Finding Aid for Shirley Meyer Blankenship Music and Papers, 1950-2009 | The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

By Inka Alasade, Justin Carver, Ilona Matkovszki, Eleanor Tewksbury, Noah Lenstra

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Collection Overview

Title: Shirley Meyer Blankenship Music and Papers, 1950-2009Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: 12/5/53

Primary Creator: Blankenship, Shirley (1938-)

Extent: 9.5 cubic feet

Arrangement: Organized into four series: Series 1, Music Performance and Summer Camp Scrapbooks, 1950-1982; Series 2, Audio Recordings, 1953-2009; Series 3, Sunshine Dinner Playhouse Theatre Production Photographs, 1995-1997; and Series 4, Guido Sinclair Music and Papers, 1958-2005.

Date Acquired: 12/04/2009

Subjects: Compositions-Music, Harps, Jazz, Music, School of, Theatrical Productions

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Consists of scrapbooks, reel-to-reel audio tapes, CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, sheet music, photographs, correspondence, posters and concert programs documenting Dr. Shirley Meyer Blankenship's career as a music student at the University of Illinois, a harpist, violinist, pianist, composer, theater performer, private music instructor, and University of Illinois School of Music faculty member between 1972 and 1981. Of special note are original compositions based on the music of her former husband and jazz musician, Guido Sinclair (1935-1992), as well as graphic illustrations, concert posters, jazz recordings, and Sinclair's original compositions. The Music and Papers were partially digitized by Dr. Blankenship prior to being acquired by the University of Illinois. A small but selected sample of images and recordings are included online.

Biographical Note

Shirley Meyer Blankenship is a music educator, composer, pianist, harpist, and violinist. She was born in Quincy, Illinois, in 1938 and graduated from the Notre Dame Conservatory of Music (Quincy, IL) in 1955 and Quincy Senior High School in 1956.  She was awarded the title Miss Quincy. She received a BM in piano performance with a minor in violin from the University of Illinois in 1961. She continued her training in piano performance at Washington University in St. Louis receiving a Master of Music in 1966. She then returned to the University of Illinois to begin a Master of Music Theory degree and taught Music Theory as a graduate teaching assistant. She earned her second graduate degree in 1969 and eventually taught harp and music theory at the University of Illinois between 1972 and 1981. In 1977, she became the first woman to receive a Doctorate degree in music composition from the University of Illinois. During her teaching career, Dr. Blankenship has been an instructor of harp, piano, violin, viola, composition, music theory and other subjects at the University level. Her appointments include: Washington University in St. Louis; MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois; Quincy College; Lindenwood Colleges in St. Charles, Missouri; Hardin (formerly Jefferson) Junior High, St. Charles, Missouri; Olivet Nazarene University, Kankakee; and the University of Illinois. As a violinist, Dr. Blankenship has performed with the Quincy Symphony, University of Illinois Symphony and also with the Springfield, Kankakee and Danville Symphonies. She has been the harpist for the Decatur Symphony and is currently the principal harpist with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, in which she has participated as a violinist, violist and keyboardist as well. Her theatrical career includes being the music director, accompanist and/or actress for productions at the University of Illinois, Little Theater Company and Champaign, Illinois' Sunshine Dinner Playhouse. Dr. Blankenship has contributed her performance skills to the advancement of contemporary and new music, especially for the harp. As a student at the University of Illinois, she was a member of The Contemporary Chamber Players and has been a consultant to numerous composers. Dr. Blankenship has performed and/or composed under the names of Sherilee Niles, Shirley Meyer, Shirley Ann Blankenship, Anne Jazzmin, and Gianne Sinclair. Currently, as of Fall 2010, Dr. Blankenship is writing her autobiography, Polarities.

Subject/Index Terms

Compositions-Music
Harps
Jazz
Music, School of
Theatrical Productions

Administrative Information

Repository: The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Acquisition Source: Dr. Shirley Meyer Blankenship

Acquisition Method: Gift


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Papers],
[Series 2: Audio Recordings 1953-2009],
[Series 3: Sunshine Dinner Playhouse Theatre Production Photographs, 1995-1997],
[Series 4: Guido Sinclair Music and Papers, 1958-2005],
[All]

Series 4: Guido Sinclair Music and Papers, 1958-2005Add to your cart.
Consists of newspaper clippings, audio recordings, graphic illistrations, concert posters, and Horace Tapscott's book, Songs of the Unsung: The Musical Journey of Horace Tapscott, which includes multiple references to Sinclair.  The music and papers document a portion of Sinclair's career as a jazz muscian while living in Champaign, Illinois.  Also included in this series are Blankenship's original compositions based on Sinclair's music.  The papers, sheet music, and audio recordings are organized by material type and then arranged chronologically therein.
Box 13Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Concert Posters, 1985-1994Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Newspaper Articles, Caricature, and Illustrations, 1987-1993Add to your cart.
Box 12Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Guido Sinclair Recordings Documentation, 1979-1992Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Guido Sinclair's Song Titles and Explanations, ca. 1992Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Saint Sinclair's Synerjazz: The Music of Guido Sinclair, 1992Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Songs of the Unsung: The Musical Journey of Horace Tapscott,  by Horace Tapscott, 2001Add to your cart.
Includes multiple references to Guido Sinclair.
Folder 5: Transcriptions and Original Compositions Based on the Music of Guido Sinclair, by Shirley Blankenship, 1993Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Jazz Violin: Solos Based on the Music of Guido Sinclair, by Shirley Blankenship, 1993Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Jazz Violin Based on the Music of Guido Sinclair, by Shirley Blankenship, 1993Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Guido Sinclair Compositions as PDF and Finale Files, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Audio Recordings: Everybody Digs Bill Evans and Variety in Motion with Guido Sinclair, 1958 and 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Audio Recordings: Guido Sinclair with John Dahlstead and Dahlstead Pogo Studios, 1988-1990Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Audio Recordings: Guido Sinclair Ads, Radio Shows, and LivePerformances, ca. 1992Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Audio Recordings: Be Truthful with the Standard Time Quartet and Champaign Underground: Stories to Tell, 1996 and 1999Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Audio Recordings: Demo #4 with Jethro Cole Jr., 07/09/2005Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Audio Recordings: Guido Sinclair Performances with Happy Blues Band and Radio Shows, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Audio Recordings: Guido Sinclair's Live Performances at Nature's Table, undatedAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Papers],
[Series 2: Audio Recordings 1953-2009],
[Series 3: Sunshine Dinner Playhouse Theatre Production Photographs, 1995-1997],
[Series 4: Guido Sinclair Music and Papers, 1958-2005],
[All]

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