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MMD > Archives > June 1996 > 1996.06.30 > 01Prev  Next


Introduction
By Bryan Cather

Greetings from Texas. Please allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Bryan Cather. I live with my parents in Arlington, Texas, and am currently working at the local Buick dealership. In my spare time, I volunteer at the Fielder Museum, which emphasizes the history of Arlington.

My fascination with Automated Music is lifelong. When I was a very small child, the local Shakey's Pizza had an Orchestrion that fascinated me. The fact that the restaurant was in a bad neighborhood, that I didn't LIKE pizza, and that it was bad pizza anyway had absolutely NO effect on me. I begged to go, and spent my time in front if the piano, plugging into it all the quarters I could find. Then when I was seven, we bought the neighbors old upright piano. When I was asked what I was going to do with it, I replied that I would "make it into one of those pianos that play by themselves" A year later one of my cousins restored his Grandmother's player, and all of the sudden he was my favorite cousin. In the bench was the Player Piano Company catalog, which I devoured. By the time I was ten, I knew more about player pianos than my cousin. I can't tell you how many times I had "Rebuilding the Player Piano" checked out of the library. I confined my enthusiasm to perusing both the PPCo & QRS catalogs, and purchasing rolls for my cousin's piano (at one time I had purchased 1/3 of his rolls).

Also, about this time, I became aware of AMICA, but didn't join. The main reason was that I was only 12 or so, had no money and no automatic musical instrument. Whan I was 16 I started volunteering at the Fielder Museum, whitch was given a restored player two years later. I immediately began buying rolls (usually new ones) to play on it. In my early 20s I attended the Piano Tuning & Repair School at Grayson County College up in Denison, TX. At this point joined AMICA, after attending a few Texas Chapter meetings. I had recently purchased an unrestored English pumper, and my interests really blossomed at this time. I dropped out of school, and was soon holding a paying position at the museum. I have been reporter for the Texas Chapter about three years now, and in January began putting out "The Old Piano Roll News", our chapter newsletter. Most of my work with Automated Musical instruments is through the museum. I have participated in two player piano and reed organ lecture/recitals, and will have a third next spring. I get much enjoyment from interpreting music rolls, especially for the multitude of children who visit the museum as part of their 3rd grade classes. I am troubled that there is now a whole generation that have no concept of player pianos, much less having seen or heard one.

My English pumper is still unrestored, but I'm saving my pennies...

I often find it interesting how other people became interested in our hobby, and I hope my introduction may spur others into a similar discussion here.

Bryan Cather


(Message sent Mon 1 Jul 1996, 01:08:45 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

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