Anyone who knows me would not be surprised that I’m honorary librarian for a charitable trust looking after an historical collection of Scottish music in Dundee. The Wighton Collection belongs to the City of Dundee and resides in the public library – but the Friends of Wighton support and promote the collection. In recent years we’ve also acquired the late Scottish accordionist Jimmy Shand’s music collection. I have to be honest and admit that it really is the perfect charity for me to be involved with! Not only do I have the Scottish music and librarianship expertise, but I also started my music librarianship career in a public library, and it feels right that I should be giving something back to the public sector, even if I’ve subsequently spent 31 years in an academic library. And I totally agree with the aims of the charity in promoting classes in traditional Scottish musical instruments, even if I am not involved with that side of things. (It’s in Dundee – I can only go over there on occasional Saturdays, even for the bibliographical work I do voluntarily. Going across weekly wouldn’t be feasible, really.)
I was happy to come back from today’s visit – which included enjoying hearing a friend playing at one of the Cappuccino Concerts this morning – knowing that I’ve got a quantity of music listed and boxed up with instructions for a bindery to transform them from rather tired old scores into smart cloth-bound volumes. They represent some of Jimmy Shand’s repertoire, and although people today can be rather dismissive about early to mid twentieth century “Scottish” songs, they are nonetheless a link in the chain of our history, and as such, worthy of preservation. Strangely enough, some of the material I’ve handled today was by BIG Scottish music publishers (in their day), but on cheap paper, mass-produced, and despite that, rarely surviving in today’s libraries. I like to think we’re doing a good thing in attempting to preserve them!
(Image is my own accordion, not Shand’s. But he’s partially to blame for my recent acqusition in any case!)