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How to recycle used music

As a community choir director who requires members to buy their own music, I get this kind of request a lot from members who are retiring (or just moving):

We're working on right-sizing our stuff including a lot of choral scores.  It seems a shame to trash all this printed music when someone might be able to use some of it.  Is there any group or organization that might serve as a facilitator to take our scores, process them and send them to folks who could use them? 

It's a mix of large masterworks and octavos. Most choirs aren't that interested in getting one or two copies of anything, but it would be a big pain to catalog all of it (some of these people have sung for decades) for dribbling it out one at a time. 


on August 17, 2015 3:31am
I agree it's a huge problem, and yet ‚ an opportunity.   Personally I spent years of frustrated searching and digging into not-so-deep pockets to pay for and accumulate a personal choral library.   This is the lot of aspiring choral conductors.  Further, some of the BEST choral music is constantly/permanently «out of print» and inaccessible unless one can find that one remaining decent copy.  [COPYRIGHT FANATICS please chill, and remember that «out of print» is tantamount to Restriction of Trade, and in this day of digital on-demand printing, «Out of Print» should be an anachronism!]  That said, «south of the border» you have thousands of schools, colleges, universities and conservatories, some of which at least must have surplus corners, computers, and perhaps even intelligent bodies — resources which could be put to work collecting, triaging, cataloguing and storing the valuable material — as we know only too well there's lots out there which SHOULD be used to start the wood stove in the morning!
Even small choirs now have access to economical database options, and one hopes that they are encouraged to maintain some sort of standardised list of their holdings which could be exported along with their surplus holdings. 
Here at home, the Nova Scotia Choral Federation has performed the role of conservator/lending library for some years but more by volunteer effort than digitally-supported efficiency.   Perhaps time for ALL of us in the Choral Music field to give serious cionsideration to a national [international?] effort to close this gap. 
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on August 17, 2015 3:17pm
Aug. 17 2015 
On "re-cycling" or re-circulating used choral octavo's, cantata's, and  larger works
Great question and opportunity to re-use choral music, esp. if not readily available.  I just brought up that same question to the Gentleman in Toledo who
has been listing the church's available works by title, edition, no. of copies and very, very low prices.
       I would think ACDA or one of the local "chapters" would be the ideal resource to collect and distribute siuch material.  Choral prices per copy has escalated 2-3 x what it was in 1970's-80's.  So there is a need for such a center.  I applau Nova Scotia Choral Fed. for carrying on their project of "loaning" out copies, and receiving them for that purpose.
    Many important works are out of print, difficult to find, or too high-priced for some groups that are searching for just what we're talking about.
    I would like to be of some help in this kind of project but it is way beyond me, or any church, college, or individual to shoulder trhe responsibility of such a lending-selling - collecting center individually.  ACDA is a logical venue, with their many regional chapters, perhaps with cooperation from similar organizations such as denominationally based music organizations, American Guild of Organists, national and local chapters, National Pastoral Musicians, and many more.
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on August 18, 2015 3:09am
If it's move it out or trash it, why not donate it to a college or university with a choral or church music (for religious pieces) program. It would not have to be sorted. New students who are just starting their choral libraries could be invited to look through what's there and help themselves to pieces they are interested in. 
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