The Norwegian-American Dance Music of the Upper Midwest
LeRoy Larson–musician, composer, musicologist/ethnomusicologist, folklorist, educator, and record producer–passed away in Minnesota on December 25, 2020 at the age of 81. He chose to donate his trove of Scandinavian folk music and related materials–including photographs, interviews, field recordings, and hundreds of 78 rpm records to U.W. Madison. As a result the LeRoy Larson Collection . This collection is now part of Local Centers/Global Sounds: Historic Recordings and Midwestern Musical Vernaculars, a project undertaken by Mills Music Library and the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, along with many other partners at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to present a growing collection of unique, historic, regional, and endangered sound recordings with related documentation.
Nathan Gibson is the Audio-Visual Preservation Archivist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s General Library System. He holds a B.F.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Folklore and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University. He is an affiliate of the German, Nordic, and Slavic department, a Morgride Fellow (working to build equitable, mutually-beneficial campus-community partnerships), runs the audio preservation studio at the Mills Music Library, and works with Anna Rue and Marcus Cederström on the “Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts in the Upper Midwest” project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We are delighted to have Nathan tell us more about the LeRoy Larson and this special collection which encompasses his life's work.