Heritage, 2009, Volume 3 Page: 28
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
co 1iluelld ft'om page 23
"The (Sophienburg) museum is fortunate that the radio
station understands the value of these recordings and
plays them as a public service to the community."
persuasion to get folks behind the microphone because
they don't think that they have anything worthwhile to
say. She continues, "Once they're in the studio, though,
they start reminiscing, and could, in fact, record more
than one tape."
To date the Sophienburg has recorded 2,077 oral inter-
views. "We try to tape two to four a month. While we have
focused on talking to those who've been around for awhile,
we have recently begun to include younger voices of those
who have played an important role in our community."
Though there are many entities conducting oral interviews
in Texas, often those recordings sit in the back rooms of dusty
archives, listened to only by the occasional researcher or fam-
ily member. The Sophienburg, however, brings their program
to the public. Every Sunday morning at 9 a.m., KGNB plays
the interviews on the air, and they've been doing so since
1976. Dietert says, "The museum is fortunate that the radio
station understands the value of these recordings and plays
them as a public service to the community." When new pro-
grams are not available, previously recorded ones are played as
an encore production, and those often coincide with special
events or holidays, such as someone speaking about long-ago
Christmas traditions or Easter memories. Future plans are to
include some of the programs on the Sophienburg website
Saving the Voices
Austin bills itself as the "Live Music Capital of the World,"
so it is fitting that the Texas Music Museum would be housed
there. The all-volunteer organization is still evolving, but one
of its programs-the oral history project-has been in place
for more than 20 years.
According to TMM President Clay Shorkey, the special
mission of the museum is to find and acquire material related
to Texas musicians who have made a significant contribution
to the state's musical legacy but who have not received ap-
"As we started to research different areas of Texas music,
we could clearly see that there were many talented people
who had gone unrecognized." As a case in point, Shorkey
notes that when TMM members studied conjunto music in
Texas, they discovered Bruno Villarreal. He was a blind accor-
dionist who created some of the first recordings of this music
genre in the 1930s. "We were
TEXso lucky to find Villarreal still
.TEX living in a nursing home in
t- Robstown, outside of Corpus
Christi. Several of our mem-
bers drove there one weekend
to hear his story firsthand. We
were very fortunate to find him
in time, since this Texas music
legend has now passed away."
Villarreal is not the only
neglected Tejano and con-
junto music artist, notes Shorkey. "No one paid attention
to these musicians, and female singers in particular were
ignored." He tells the story of Armando Marroquin, who
started one of the first Mexican-American recording stu-
dios in the state. Marroquin married Carmen Hernandez,
who was part of a duet with her sister Laura. "We were not
able to talk with Armando, who died in 1990, but we have
recorded a session with Carmen, and then in 1994 we were
able to talk with her sister."
Though the organization has done a great amount of re-
search on Tejano music, there are other genres, including coun-
try, jazz, and blues that are also represented in the TMM collec-
tion. To date, the Texas Music Museum has recorded more than
175 interviews, though few of them have been transcribed. "We
do use the information in museum exhibits, but our goal is to
have all of the recordings transcribed, archived and on a data-
base, and available to the public," said Shorkey.
While music is the main focus of the discussions with these
artists, Shorkey notes that the group is preserving more than
just the recollections and words of these unrecognized mu-
sicians. "When we conduct these interviews, we always ask
if they have any photographs to share. Many are reluctant
to provide their images, as they've lost some that were not
returned. For years now, we've traveled with a camera and
a copy stand that allows us to shoot copies of their pictures
on-site so that there is no chance of loss or damage to the
originals. By doing this, TMM has accumulated a wonder-
ful collection of rare photographs documenting music-and
To learn more about the Texas Music Museum, see www.
texasmusicmuseum.org, or call 512-472-8891.-Gene Krane
Above image is from a Texas Music Museum sheet music exhibit.
Courtesy of TMM.
HERITAGEM Volume 3 2009
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2009, Volume 3, periodical, 2009; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254214/m1/28/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.