|SEPTEMBER 27, 2010 --
The National Grange Digital Songbook CD-ROM is a new approach to traditional hard-bound songbooks. The disc contains MP3 audio instrumental music files of over 100 songs commonly used in Grange meetings, programs and ritual.
Today, many Granges either do not have a pianist, or do not have a piano or keyboard available for live music at their meetings. This CD-ROM was created as an alternative to traditional live piano music, containing accurate electronic piano representations of the music found in "The Grange Songbook." The music on the disc is in a common usable format for MP3 Players (such as iPods, Zunes and smart phones), MP3 compatible CD players, and computers. The Digital Grange Songbook is intended to be a companion piece and used along side of the hard-bound songbook.
Each musical piece was created, exactly as printed, from “The Grange Songbook” (1983), by permission of The National Grange. Robert Charbonneau, a member of Meriden Grange No. 29 in Connecticut, had the original idea for converting the music to a digital format, and then creating the CD-ROM.
"I started several years ago compiling some of the music for specific special events during the year, but my inspiration was when the National Grange President, Ed Luttrell challenged members in Connecticut to step forward and do something unique for the Grange," Charbonneau said. “That’s when I proposed the idea to the National Grange, once approved I created the remaining MP3 music.”
Using special music notation computer software made to digitize sheet music, Charbonneau took on the arduous task of inputting each song into a digital format, note by note, tagging each file with its appropriate copyright information, and creating the final instrumental high-quality MP3 files. The final disc contains over 100 Grange and seasonal favorites, such as "It's A Good Thing To Be A Granger," "Be Faithful, O Patron," "Count Your Blessings," "Deck the Halls," and "The Washington Post March."
The artwork for the Digital Grange Songbook was designed and created by Terri Fassio, a member of Winchester Grange No. 74 in Connecticut.
For more than 137 years, the National Grange has published music for use during Grange meetings, ritual, and special events. It started with “Songs for the Grange,” compiled in 1873 by Caroline A. Hall, the first Ceres of the National Grange. The most recent hard-bound book is “The Grange Song Book” which was published in 1983.
Out of researching the copyrights and history of the various pieces of Grange music arose a side project of creating a historical matrix of all Grange music published. This involved obtaining copies of all previous Grange music publications, and creating an in-depth comparison between them. The results of this undertaking were included on the Digital Grange Songbook CD-ROM as a PDF File.
"In compiling the music history, it became an educational exercise to determine how the Grange music evolved, and also becomes an important source of information for the National Grange," said Charbonneau.
It is the hope that the Digital Grange Songbook will become an indispensable resource for today’s Granges. The Digital Grange Songbook CD-ROM is compatible on both Windows PC and Macintosh OS X platforms, and is also compatible for use in most traditional CD players that can play MP3 files. It is available for purchase at a cost of $12.00 through the National Grange store at