Dr. Peter Archer Visits Queens College Libraries 

On April 12, the Queens College Libraries hosted Dr. Peter Archer for an on-campus visit. We are happy to announce that Dr. Archer is organizing his personal papers for donation to the archives, including research documents, photographs, and mementos from his lengthy career as a musician, educator, and academic.  

Dr. Archer is widely known as the real NYC music teacher who inspired Disney-Pixar’s ‘Soul’.  As explained by the Daily News

Peter Archer, a band teacher for more than 30 years at Middle School 74 in Bayside, Queens, served as a consultant on the movie, which has Jamie Foxx voicing Joe Gardner, a middle-aged teacher and musician. Archer, 58, helped pinpoint everything from the aesthetic of a middle school band classroom to the emotional tug of balancing a passion for music and a love of teaching. 

Here at Queens College, Dr. Archer is known as an alum with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance and a Master of Science degree in Music Education. While working on his doctorate for Boston University, Archer also spent many long days at the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library archives conducting research for his dissertation, The History of The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College: 1938-2010, which is available in the Music Library’s reference collection.  

Dr. Archer’s papers will join the collections of other prestigious ACSM faculty and alumni, including K. Robert Schwarz, Karol Rathaus, and Leo Kraft. We are thrilled that Dr. Archer is willing to add his own papers to our growing repository of valuable research materials! 


Archer, P. A. (2014). The history of The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College: 1938-2010.
Michael Elsen-Rooney. (2020, December 31). Queens music teacher added heart and expertise to Pixar’s ‘Soul.’ New York Daily News. https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-queens-middle-school-teacher-pixar-soul-20201231-ncoh6ojaz5gjbgjpkka2f5zvoy-story.html
Sandy Kenyon. (2021, January 13). Meet the real New York City music teacher who inspired Disney-Pixar’s “Soul.” ABC7 New York. https://abc7ny.com/peter-archer-real-life-soul-teacher-from-disney-and-pixar/9589572/

Culture Watch: Halloween Update!

All weekend there are virtual games with Brooklyn Virtual Game Night. Charades, trivia, and costumes. Tickets are free but there are limited spots each night.

Friday, October 29 at 9:15pm: Rock band My Morning Jacket will be streaming their live performance from The Alabama Theatre.

Saturday, October 30 from 12-5pm: Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria hosts a doggie costume contest, as well as pumpkin carving and catapulting! Workshops lead up to the Flight of the Gourds at 2pm.

Saturday, October 30 from 6pm: The Queens Night Market season finale is going to be a Halloween themed blast! Just outside the New York Hall of Science in Corona Park, there will be trick or treating and costume prizes for children starting at 8:30. Entry and entertainment are free but the food vendors there have everything you can imagine, and all about $6 or less. I went for the first time this year, and was disappointed I hadn’t visited sooner!

Sunday, October 31 from 7pm: The Village Halloween Parade is back in Greenwich this year! This year’s theme is “Let’s Play!” It honors children as well as everyone’s inner child. The parade rolls out at 7.

Hello and Happy Autumn! Queen College is starting to buzz and that includes some exciting events from the Kupferberg Center and other departments. All listed events are free and most events are virtual, but there are some in-person options this month! Check back in later this month for some Halloween events!


Sunday, October 10 at 3:00pm: Borough President Richards presents rock band Hollis Brown as part of Queens Live! This rock band was formed by Queens College alumni from Queens. Presented in part with the Kupferberg Center for the Arts, this in person event is free! Fort Totten Park, Cross Island Pkwy between Totten Ave and 15 Rd. 

Monday, October 11 at 8:00pm: Trombone Shorty is hosting Shorty Fest from the legendary New Orleans venue, Tipitinas. Other acts include Galactic and Soul Rebels. New Orleans brass at its best from its home! You can livestream it for free!

Friday, October 15 at 7:30pm: The Queens College Orchestra will be livestreaming their concert from Leshrak Concert Hall in the Aaron Copland School of Music. The program includes Gounod’s Petit Symphonie and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6.


