opening of the new Priscilla Evans Early Music
Library on November 8, 2002, at the Conservatory
on Chebucto Road represents a milestone in
musical life of Halifax. Access to increasingly
expensive music scores and parts is one of the
major limiting factors of any music making. In the
past, Halifax amateur musicians largely depended
on privately owned material. After Priscilla
Evans' death, her executors were willing to
entrust her large music collection to the EMS. But
where could it find a home?
took a lot of time and effort. In the spring of
2002 EMS President Brian Start approached the NS
Conservatory's Ifan Williams. We were assigned the
use of a small room adjacent to the recital hall.
Our library is to be managed with minimal
involvement of Conservatory secretarial staff.
EMS library committee and volunteers met every
week in the summer of 2002 to work on the project.
Before we could move into "our" room, it
needed emptying. This involved removing existing
shelves plus contents belonging to the
Conservatory - those old LP records are amazingly
heavy - and reassembling them in identical order
three sets of stairs away. No small feat in the
August heat! With both new and recycled material,
Brian then built our shelving in record time.
an empty classroom people were meanwhile sorting
and classifying Priscilla's huge stacks of music
in banker's boxes under the able direction of
"chief librarian" Judy MacLean.
the instrument is often unspecified in early
music, the box label is usually based on the
number of players (as in "quintets"); in
special cases the label features the instrument
(as in "recorder plus guitar"). Within
each box, scores are arranged in alphabetical
order by composer. As a final touch, a plaque was
ordered for the library wall to commemorate
Priscilla Evans and her role in the musical
community. The library is for the use of EMS
members and Conservatory staff.
borrower contributes to the smooth running of the
system to a much greater degree than is usual in
libraries open to the general public. Please see
borrowing instructions. Congratulations to EMS on
this achievement! We are indeed lucky to have
generous colleagues and members with library
background, carpentry talents, muscles, and
persistence as well as musical skills.