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  Written by
  Sharla A. Stewart

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The collecting mania



Collective efforts
Great scores

"I am a Collector (with a capital C) of Gilbert and Sullivan Memorabilia," writes J. Donald Smith, PhD'69. "It all started innocently enough 'a-many years ago' with records and a few books. But then I was introduced to ephemera"-to be precise, a set of 19th-century advertising trade cards with characters and images from HMS Pinafore. That was at a 1982 antique book fair in Boston, and Smith's shelf space has never been the same. Some 400 items are on display in his condominium, with thousands more in boxes "ready to be shown to any visitor at the slightest provocation." His favorites: several original letters of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Among the 1,000-plus original cast Broadway albums, Larry Drill gives his regard to these. Among the 1,000-plus original cast Broadway albums, Larry Drill gives his regard to these.

But even more valuable than the items amassed are the friends Smith has made through his hobby and with whom he corresponds over e-mail and visits while he travels. "At the moment," he wrote the Magazine in August, "I am at the eighth International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival [in Buxton, England] rehearsing with a group called Savoynet (the G&S e-mail discussion group) for a performance of Patience, which goes on stage next Monday (the men's chorus has a late call this morning which is why I have the time to reply.)"

Hum a chorus line or two from a musical on this side of the pond, and Larry Drill, AM'70, is likely to take up the tune-and switch on his turntable to play one of his 1,000-plus original-cast Broadway albums (recently expanded to include original London casts). An avid reader of Goldmine, a biweekly magazine for record collectors, Drill lacks a trifle few recordings. On his wish list are Two's Company (1953), Seventeen (1951), and By the Beautiful Sea (1954). Albums he couldn't live without: Golden Boy (1964), "best overture"; Subways Are for Sleeping (1961), "so New York!"; and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (1961), "great story and great score."

  OCTOBER 2001

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