Tuesday, October 12 at 7:00pm: Join in the conversation with award-winning author and NPR journalist Maria Hinojosa. This is a Hispanic Heritage Month event organized in collaboration with the Latin American and Latino Studies program at Queens College and presented by the Kupferberg Center. This event will be livestreamed and tickets are free. You will have the option to get a Support the Arts Ticket.


Ongoing: Archtober is New York City’s yearly celebration of architecture and its profound impact on our lives. Most virtual talks are free which you can filter to on their events page.

Music Library Exhibit adds Performance Focus

A new addition to the Music Library’s Online Exhibit launches today, Monday, May 3rd. The new piece of the exhibit focuses on performers, who are often less remembered than composers and theorists in classical music. The exhibit includes a piece from Aaron Copland School of Music faculty Dr. Davis, who has been researching America’s female fiddlers and sharing their stories and art via her Instagram: Fair Lady Fiddlers. It also includes a look at an iconic venue in New York City and its struggle to diversify the stage.

The Music Library Online Exhibit is one part of the Music Library’s ongoing goal to encourage musicians to expand their repertoires.

To stay up to date with our new exhibits be sure to follow the Music Library’s social media page(s).

Queens College Music Library has Launched Online Exhibits

By Michael Deering

The Queens College Music Library is excited to launch their new Online Exhibit, today, March 22, 2021! The exhibit is one part of the Music Library’s goal to broaden repertoire selections. To this end, the exhibit features the musical contributions of composers, performers, and researchers from underrepresented communities. It also features work and stories from the Aaron Copland School of Music community. 

This exhibit will be updated each month with a new focus. For March, we are focusing on a few amazing women in music, including Dr. Samantha Ege who will be livestreaming a lecture in partnership with ACSM on March 24th at 2 PM. It will be aired live and will remain available on Youtube.

To stay up to date with our new exhibits be sure to follow the Music Library’s social media page(s).

Culture Watch: QC Library Recommends (Nov. 2020)

by Michael Deering

Do you fight with family for the best parts of the turkey or is it all about the sides? Even if you cannot be with the whole family this year, we wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving! If you’re anything like me, you run from holiday music that starts too early. So here are a bunch of events that you won’t avoid!


  • Ongoing through December 4: William Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing recorded in 2019 at Shakespeare in the Park. Available as part of PBS Great Performances. 
  • Ongoing through December 4: Alfred Molina with Alfred Enoch star in Red, John Logan’s award winning play about painter Mark Rothko. Also from PBS, this was filmed in 2018 at the Wyndham’s Theatre in London. 


  • Tuesday, November 17 at 4 PM: Alex Conde performs, as part of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts’ Music Makers series. Drawing on the rich traditions of jazz and flamenco, he creates a contemporary fusion of both genres. 
  • Saturday, November 21 at 3 PM: The Kupferberg Center for the Arts presents “The Jazz Queens of Queens,” a program for youth and families about female jazz legends who’ve called Queens home. Vocalist and curator Claudia Zanes explores the lives and music of Eva Taylor, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lena Horne.  
  • Ongoing: Fridays at 8:00PM through November: The Beacon Jams, streamed live from the historic NYC venue, features a variety of performances and audience interaction. Hosted by guitarist Trey Anastasio.



  • Sunday, November 22 at 7:30PM: Lincoln Center presents New York is Burning performed by Les Ballet Afrik. This is an homage celebrating the 30th anniversary of the documentary Paris is Burning. It reflects the aspirations, desires and yearnings of a diverse group of dancers for which the dance company serves as a surrogate family during yet another period where health, race, and financial crises continue to brew.


  • Thursday, November 26 at 9 AM: The 93rd annual Macy’s Day Parade will be airing on TV and at NBC.com with a rebroadcast later at 2 PM. While it won’t follow it’s usual route through NYC, I will still be watching my favorite balloons, floats, and live performers in my pajamas.
  • Thursday, November 26 at 7 PM: Give thanks to nurses across the globe with Oprah Winfrey as she hosts Nurse Heroes Live! Performances from Black Eyed Peas, Andrea Bocelli, and Gloria Estefan just to name a few! 

