Temecula Organ Rally 9905
Temecula CA Organ Rally
15-16 May 1999
text and photos by Robbie Rhodes
|Until recent years Temecula was a sleepy village on U.S.
Highway 395, somewhere between San Diego and San Bernardino, California.
The old town is now restored and entertains a brisk tourist trade, especially
on weekends. Henk van Gaale organized the organ rally in cooperation
with AMICA So. Calif. chapter. A front-page article in the Temecula
newspaper drew appreciative crowds on Sunday, and Henk hopes the rally
will become an annual event.
In this photo the sign high above Front Street announces "Doc's Temecula
Trader" & "Laura's Antiques" & "House of Jerky". Frank &
Shirley Nix, of Woodland Hills CA, brought their 49-key Limonaire organ
to entertain pedestrians and antique autos passing by. That's Frank
at the right talking with volunteer Leora Sear; volunteer helper Roy Baltz
is not pictured.
|Henk van Gaale and his father, Jan van Gaale, operate Dutch
Mill Trading Company in the village of Winchester CA, nearby Temecula.
This lovely 52-key Limonaire street organ, named "Hollandia", came from
Holland to join the giant Dutch windmill with 75-foot-long blades at the
Van Gaale farm. Henk calls the windmill "the bean cutter."
|Accompanying Henk's big Limonaire is this tiny 20-key book
music organ named "Volendammertje", which is Dutch for "the little one
from Volendam." In the photo above it is dwarfed by Henk's huge yellow
|Bill Whitney turns the crank of the Nix's G. Perlee organ.
The small crank organs performed on the sidewalks (actually, boardwalks),
while the larger, louder organs were positioned at the rear of parking
areas or vacant lots bordering the main street. Hopefully there were
no complaints of noise by the shopkeepers!
|Dodie and Ed Richmond came from San Rafael CA, to join the rally.
Dodie is operating an Alan Pell organ, while Ed explains to passerby Sydney
how to crank the Raffin 20er. The Richmond's like the small organs
"because they travel easily, even on airplanes!"
Westcott traveled from Lompoc CA to display his custom-built Alan Pell
20er with electronic Harmidi player system. The organ is mounted
on the rear of a small golf cart, and at the front of the cart is a rotating
red light and a giant siren from a fire engine. Jim calls it "The
Fire Organ", and he even has miniature ladders and a tiny fire ax aboard.
David Wasson is seated to the right of the organ, while Jim Westcott (in
the middle) talks with Charlie Porter of San Diego.
|Owner Ron Wolf of San Diego (wearing the comic hat)
listens to a question while Mike Ames cranks the Verbeeck Model C organ.
The 40-key scale controls automatic stop registration and 35 playing notes,
organized as three divisions with 79 pipes in all. Some of Ron's
book music was arranged for him by Tom Meijer in the Netherlands.
This photo was taken at the AMICA/MBSI Organ Rally in Sierra Madre CA,
|This van-mounted organ, named "Spirit of San Diego", was
built by Charlie Porter of San Diego. He makes his own music arrangements
for the instrument, and cuts the holes in the music roll with a knife.
The organ is modeled on a Wurlitzer, but it's not a Wurlitzer band organ
-- it sounds like a Wurlitzer theatre organ and it plays favorite songs
associated with the theatre!
|The facade is barely large enough for Mike Ames' 70-key Decap Dutch
street organ. Mike and David Wasson recently restored the instrument
to perform at rallies. The original book music player still operates,
and the organ can also play by electronic control from a floppy disc system.
|David Wasson built everything in his 98-key concert band
organ, including the Ferris wheel roll changer which is based on the Wurlitzer
and Hupfeld changers. Its four fully chromatic divisions contain
over 400 pipes which are based upon scales from Mortier, Gavioli, Decap,
Ruth and Wurlitzer, plus a few of David's own design. He arranges
the music and perforates the music rolls himself; of song styles ranging
from circus marches to big band swing.
18 May 1999