Source of Acquisition
Biographical / Historical
Language of Material:
Archive of Recorded Sound
Title: Fidelity Sound Recordings Collection
Identifier/Call Number: ARS.0212
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
Fidelity Sound Recordings Collection, ARS-0212. Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound,
Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA.
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)
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
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
Sound recording industry -- United States