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And the Nominees Are

February 08, 2019 American Studies | School of Music | The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

NOI Grammys Inset

Two UMD-affiliated albums up for Grammys.

By Sala Levin ’10 | Maryland Today

Hugo Keesing, a retired adjunct professor of American studies, was hoping to find treasure he wasn’t even sure existed.

An expert on popular music in American society, he pored over four years’ worth of Billboard magazines, searching for song titles from 1950 to 1954 that referred to the Korean War. He scoured his own archives for photos of books and records. He spent a week in the warehouse of an obscure-record collector in Illinois, combing through some 50,000 records, crossing his fingers to find maybe 15 relevant songs in the cache.

Now, Keesing’s completed four-CD box set and book called "Battleground Korea: Songs and Sounds of America’s Forgotten War" have been nominated for best historical album at this Sunday’s Grammy Awards.

"It was a wonderful surprise when I heard that it was being nominated for a Grammy," said Keesing, who has donated at least 10,000 recordings, 3,000 pieces of sheet music and other memorabilia to the University Libraries. "It’s something I think that anyone who’s involved in music in any way can only hope for."

It’s one of two UMD-affiliated nods for music’s top honors: The university’s National Orchestral Institute is up for best orchestral performance for the album "Ruggles, Stucky & Harbison: Orchestral Works."

Read the complete feature on Maryland Today.