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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Mailbag: “Uncle Walter Glinka”

September 7, 2012

Dear Michael,

Thank you for wonderful programming. I inherited a collection of Pipedreams program tapes from my uncle Walter Glinka who died in 1998. He was a fastidious person and documented the programs well and used the best recording casettes. The programms range from 1984 to the early 1990's I want to offer these to an organ studies program at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. A portion of the tapes are of programs not available on-line the last time I checked. Is there a copywrite problem with doing this? I can send a spreadsheet that documents the tapes in the collection.

Leonard Tarka

Dear Leonard,

Thanks for your note. It's fun to see how the PIPEDREAMS web spreads. :-)

The challenge of being a 30+ year-old program is that we have gone through several technology changes...the principal one being from analog tape to digital. We began our online accessibility somewhere in 1999/2000 (at which point the quality of the audio was pretty grim, but it was 'there'). Over time, the bit-rate of our online audio streams has improved, to the point where for the last several years the quality of sound online comes close to what most people hear through their radios.

We are struggling to upgrade all of the extand online audio to the best-quality level, and this process, though slow and time-consuming, will continue.

The bigger challenge is the large quantity of content from the years of your uncle Walter's cassettes. Those programs exist on 10" reels of analog tape. Some of that tape is of a type that has not weathered the passage of time well...its lubricity has diminished, and when played those tapes do not pass easily over the heads of the playback machines; they stick, and gum up and, worst possible, shed their oxide coating. It is possible to 'refresh' those tapes by baking them, and we have done this with some (you can see several programs from 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1987 that exist in our online archive).

But, as you can imagine, the time and labor needed to transfer all of that old analog archive into digital format is, to say the least, considerable, and the PIPEDREAMS budget simply cannot deal with it.

If you were to fund a full-time engineer to work on the project, we might be able to do much of it in a year, but the cost would be @$100,000.00 (I am guestimating…).

That is the challenge.

As for your collection, you can do with it whatever you wish. If the Victoria Conservatory is interested in having them, by all means hand them over. Perhaps some good use will come of them. I do note that the musical playlists of most of the early programs are, at least, viewable online, if not audible, which might be advantageous to the people at the Conservatory.




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