The Music Library Today

Dr. Jennifer Oates, Head of the Music Library, and Michael Deering, an Aaron Copland School of Music graduate and a non-teaching adjunct in the Music Library, recently interviewed each other to provide a nuanced picture of working in the Music Library during the pandemic. Along with the challenges, they also discussed some of their outreach and collaborations with other departments, the Music Library’s ongoing support for students and faculty, and their hopes for the future. Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Mike’s Questions for Jenn

How long have you worked at the QC Music Library?

I just started my seventeenth year as Head of the Music Library here.

You were on sabbatical when the pandemic began: what was it like stepping back in with our physical spaces closed and all of these new considerations?

Very strange! While on sabbatical, I read work emails, so I had a general idea of what was happening on campus. Coming back to work, my top priority was finding ways to help maintain a high level of service and support to our faculty and students. The Music Library crew did a fantastic job while I was out. I wanted to build on that, support our crew, and see how I could help in Rosenthal Library as well.

Since we don’t have access to our physical materials, we’ve all had to be flexible in our roles. Have any of your prior responsibilities carried into this semester? How about new considerations?

My responsibilities remain the same, but how I fulfill them has changed. I still do in-class library instruction for music courses and offer reference consultations, both via Zoom. I am pleased that students seem to be emailing with questions, which I hope continues. I have also been creating new research guides geared towards particular fields or classes, including one for Music Education and another for writing program notes.  

I am doing more at Rosenthal Library, including virtual reference. I have also been asked to lead a User Experience (UX) Team, which I’m excited about. We’ll be looking at how our patrons use the library and look for ways to streamline and improve experiences. 

I love that our Music Library crew has been eager to help out wherever possible. They’ve been updating manuals and internal guides for the Music Library and helping out with projects in Rosenthal Library, including testing the reservation system and working on microfilm/fiche projects.

As for new considerations, I had previously focused on buying physical books and scores, something I am reconsidering now. I am thinking about how to engage with students virtually. Doing screen shares on Zoom for instruction and reference consultations has been really useful and is something I want to offer even when we’re back on campus. 

What are your hopes and goals for the music library, looking at this semester and beyond?

I’ve always thought of the Music Library as the intellectual hub of the Aaron Copland School of Music. I hope that continues, and I hope we can find ways to incorporate more virtual tools and resources into our offerings. Working with classes and students via Zoom has been fun, but what other ways might we incorporate digital services into our offerings? Currently, those who reach out to me knew me from before or I have visited their class. I want to find ways to connect with those who may not know who I am or what the Music Library has to offer.

Rethinking how we support faculty is also important. During the pandemic, we’ve been focused on students and classes, but I also want to make sure our faculty have what they need for research. 

Jenn’s Questions for Mike 

How long have you been at QC? 

I started as a master’s student in 2016 and I worked in the music office my first year. Once I graduated I took another post in the office before moving to the Music Library this January.

What’s it been like working at QC during the pandemic?

It was a rushed transition for everyone, but as things settled I was glad to see a lot of possibilities to increase our accessibility, and new opportunities to get involved with different projects.

What is working well for you?

I enjoy being flexible and working in capacities I might not have otherwise. This includes helping faculty prepare for their classes through my my work with The Center for Teaching and Learning. CTL is a hub for faculty support. Throughout this shift towards virtual education, they have been very busy and I’m glad to be in their drop-in hours to help as much as possible. Working with the library’s communications department, I get to be active on social media and handle projects like this where I get to discuss our experiences during this time and share stories with our community. I’m currently working on a related story with a staff member from the Kupferberg Center for the Arts. One of my favorite projects has been Culture Watch, which is a monthly roundup of free live streamed events to enjoy from your home. 

What is challenging for you?

The most challenging thing has been staying on a good sleep schedule. I am a night owl and without always having to be somewhere in the mornings I tend to stay up a bit later than I probably should.

How do you hope your current work will impact the future of the library and the music school?  

While no one wants to be in a pandemic, it has pushed individuals, teams, and institutions in unique directions that can have some positive lasting effects. I’m hopeful that we can continue to serve our patrons and even improve our accessibility by developing more digital services.

