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Mikune Band Organs
Mikune Band Organs
by Vic Searle, Toyko

Hi, everybody.  I just by accident stumbled on the MMD website.  God, how I wish I had known of it before.  As many of you know, I finally had to retire from forty years of band organ, electronic organ, and pipe organ building due to a terrible accident.  I had built five Wurlitzer 125's, one 150, and a street organ for a company which went bankrupt and left me with a warehouse full.  Then I had a terrible traffic accident three years ago and the owner of my workshop threw them all onto the bonfire.

The Mikune 165 was my first one, and we exhibited it in the Sumitomo Building here which is open in the center up to the 60th floor.  Boy, did it ever sound wonderful! At lunch time the police came and made us stop because there were so many people crowded around it that no one could get in to go to the many restaurants and lunch stands in the building.  This organ has a 165 roll frame and 3 ranks of pipes (trumpet, stopped flute and violin, all E. M. Skinner pipes).  I use all the trackerbar holes to run electronic voices via filters from Devtronix tone generators.  I don't know where it is now.  I sold it to a music production company (for $25,000 no less!) and that financed all my other work.)

The white 125 was bought for donating to an old folks' home in Osaka.  The red one I donated to the hospital/rest home where I spent 2-1/2 years in rehab in gratitude for their therapist having completely repaired all the exterior damage after the traffic accident.  The 150 is in the blower room of the  III/28 1887 Casavant pipe organ which I bought from a Canadian church for $500 and donated to the University of Japan, where I taught organ performance for forty-two years.  I do still have three 125 band organs operating on location.

About the name MIKUNE, that's a strange story. My original name was Victor, nicknamed Vic.  When I got naturalized, I chose the Japanese characters which would pronounce the V sound in Japanese!  The meaning for "bi" is "beauty" and "kku" is "eternal."  "Bi" can also be read as "MI" with the same meaning.  "Ne" is the character for "sound", so MIKUNE means "Beautiful sounds forever."

All the organs (pipe, electronic and band) carry that nameplate, and I also use the name for my music publishing business which I am trying to get organized again.
Building instruments is out of the question now for me, but I can do my music printing in my room at the rest home.  I have 250 pieces of organ music, 75 male chorus arrangements and 50 arrangements for school bands without oboes, bassoons, bass clarinets, etc.  All the music is encoded by Encore software and stored both on floppies and CD.

Also, I would like to hear from anyone who built an electronic band organ using my book published by Vestal Press back in the late 1980's, titled "How To Build An Electronic Band Organ."  I know 500 copies were sold (I got a nice royalty).

I will be most happy to correspond with interested persons and have my brains picked (what little I have after my terrible traffic accident three years ago), as I am loafing around in a resthome with nothing to do but eat, sleep, and surf the Web.  I would be interested in hearing from anybody.  I can probably give you help on band organs and orchestrions as well as pipe organs.  You can see my orchestrion on page 16 of Craig Brougher's book, "The Orchestrion Builder's Manual and Pneumatics Handbook."  The boy in front of the piano did the stained glass.

Vic Searle
Yokufuen #301 1-12-1 Takaido-Nishi
Suginami-ku, Tokyo 168-8530 Japan
tel.: 81-3-5346-2067
e-mail: vcsorgan@yellow.plala.or.jp.geentroep [delete ".geentroep" to reply]



 
 

vsearle01a.jpg (31 kb)

Fig. 1. The white 125 was bought for donating to an old folks' home in Osaka.
 
 

vsearle02a.jpg (28 kb)

Fig. 2. This organ housed in cherry wood is a 150.  It's still in the blower room of the
III/28 1887 Casavant pipe organ which I bought from a Canadian church (for $500!)
and donated to the University where I taught for 42 years.
 
 

vsearle03a.jpg (26 kb)

Fig. 3.  The large 165 with pipes was my first one, and we exhibited it in the Sumitomo Building here
which is open in the center up to the 60th floor.  Boy, did it ever sound wonderful! At lunch time the
police came and made us stop because there were so many people crowded around it that no one could
get in to go to the many restaurants and lunch stands in the building.  The large organ has a 165 roll frame,
and 3 ranks of pipes (trumpet, stopped flute and violin, all E M Skinner pipes).  I use all the trackerbar
holes to run electronic voices via filters from Devtronix tone generators.  I don't know where it is now.
I sold it to a music production company (for $25,000 no less!) and that financed all my other work.
 
 

vsearle04a.jpg (37 kb)

Fig. 4. I donated the red 125 to the hospital/rest home where I spent 2-1/2 years in rehab in gratitude
for their therapist having completely repaired all the exterior damage from the traffic accident.






12 September 2005

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