- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 25 January 2017
- Written by DANIELLE SCHIPANI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Springsteen Reveals Partnership With University
The University has been named the official archival center for Bruce Springsteen’s works and memorabilia with plans to launch the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music.
The announcement was made during an event on campus “A Conversation with Bruce Springsteen” where the artist came to the University to speak with students, faculty, and fans about his life and works in Pollak Theatre on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
“I am extremely excited about the partnership. The opportunity to enhance academic programming while also attracting widespread interest from a global audience does not happen often for any academic institution, of any size,” said President Paul Brown, Ph.D.
This will benefit students and faculty, and make the University a destination for scholars studying American music. “As an incredibly popular figure, Mr. Springsteen’s influence extends far beyond scholarship, and we hope to serve his many fans with access to material and programming that only will be available at Monmouth University,” said Brown.
The partnership will benefit the music industry program that the University offers. “Partnering with Bruce Springsteen strengthens our foundation as an arts leader and arts business academy, and supports our ability to further route Monmouth University as an arts and cultural center,” said Joseph Rapolla, Chair of the Music & Theater Arts Department. “I look forward to working with the University team to advance its development, making this a reality for our students, alumni and community,” Rapolla continued.
“It’s very exciting that Bruce is now associated with Monmouth. Not only for the fans like myself, but it’s a great way to gain exposure for the University and to put Monmouth on the map,” said Joey Affatato, senior music industry student. “As a fan, it’s really amazing to be going to a school that now has a great affiliation with Bruce. He’s one of the greatest songwriters of our time and makes me proud to go to a great school like Monmouth,” he continued.
The Springsteen partnership also benefits students outside the music industry major. Professor Melissa Ziobro’s Fall 2016 Intro to Public History class had the opportunity to do some work with the collection. “The class spent the semester learning about the wide variety of work done by public historians — historians ‘outside the classroom’ — through lecture, video content, case studies, and special projects. Some of these special projects involved the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection and Archive,” explained Ziobro.
For example, the class conducted and students then transcribed and summarized oral histories done with individuals like NJ Surfing Hall of Famer Carl “Tinker” West, “voice of the Stone Pony” Lee Mrowicki, and Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame drummer Vini Lopez. This semester, Ziobro’s NJ History class will be using the archive to find source material for their research papers.
The process took about two years and was largely due to the University’s affiliation with the GRAMMY Museum. Bob Santelli, the Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum and an alumnus and former faculty member at Monmouth University, was responsible for arranging the connection between Monmouth and Springsteen’s management. He organized a meeting with President Brown and Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau. He also brought Springsteen to campus last spring semester.
Santelli explained how having the archives on campus allows students to engage in research on Springsteen and American music. “Music industry students and those interested in music in general, the archives is a resource, one that is virtually nowhere else,” he said.
The University is one of nine universities associated with the GRAMMY Museum and has been an affiliate for about 40 years. “This Bruce Springsteen partnership would not have happened if Monmouth had not been a GRAMMY Museum affiliate,” said Santelli.
In the past the Museum put together a concert at the White House and education programs created with former first lady, Michelle Obama. The Museum helps students establish connections and internships as well.
Santelli hopes that in the near future there will be a class based on Springsteen’s music and life which he hopes to teach. “Springsteen as a course is now essential to the curriculum whether I am teaching it or someone else is teaching it, it should become a great course offered by the University regularly.”
Brown explained that as of now, students and scholars can view the current collection of about 35,000 items by appointment and that as the collection takes clearer definition, the University will continue to develop options for the best way to offer public access and location of the archives.
The University looks to continue to incorporate the materials from the Archives and Center into upcoming events, and looks forward to expanding events as the collection comes into clearer focus.
One future event includes the University’s Tuesday Night Record Club events where on Apr. 25s they will discuss Springsteen’s album “Nebraska.”
PHOTOS COURTESY of Danny Clinch