For more on the Music Library, check out our homepage and follow us on social media!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QCmusiclibrary
Instagram: @qcmusiclibrary 
Twitter: @QCMusicLibrary

Arts Venues Adapt: A conversation with Kupferberg Center’s Julia del Palacio

by Michael Deering

Throughout the pandemic, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with individuals all around Queens College about their experiences working through the pandemic. I recently spoke with Julia del Palacio, of QC’s Kupferberg Center for the Arts. It was interesting to hear about the Center’s transition to virtual events, and to hear about Julia’s personal transition to remote work.

MD: Hi Julia, thank you for doing this! To start out, what is your title and how long have you worked at Kupferberg Center for the Arts?

JD: It’s my pleasure! My title is Director of Strategic Partnership and Development, and I’ve been at Kupferberg Center for six years.

MD: Before COVID, what was your average workday or workweek like?

JD: I would leave home at around 8:15 with coffee in hand, make it into the office at around 9, and check in with Kupferberg Center’s Executive Director and AVP of Governmental and External Affairs for the College, Jeff Rosenstock. We would chat about the day, approaching deadlines, the news, and anything else related to what we do. The morning would go quickly and then I’d have lunch with my colleagues Liza and Maria, or at my desk. I’d attend meetings in Colden Auditorium, the Student Union, Rosenthal Library, or the Godwin-Ternbach Museum. I would move around the campus quite a bit, actually. That went on until 5 and then I’d either stay for an on-campus event or go home. 

MD: How has this changed as a result of the pandemic? What does a typical remote work day look like for you?

JD: These days I check in with Jeff from my desk at home, drink my coffee there. I usually also have my lunch at the desk as well as all my meetings. I’m not moving around as much or seeing as many people. It’s a little sad, come to think of it.

MD: I’m glad you reached out about Kupferberg’s virtual programs as they are a perfect fit for our Culture Watch blog posts about virtual cultural events. Was Kupferberg streaming events before the pandemic? How did these programs come into being?

JD: Kupferberg Center was not streaming virtually before the pandemic. We present a large variety of events both on and off campus, so we never saw the need to stream, since we were already reaching a large and diverse audience, and let’s face it, people weren’t watching whole concerts online as much. Once it became clear that we wouldn’t be able to open our theaters for many months, we started putting our online programming together. It took a little while, but we are now very much up and running. We presented a widely successful summer concert series and are now excited for our fall season, which started with the kick-off concert for our Music Makers: An Alumni Concert Series, featuring graduates from the Aaron Copland School of Music. Going forward, we will have visual arts, literature, family programming, and theater events most weeks.

MD: It’s great that Kupferberg is using resources from Queens College for a lot of these programs. The Godwin-Ternbach Museum and alumni from the Aaron Copland School of Music for example. How do you go about selecting artists to present these programs?

JD: We have incredible talent and resources on our campus, for sure. The Godwin-Ternbach Museum is directed by Maria Pio and Louise Weinberg, who do all the curatorial and programming work. Since the Museum is part of the Kupferberg Center umbrella, we’re happy to be co-presenting their new exhibition, “Human Nature: Portraits from the Permanent Collection” and some of the programming that will accompany it. Maria, Louise, and President Wu will actually be chatting about the exhibition online via Kupferberg Center’s social media on September 29 at 7pm. In terms of the alumni series, a lot of the work was done via recommendations from other graduates and ACSM’s faculty. We’re excited to have chosen a diverse roster that features alums Sofia Tosello, Jan Kus, Alex Conde, and Alberto Jimenez with their respective ensembles. 

MD: Beyond entertainment, are there any messages or goals that the Kupferberg Center is hoping to share with its audiences through programming?

JD: We hope that the programming that we’re offering gives audiences a much-needed respite from the constant flow of (not-so-good) news and the daily grind of home offices and distant learning. Our message is one of collaboration, diversity, and celebration of our Queens community and the myriad cultures that come together in our borough and New York City.

MD: I want to thank you again for reaching out and for taking the time to speak with me! For my last question: Do you have any favorite virtual events that either already occurred or is upcoming?

JD: All of our events have been and will be fantastic! If you twist my arm, however, I’d highly recommend Nixtaband and Claudia Valentina from our summer concerts (which can be watched on our YouTube channel), and the Alex Conde flamenco piano concert of November 17. We will have programming pretty much every single week, so check out our calendar at www.kupferbergcenter.org and join us!