Now that I have properly paid my respects to Mr. Blank, I’m headed to the James Branch Cabell Library to meet with Melissa Marrion, visit VCU’s Special Collections and check out the library’s music score collection.

In an earlier blog post about Allan Blank’s life, Melissa Marrion provided me with incredible insights into Allan Blank’s character. Today, she continued to amaze by telling me that Mr. Blank was incredibly private, serious and rarely smiled. His music was beautiful and his inspiration came from everywhere. Ms. Marrion told me that it was a revelation to discover Allan Blank was Jewish. His heritage never stopped him from creating music influenced by Christian texts. She spoke with me about Margot, his wife, being the social one of the couple. Told me about meeting his great nephew Samuel at Mr. Blank’s memorial and describing the young man as brilliant. Ms. Marrion also gave me the contact information to a VCU faculty member who worked closely with Allan Blank (more on that to come).

After our conversation, Ms. Marrion kindly escorted me to the Special Collections and Archives space (I probably would have gotten lost without her help…I already got lost once trying to find the library…)

The staff in the Special Collections and Archives are wonderful! (and definitely deserve raises after meeting me!) I came into the archives searching for any mention of Allan Blank: staff directories, music department faculty programs, anything. Not only did they track down all of the music department’s programs in the collection, they also took down my information so that they could look through the student newspapers for mentions of Allan Blank.

Truly, VCU’s librarians are superheroes!

Unfortunately, even librarians fail. The VCU collection of music department programs did not have the date range of Allan Blank’s tenure. I’m still hopeful that the student newspaper with provide some interesting articles about Mr. Blank and I still have eighteen more boxes to sort through once I get back to ODU.

Look what I found! Mention of Old Dominion University hiding in the Virginia Commonwealth University Archives.

While, I didn’t find exactly what I was searching for, the archives staff did point out that on the third floor of Cabell Libary is a collection of bound music scores.

Variations on Clarinet and Viola by Allan Blank

The third floor did not disappoint! Rows and rows were filled with bound scores written by faculty and other composers. Also, I may have gotten some dirty looks when I discovered a few of Allan Blank’s compositions…did I forget to mention that the third floor is a designated quite space? No, well then: Please remember readers, don’t kinda sorta exclaim “SWEET!!!” in a non-library voice when on the third floor of Cabell Library.

Now, I need to book it (hehe, see what I did there?) back to my car before parking enforcement gets me. See you at the next stop on our Richmond Road Trip!

 

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