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Collection Number: 20476

Collection Title: Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 800 items)
Abstract Velma Rooke was raised in Jacksonville, Fla., but spent her adulthood as a professional musician, music educator, and music therapist in New York, N.Y. Rooke studied at The Julliard School and Columbia University. From approximately 1933 until 1956, Rooke was first chair trombonist, relief pianist, and arranger for Phil Spitalny's Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra. After the orchestra disbanded in 1956, Rooke became first trombonist for the Great Neck Philharmonic Orchestra. She also worked as a music therapist at the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center (CARC), commonly known as the Music Therapy Center from its inception in 1960 until the early 1980s. Rooke also conducted music therapy and lessons at various New York locations, including the veterans affairs hospital in the Bronx, the Reece School for Emotionally Disturbed Children, and the Turtle Bay Music School. The collection documents Velma Rooke's career as a musician, music educator, and music therapist. There are scores, including manuscript arrangements for the Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra; sheet music; song lyrics; personal notes and drafts; concert programs; brochures and newsletters from Rooke's workplaces; clippings; a few letters; photographs; and other materials.
Creator Rooke, Velma.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Velma Rooke Papers #20476, Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received by the Music Library from Michael Tiemann in March 2012. Transferred to the Southern Folklife Collection in September 2012 (Acc. 101659).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Born in Alabama and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., Velma Rooke spent her adulthood as a professional musician, music educator, and music therapist in New York, N.Y. Rooke was a voice student of mezzo-soprano Mina Hager; she also studied at The Julliard School and Columbia University. From approximately 1933 until 1956, Rooke was first chair trombonist, relief pianist, and arranger for Phil Spitalny's Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra. After the orchestra disbanded in 1956, Rooke became first trombonist for the Great Neck Philharmonic Orchestra. She also worked as a music therapist at the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center (CARC), commonly known as the Music Therapy Center from its inception in 1960 until the early 1980s; the CARC acronym came into common usage in the late 1980s and persisted until the center's closing in 1995. Rooke also conducted music therapy and lessons at various New York locations, including the Veterans Affairs Hospital in the Bronx, the Reece School for Emotionally Disturbed Children, and the Turtle Bay Music School.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection documents Velma Rooke's career as a musician, music educator, and music therapist. There are scores, including manuscript arrangements for the Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra; sheet music; song lyrics; personal notes and drafts; concert programs; brochures and newsletters from Rooke's workplaces; clippings; a few letters; photographs; and other materials.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992.

800 items.

Arrangement: Alphabetical.

Folder 1

Calendar, 1969 #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 1

With notations by Velma Rooke.

Folder 2

Concert programs, 1949-1965 #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 2

Folder 3

Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra, 1942-1988 and undated #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 3

Publicity materials and clippings with related news, including the obituary of Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra bandleader Phil Spitalny, 12 October 1970. There is also a letter, 9 February 1988, from Frances Scharett to Velma Rook's sister, Christine Howell, describing her life since leaving the Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra.

Image Folder PF-20476/1

Photographs: Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra, circa 1942-1955 #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." PF-20476/1

Professional photographs of the orchestra and individual portraits of Velma Rooke.

Folder 4-5

Song lyrics, 1956-1961 #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 4-5

Index and lyrics for 100 popular and traditional songs, revised each year, for use during music therapy in hospitals. Distributed by the American Red Cross, New York Chapter-Hospital and Recreation Services.

Folder 6-8

Music therapy, 1956-1969, 1991-1992, and undated #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 6-8

Materials chiefly relate to Velma Rooke's work with the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center (CARC) including drafts and notes regarding the logistics of music therapy in hospitals; drafts of letters, including a request for registration as a music therapist; proposals for music therapy programs at specific schools and hospitals, including Reece School; speeches educating about and advocating for music therapy; definitions and purpose of music therapy; and publications, articles, and clippings about music therapy.

Folder 9

New York Singing Teachers Association newsletter and membership list, 1965, 1979 #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 9

Folder 10-11

Personal notebooks, undated #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 10-11

Chiefly song lyrics, chords, and other notes; also includes a draft of "The Brownstone Saga."

Folder 12-14

Scores, undated #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 12-14

Chiefly manuscript arrangements, including trombone orchestral excerpts and other arrangements and transpositions, for teaching purposes. There is also a small amount of sheet music, song lyrics, and other materials.

Folder 15

Scores: Arrangement for Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra, undated #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 15

Manuscript arrangements for the Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra.

Folder 16

Turtle Bay Music School, 1955-1969 and undated #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 16

Chiefly annual brochures and newsletters; also includes three letters, 1957-1958 to Velma Rooke from the Turtle Bay Music School administrators, expressing thanks and providing information.

Folder 17

Veterans Affairs Hospital, Bronx, N.Y., 1957-1970 and undated #20476, Series: "Velma Rooke Papers, 1942-1992." Folder 17

Thank you letters, newsletters, music service programs, and other materials relating to Velma Rooke's volunteer work with the daily patient music instruction program at the hospital.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Sara Mannheimer, October 2012

Encoded by: Sara Mannheimer, October 2012

Preliminary arrangement by Diane Steinhaus, 2012

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