedrooms.
It's simply not enough to call Hummel a collector or hobbyist. It's more of a
way of life for someone who acted as an extra in musical productions in the
1950s. So keen is his passion that a curator at America's official library
calls him a "highly-recognized expert."
Musical composer Stephen Sondheim, whose credits include classics like "West
Side Story" and "Sweeney Todd," characterized Hummel's recordings collection
as "perhaps the most complete and accurate catalog of the American musical
theater currently, or perhaps ever, in existence."
Hummel never had his musical cache appraised. He intended to donate the
recordings to the Library of Congress upon his death, but recently moved up the
"I just decided I'd like to see it happen," Hummel, 71, said. "I'm not really
listening to it that much anymore."
On Tuesday Denoyer Brothers Moving & Storage will come to Hummel's home,
carefully box his thousands of recordings and send them to a Washington, D.C.
From there, the collection eventually will make its way to the Library of
Congress' new state-of-the-art National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in
Culpeper, Va. The records will be digitized so researchers can listen to them
Not only did the Library of Congress accept Hummel's donation — now
officially referred to as the "David G. Hummel American Musical Theatre Collection" —
the staff is excited to have it, said Librarian of Congress James
Billington, who in a letter thanked Hummel on behalf of the nation.
It's not often the library receives so complete a collection from an expert
in his field, said Mary Bucknum, the library's sound-recording curator.
"Mr. Hummel's collection is quite spectacular," Bucknum said. "He's giving us
many unique pieces we didn't already have."
Of particular value is Hummel's collection of bootleg recordings of Broadway
performances, often made by someone with a tape recorder in the first row.
Many of those recordings are the lone copies in existence; some composers asked
Hummel to send them copies of shows even they don't possess.
Hummel owns nearly every LP related to musical comedy ever produced, and
amassed the collection sifting through mom-and-pop record stores around the
state and nation.
"Back in the day, going through the bins was so much fun. It was amazing the
stuff you would find," he said. "Winning a bid on eBay just doesn't
Hummel lost interest in collecting as Broadway began to cater to more
serious, elaborate productions.
"The fun went out of it," he said.
But there is one current Broadway hit he'd like to see: "The Drowsy
Chaperone," an old-fashioned comedy about a die-hard musical fan and his record
That one, Hummel said, sounds right up his alley.