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Fidelity Sound Recordings Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Source of Acquisition
  • Cite as
  • Content Description
  • Restrictions
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Archive of Recorded Sound
    Title: Fidelity Sound Recordings Collection
    source: McGovern, Janet
    Identifier/Call Number: ARS.0212
    Physical Description: 10 box(es) 6 linear feet: (148)12" vinyl disc(s); (57) audiocassette(s); (39) compact disc(s); (10) 10" vinyl disc(s); (5) photograph(s); (3) 7" vinyl disc(s); (1) audiocassette (8-track); (1) 10" shellac disc
    Date (inclusive): 1950-2000


    Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive of Recorded Sound for assistance.

    Source of Acquisition

    The Fidelity Sound Recordings Collection was donated to the Archive of Recorded Sound by Janet McGovern in 2020. She is the widow of Fidelity Sound Recordings founder and director Reg McGovern.

    Cite as

    Fidelity Sound Recordings Collection, ARS-0212. Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA.

    Content Description

    This collection consists of commercially-released audio recordings created by the independent record company Fidelity Sound Recordings (FSR) based in Redwood City, California. The predominant musical genre featured is marching band music performed by university bands, bands affiliated with the Salvation Army, and miscellaneous ensembles in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and elsewhere. Notable performing groups include the Ohio State Marching Band, the National Band of New Zealand, the Salvation Army Wellington Citadel Band, the Jugendmusikkorps Bad Kissingen, and others.


    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head Librarian, Archive of Recorded Sound, Braun Music Center, Stanford, California 94305. Consent is given on behalf of the Archive of Recorded Sound as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns.


    Items within the collection are organized in alphabetical order by performer name, followed by publisher issue number and title as it appears. Specific recordings with more than one performer, ensemble, or performing group are filed under the series 'Combined Performers'. They are organized by publisher issue number, followed by title and a note indicating the performers included on the recording unless indicated in the title proper.

    Biographical / Historical

    Reg McGovern (1920-2015) had a 36-year career as a newspaper photographer in Redwood City and Palo Alto, and he received many journalism awards for his photography. He had a second, concurrent creative career as the owner of Fidelity Sound Recordings, which specialized in the kind of band music he had loved from his boyhood. McGovern played in the band at Sequoia High School in his Redwood City hometown and, as a teenager, would dial the radio knob searching for band music.
    McGovern served on a Coast Guard ship in the South Pacific during World War II and, after his return, he found it increasingly difficult to find records to add to his collection. In the early 1950s, he decided to tackle this deficiency himself and formed Fidelity Sound Recordings. He acquired recording equipment, taught himself how to capture marching or concert bands on tape, and how to produce records, most often taking his own photographs for the album covers. He began with local college bands but soon went back to New Zealand and Australia, returning dozens of times over the next decades to record bands, including the National Band of New Zealand and the New Zealand Army Band. In later years, he recorded bands in the United Kingdom and in Europe, including the Band of H.M. Royal Marines and the City Band of Vienna, as well as military, village and youth bands in Germany and other countries.
    McGovern had a particular love of brass bands, and his company had a long association with the Salvation Army in the United States and abroad, capturing world-class groups on audio tape. Fidelity Sound Recordings enjoyed an equally warm and productive relationship with the Ohio State University Marching Band, producing the all-brass band's first commercial recording in 1958, the first of about two dozen over four decades. In 2005, his contribution to the band was recognized when he received an honorary life membership in the TBDBITL Alumni Club (The Best Damned Band in the Land) before an audience of 13,000 at St. John Arena in Columbus.
    McGovern's drive and passion for music resulted in a wide-ranging catalogue of U.S. and international recordings, from Big Ten marching bands to Maori choirs, and he enabled musical groups to reach a wider audience. He carved out an underserved niche in the recording industry and preserved the music he loved in various formats from 10-inch records to LPs, 8-track tape, cassettes and CDs, a prodigious output for someone working full-time as a news photographer.
    Reg McGovern was the son of one of San Mateo County's early sheriffs. His younger brother, Lloyd McGovern, was a Stanford graduate known for his knowledge of college sports who was instrumental in establishing the university's Sports Hall of Fame.
    Biographical note written by Janet McGovern.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Marching bands
    Sound recording industry -- United States
    Band music.
    McGovern, Janet