Tuesday, June 24, 2014

{ABC Blogging} I is for Inspiring

Ben and Me

In an effort to be more consistent in my blogging, I decided to jump midstream into Marcy at Ben and Me's weekly Blogging Through the Alphabet link up. This week they are blogging about Letter I.


Anyone following me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest has probably seen all the posts I've been putting up about the Experiencing History Through Music books and CD's by Diana Waring. As part of the launch team, Diana has been sharing some of the wonderful back story to how this curriculum came about.

From Diana herself:
Sometime in the mid 1990s, the partnership that had produced "America," "Westward Ho!" and "Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder," decided that it was time to let a "real" publisher take over. So, we signed contracts with a company that was quite large in the homeschooling movement at the time. We were excited to have others taking over the day-to-day details, as I had moved from the Portland area to South Dakota, and this was going to make things so much easier for us all.

However, when this business went bankrupt in the late 1990s, something happened that was past my comprehension. I still don't know why, but when they declared bankruptcy they simply threw everything in the dumpster—including our masters. When I heard this, it utterly devastated me. These wonderful projects were gone, and to reproduce this again seemed too hard without the audio masters. Between having to start over from scratch with all of the images and graphic design and having no audio masters, I thought the entire project was gone forever.

People would ask us about them from time to time, as they had read about them, or heard of them, or had owned the original cassette tapes, but we always told them sadly, "I don't think they will ever come back into print."

Then, several years ago, Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse contacted me to see if we might have any remaining stock of this product. She had heard of a family who had gone through a fire and lost everything, and her company was trying to help them rebuild their lives. I guess that the mom specifically talked about these American folk music in history books/audios, and this prompted Gena's call to me.

I contacted the former partner who owned the recording studio to see if he, perchance, had somehow saved the audio files to digital. At the time, Tad was quite busy with other things, but he told me that he thought he might have saved a FEW songs. Since it didn't sound promising, I thought it was probably a dead end. And I was sad all over again. It seemed like such a waste of a really fun product, that families had thoroughly enjoyed for years!

And, of course, these were the first books I had ever written. . .

Why I tried again two years ago is a mystery to me. I just took the notion to contact Tad once more and ask if he had discovered whether or not he had saved any of the songs. This time, as we talked, Tad realized that there were possibly some ways he could "pull out" the recordings from the antiquated DAT machines. However, he was in the midst of some medical issues, and was not sure how much time he would have to devote to the project.

It took two years. And then, suddenly, I had an email in my inbox. The songs had ALL been digitally restored, remastered for CD, and were ready to go!! I could hardly believe my eyes. After fifteen years, these products were going to have a new life.

I can hardly describe what this means to me, personally. But, maybe I can share with you what happened a few months ago to illustrate. Our business phone rang one day, and a woman began excitedly talking to my husband. As he heard what she was saying, he suggested that I would like to hear her story directly. When I took the phone, this is what she said:

"Diana, I met you fourteen years ago at a convention. When I told you that our family absolutely LOVED 'Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder,' you told me what had happened when the publisher threw your masters away. You asked me to pray that somehow it would all be restored. . . And, I have been praying!! Each time I walked by the cassette tape, I was reminded to pray. . . for FOURTEEN years!!"

She went on to say that she had just read on social media that the products were coming back into print, and she was so excited to see that her prayers were finally being answered. Together, we shared a few tears and a few amazed words of joy at what was taking place before our very eyes.
I'm very happy to be part of the team that is helping to launch these remastered, updated editions of that product that was thought to be lost. I'm one of the moms who has seen the cassette tapes kicking around at used book sales, but didn't buy them because they were on cassette tapes.

Now having listened to many of the songs and read the stories that go with them, I'm so thankful that a new generation of children (and parents!) will once again enjoy Experiencing History Through Music.

A full review of the curriculum will be coming next week. And don't forget to enter the huge giveaway that is currently going on!

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