This chain of events over the last two days will illustrate the
difference in approach to band organ maintenance between a traditional
family-owned amusement park like Knoebels or Seabreeze and a corporate
park like the ones operated by Cedar Fair. It is, I think, timely and
apropos of Mikey Mills' lament in the 13.06.23 MMD, "Restore North
America's Carousel Organs."
Sunday night, a little after nine p.m., I was in bed when I got a phone
call from Seabreeze Park that the band organ was down and that I should
come in as soon as possible to look at it. Monday morning, just 12
hours later, I went in and checked with management to learn that the
organ wasn't switching rolls from one tracker frame to the other, so
they had shut down the ride just before park closing Sunday.
My examination showed a worn gear in the gear train that wouldn't
engage with its mate when maximum torque was needed to accomplish the
linkage changeover: the gearing simply stalled, slipped, and chattered.
A call then went out to the park's electrician, Terry Furlong. He and
his assistant did enough dismantling of the roll frame to remove the
gears that were causing the problem.
In the meantime, knowing that we wouldn't have real band organ music
when the carousel opened for business at 11 a.m. that day, and that the
organ would probably be down for the rest of Monday too, the computer
tech department set up a CD player and loudspeaker system to provide
recorded band organ music -- better than nothing.
I went home for the rest of Monday while Dean Shorey, the park's head
mechanic, found a usable gear from salvage parts of the old band organ
and machined it to work on the new organ. This morning, Tuesday, at
8:30 a.m., I got a phone call to come down to the park and get the
organ ready to play at the 11 a.m. opening, because it was fixed.
Total down time: one day. Number of people involved in the fix: six or
seven. Why? Purely because a carousel with an operating band organ is
part of the Seabreeze tradition.
Irondequoit, New York
[ Matthew looks after the replica Wurlitzer band organ, built by
[ Johnny Verbeeck, that makes the music for the carousel at Seabreeze
[ Amusement Park in Rochester, New York, visit http://seabreeze.com/
[ A recent article tells about his work as the park archivist, see
[ -- Robbie