The Sounds of Motown Are Alive and Well at the Detroit Sound Conservancy

By: Scott Davis | March 25, 2019

Detroit Sound Conservancy exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum. Photo by Gary North.

All Metro Detroiters know the rich heritage that exists in Detroit. From the auto industry, to the food, and of course, the music, there are many people around the great city of Detroit working hard to preserve that proud heritage.

The people from Detroit Sound Conservancy, located in the heart of Detroit, are a part of that movement.The non-profit organization aims to preserve Detroit’s musical legacies through outreach, preservation, education, and innovation. They also display a vast collection of important Detroit artifacts including the Blue Bird Inn stage, the Club Heaven sound system, and numerous pieces from the Graystone International Jazz Museum.

The Detroit Sound Conservancy has been preserving these artifacts since writer, archivist and Detroit historian Carleton Gholz began the organization in 2012. Their collection ranges all genres from soul, to country, to gospel, to hip-hop and rock. These artifacts tell Detroiters where the city has been and how it has gotten where it is today.

Projects Coordinator Jonah Raduns-Silverstein said that one of their main goals is to focus on things that are at risk of being lost forever.

“We really want to focus on stories that are not being told and things that are community driven,” Raduns-Silverstein said.

The conservancy is currently running their Salvaging Sound community gallery that will run through Sunday, April 7. The exhibition documents the vision of the conversancy throughout artifacts, storytelling, photographs, and more. It is a great opportunity to not only learn about what Detroit Sound Conservancy does, but what their plans for the future include, which is to create a Detroit Sound Hall of Fame and further preserve Detroit’s history.

Detroit Sound Conservancy recently made an attempt to purchase Detroit’s historic jazz club, the Blue Bird Inn. The deal is still being finalized, but the goal is to remodel and update the building to engage the surrounding community with such an important landmark.

Blue Bird Inn Detroit Sound Conservancy

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Sound Conservancy

“We really wanted to bring music back to that location and neighborhood. Detroit used to have walkable live music venues all over the city, and the Blue Bird Inn was a vital part of that,” Raduns-Silverstein. “It’s such a historic jazz club and an incredibly important space in the community.”

The Detroit Sound Conservancy has plenty of noteworthy projects and events coming up in 2019. They are preparing the next generation of sound activists with their Preservation Factory, attempting to restore Club Heaven in Detroit, and hopefully securing the Blue Bird Inn on the West Side.

You can become more involved with the Detroit Sound Conservancy by going to their website and finding ways to get involved with everything they have going on. The conversancy also posts updates on events and happenings on their Facebook page.