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Celebrating 50 years of the Stanford Mendicants at the Archive of Recorded Sound

Ahead of their 50th anniversary show this Saturday (October 26th) at the Bing Concert Hall, I am very pleased to announce the successful recent completion of a 6 month project aimed at archiving and digitally preserving the Stanford Mendicants' complete recorded output between 1964-2012.

As the story goes, The Mendicants, Stanford's first a cappella group, were founded in 1963 by a transfer student from Yale by the name of Hank Adams.  Since then, the 9-12 singers (depending on the year) have devoted themselves to arranging, performing, and recording popular songs of both the present day and the past.

Since 1963, the Mendicants have released a total of 28 albums, the last of which, Sh-Boom, was released in 2012. Following a successful initial call to all Mendicants, both past and present, the Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) was able to obtain copies of all of these albums, including a number that had never been played and were therefore in pristine condition. In addition to these albums, which were published either on LP or compact disc, the Archive also managed to obtain a few unpublished items, notably radio broadcasts, originally on Digital Audio Tape (DAT), including a radio commercial from 1993 advertising Stanford Hoops, and a rendition of Star Spangled Banner, which was possibly recorded as an audition to send to the San Francisco Giants in late 1991 / early 1992 according to a former Mendicant.

Once these recordings had been successfully accessioned into the Archive's collections, staff at the ARS along with colleagues at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) worked to digitize all of these recordings, including all original artwork and liner notes. Resulting files will be accessioned in to the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) in due course for long term preservation.  

Particular thanks must go to Nathan Coy and Geoff Willard from SMPL for their diligent work on this project, especially in the midst of the lab's recent move to a new facility in Redwood City. For further information about the Mendicants project, see a recent blog post by Nathan Coy which highlights the vitally important relationship between ARS and SMPL.

Congratulations to the Stanford Mendicants on their 50th anniversary and we look forward to preserving future releases from the group in the future here at the Archive. 

Comments

On behalf of all the Stanford Mendicants, both past and present, I'd like to again express my appreciation to the Stanford Library of Recorded Sound and especially Jonathan Manton's very willing and professional assistance. Many of we Mendicant alumni had been growing increasingly concerned that our entire body of recordings was very haphazardly located in the hands of a number of us who are, would you believe it, actually aging. This work will ensure it is available for future generations of Mendicants, their friends and family, and of course anyone else interested in the history of student life at Stanford. Well done, all!

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