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MMD > Archives > October 1998 > 1998.10.13 > 01Prev  Next

MBSI and Charlotte
By Beatrice Robertson

Hi Sam,

Thanks for writing about the Charlotte meeting.  I'm sorry to hear you
are considering not renewing your membership.  It is unfortunate that
the only meeting you attended was basically a music box meeting. It is
too bad you didn't visit Tony Marsico's workshop on the home tours.  The
opportunity to visit homes and especially workshops is one of the
features of the annual meetings (and most chapter meetings as well)
because it offers the chance to be with other members in a work setting
and there is no better place to compare notes and learn techniques. Tony
is a pneumatic specialist and those who were able to visit his shop
really enjoyed the opportunity.

If you had attended the annual meeting in 1995 to Orlando or 1996 in
Chicago, you would have had a full plate of pneumatic instruments,
including some you may not have even been aware existed. Each chapter
tends to emphasize the things available in the immediate area for their
Annual Meeting.  And the primary collections in the Charlotte area are
musical boxes.  As for the exhibit, it is really tough to get people to
move large instruments, especially pianos, for a 4 day display. What is
even more ironic is that at some MBSI annual meetings some members state
just the opposite: there was so much emphasis on pneumatic instruments
that the music boxes were almost invisible!

As far as your comment about Musical Box Society Intl.  being for music
boxes, that is an unfortunate misconception.  MBSI includes ALL
mechanical music. The official letterhead of MBSI reads" Dedicated to
all mechanical musical instruments."  The MBSI has a clear goal; one of
the things that makes the group interesting is that each member has a
personal interpretation of what the MBSI stands for.  The Bylaws
specifically include pianos and phonographs.

The MBSI currently has over 4,000 members, and the majority of them will
never attend an annual meeting. The magazines, (the News Bulletin and
the Journal of Mechanical Music) are one of the primary benefits of
membership for most members. I hope you will take the time to read them
and enjoy them before making your final decision whether to renew your

MBSI attempts to represent the interests of all types of mechanical
music in its publications.  However, we are very much aware that there
is a lack of articles about pianos and player organs - the problem seems
to be that members who are interested in those areas will not write, or
when they do, AMICA gets first chance. So it goes. How
about an article about one of your current projects relating to
pneumatic instruments. You can be sure it will get published!

As I say, I'm hoping you will postpone your decision on renewing your
membership. It is difficult to form a very complete opinion of any
organization with only one exposure.  I would encourage you to attend
another meeting - like the Southeast Chapter MBSI meeting for the
Ragtime Festival in Savannah over Halloween Weekend. Now just how much
more piano related can you get than a Ragtime Festival??

Thank you very much for writing.  It is very important to hear from our
new members, otherwise we can't determine how to better serve every
member. I personally hope I get the chance to meet you again.  I promise
to bring along the roller skating Troll for Preston to play with. Or
some of my many other musical toys!!

Beatrice Robertson

(Message sent Tue 13 Oct 1998, 16:01:33 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Charlotte, MBSI

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