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MMD > Archives > June 2003 > 2003.06.11 > 03Prev  Next

Ontario Beach Park Band Organ, Rochester, NY
By Don Stinson

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While it is the Stinson Band Organ Company's policy to not participate
in on-line controversy, it seems appropriate to join in discussions
that seem to be attracting so much attention and opinions with regard
to loudness of band organs.

During times past, preferred band organs were designed to be purposefully
loud to attract riders and guests to the carousel, or to any attraction
the instrument might be used in conjunction with.  When the Stinson
Band Organ Company was born, nearly 40 years ago, the company
subscribed to this trend for a time until we started to evaluate band
organ applications.  Recall, music rolls and books at the time had
limited registration which restricted many abilities.  During the early
days, Stinson designed and built many so called Piano Forte organs
which meant the instrument had only two volume levels, and limited
variation in voices.  These instruments were loud, and louder...

Today, Stinson band organ architecture and designs are dramatically
different from when the company started up.  Music is now arranged to
allow for the use of proper registration, and to pick and choose
different voices which were not available in the early North American
band organs.  Presently, when a Stinson music roll or MIDI tune within
Stinson's tune library is registered, a particular voice is used for
only a short time before changing to a different voice.

Ability to turn off every rank of pipes in the melody section, and
partial voices in the bass and counter melody, is incorporated.  On
some larger Stinson band organs, accompaniment voices can be added when
the organ is played in full voice.  These variations improve listening
quality of American and European arrangements that have been enhanced
by Stinson when they are played on a standard 75 note scale Stinson
Band Organ.

Utilization of Stinson's new MIDI operating systems has opened a whole
new field of operation, especially for commercial applications.  In
addition to eliminating opportunities for roll frame mechanical failures
to occur, plus negating opportunities for operators to mess with tempo
and such, redundancy of tunes (6 to 12 tunes per paper roll), which is
probably as annoying as loudness to carousel operators or those
situated within close proximity of a band organ for many hours, can be

MIDI music media (diskettes) can be loaded with up to 70 tunes (depending
upon the length of tunes to be played) and can be played in sequence,
randomly, or selectively.  Operators, riders, and guests alike can now
enjoy a much wider selection of the "Happiest Music On Earth" without
necessity and sometimes hassle to change paper rolls or books.
Stinson's MIDI library contains hundreds of enhanced tunes for 125,
150 and 165 formats.

Since 2001, new Stinson band organs incorporate a system monitoring
panel that illustrates wind pressure, vacuum, line voltage, DC voltage
for the MIDI device, and an hour meter, along with switches which
allows operators the ability to turn off partial voices to reduce
amplitude should this be desirable.  Larger Stinson band organs allow
for trumpets to be turned off with remaining voices carrying that
section.  Trombones, and forte pipes, can also be turned off with the
same effect.  As well, percussion can be diluted.

This ability can, in some ways, take away from the music, but when
dealing with indoor situations when carousel pavilions are not open to
the outside there is now an alternative available to facilitate both
employees and guests should it be desirable to reduce amplitude.  Swell
shutters continue to be incorporated as standard equipment within
Stinson's JB66M carousel band organs, and are an option on Stinson's
Style 87M fairground organ design.

Speaking specifically about the newly overhauled band organ at Ontario
Beach Park in Rochester, New York, a Stinson monitoring panel and
cut-out switches were added when this band organ was updated and the
Stinson MIDI operating system was incorporated.  It is not known if the
switches are being used, but then again, operators require management's
direction and guidance if abilities of new designs to resolve amplitude
problems are to be effective.

Before the Stinson Band Organ Company came to life, I worked within
some very loud environments to include machine shops and on the railroad.
Some of the noise was very bothersome to me, but I was astutely aware
it was my job, and the entrance door swung both ways if I complained.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could again return to this way of respect
whereby employers established direction, enforced same, and employees
worked by management's policies and directives or found themselves on
the outside looking for a new place to earn their daily living.

It is very disheartening to attempt your level best, and have situations
arise which we seem to be facing today.  Once an instrument leaves
Stinson's facilities it is out of our hands.  A bright spot illuminating
from the issue at hand has been to listen to opinions from you fine
people in the musical world.  It now seems, I am not suffering similar
frustrations alone.

In summary, The Stinson Band Organ Company is now building instruments
voiced at lower pressure, voicing pipes slightly softer, changing
voices every few bars of music, using smaller scale violin pipes, and
incorporating many other designs not mentioned within this writing,
all for the purpose of enhancing the listening pleasure of the general

Stinson continues to build loud band organs upon request since there
are applications whereby operators require higher amplitudes to
accomplish results these instruments were purchased to do.  An example
is outdoor applications at fairground front gates and midways where
ambient noise levels came be very high.

It should be noted, there will always be special applications where it
is sometimes wise to visit a location to check acoustics and settings
before a band organ is designed.  Stinson encourages buyers to solicit
professional opinions regarding what might be the best instrumentation
for a specific or unusual application and location.  Every Stinson band
organ is a custom origination.

I wish to thank with sincerity all the people who responded to the
situation at Ontario Beach Park.  Our pledge at the Stinson Band Organ
company is and will always be to build the finest instrument with the
proper volume level and pleasing voices for the buyer.  If interested
to learn more about Stinson Band Organs, please visit our web site, .  Call upon me at any time.

Donald Stinson
Stinson Band Organ Company

(Message sent Wed 11 Jun 2003, 10:19:58 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Band, Beach, NY, Ontario, Organ, Park, Rochester

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