Since the early 20th century, records have captured the true sound of music. Even in the age of digital music and streaming services, vinyls are appreciated for their talent of intricately exposing every detail of a song’s sound.
National Vinyl Record Day is annually celebrated Aug. 12 as a way for keeping the appreciation alive for the origins of music-listening means. Though this is the one day per year that people can formally celebrate the lost art of vinyls, Paul Tescher celebrates vinyl records every day.
“If someone has only heard MP3s and then they hear a vinyl record, it’s like night and day,” Tescher said.
Tescher is an Athens resident who has been collecting vinyls since the 1960s. His collection ebbs and flows through his trades with friends, occasional sales and scours through thrift stores for new content. As of now, he estimates he has 2,500 records in his collection.
“I love all of them, but I’ve been looking at these things lately, and I’m thinking, ‘Even if I live to be 100, I could never listen to all these records,’“ Tescher said.
The majority of Tescher’s collection is made up of folk records and rock records, primarily from the mid-’60s and early ’70s. However, what he sells is a lot more diverse — classical, country, jazz and spoken word records, oddball records like yoga and polka. Tescher has sold records since the mid-’80s.
“I have developed a pretty good amount of savvy as to what’s what, regarding particular rock records and folk records,” Tescher said.
Tescher keeps most of his records in his bedroom cabinet, which he estimates has somewhere between 1,000 and 1,200 records. In his office, there’s another 500 or 600 records, and his basement holds another 500 or 600. In his garage, or what he calls his “record room,” he keeps all of his records for sale. He estimates that he has anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 records for sale — a collection totaling around 7,500 records.
One of his main sales comes from the Stuart’s Opera House Record Sale, which usually takes place twice per year. Groups of record vendors from around the state set up tables and sell records, CDs and other music-related items. Tescher has attended every installment of the sale, from when it took place in an old church to when it moved to the Stuart’s lobby.
Due to COVID-19, Stuart’s has been unable to plan a date for the record sale. So far, the staff is waiting to schedule more events until gathering restrictions are lifted.
Chloe Musick, marketing and public relations director for Stuart’s Opera House, believes the annual record sale is one of the best events Stuart’s hosts. She feels it’s a good way for people to revitalize their love of records or be introduced to a new form of listening to music.
“Record sales are a chance for people to come together and bond over things they enjoy,” Musick said in an email. “For some it's just a chance to get out of the house and for others, it's a chance to buy and sell some of their favorite pieces of music.”
Musick feels that vinyl records are not just popular among the older generations, but have made a comeback into younger generations as well. She believes it’s because of a couple reasons: one, the intention of putting on a vinyl record to appreciate the full project the artist has created; two, the fascination with antique items makes younger generations want to participate through listening to vinyls.
For Ryan Ruth, a junior studying engineering technologies and management, his vinyl record collection stemmed from his love of music and desire for a tangible form of it. He feels that in today’s mostly virtual society, it’s nice to have something in a physical form.
“My grandparents gave me many of their old vinyls, and I found this to be a hobby I enjoy,” Ruth said in an email. “When I am older, I will have the opportunity to look back at the music that I loved.”
Ruth, Musick and Tescher all believe that listening to vinyl records helps encourage artists to keep making great music and encourage fans to appreciate music in different mediums.
Tescher knows he will always be partial to vinyl records over any other medium of music — not only out of habit, but simply because of the exciting process of adding a record to his collection and enjoying the sound he feels can never be matched by another medium.
“The thing about record collecting that I find just endlessly interesting is going out and about, and you never know what might show up in front of you,” Tescher said.