by Max Marbut
You won’t see shelves of books in the building when you attend a performance by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra at the T-U Center, but if you go to the Main Library’s 3 West Room, you’ll find the orchestra’s entire 2006-07 season.
For the past several years, Reference Librarian Ed Lein has combed through the library’s collection to create a display that mirrors the symphony’s selections from the first performance to the last. He said his annual display not only promotes the symphony’s season, it also highlights the library’s collection.
“This year’s display is the largest I’ve ever done. It contains more than 100 CDs, DVDs and scores,” said Lein.
“We have a huge classical CD collection and a large opera collection on DVD here at the Main Library. The symphony lets me know what they are going to be performing each season so if we don’t already have it, I’m able to order it for the collection. Some of the biggest borrowers are the symphony players themselves. They like to hear the music they are going to play before they begin rehearsing the piece.”
Lein earned a master’s degree in music at Florida State University. He got a job as a student assistant in the campus library and has worked in the library system ever since.
He attends the JSO’s Masterworks and Discovery series and has been writing choral music for 20 years. Last year, Lein composed a symphony and got to be in the audience when his creation was performed by the JSO.
“This past fall the symphony played something I wrote, which was pretty exciting,” he said. “It was part of their Fresh Ink Series for Florida composers.”
In addition to the extensive collection of classical music, the Main Library also has a 400-seat performance space for music, theater and puppet shows.
“With the auditorium, we can give the people who want to hear the music what they want and the people who want a quiet place to study what they want at the same time,” said Lein.
The Orange Park Chorale will perform music by local composers in the auditorium at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 16, followed by the First Coast Clarinet Society’s Sounds of the Season Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. The concerts are free and open to the public.