I attended the Carousel Organ Association of America rally in Franklin,
Pennsylvania, this weekend, and it was great. I don't know if anyone
else will be writing in about it, but I wanted to send my praises.
Thanks to the folks at DeBence Museum for a job well done.
There were about sixteen band organs present, with a wide variety of
models, built by Wurlitzer, Stinson, Artizan, North Tonawanda, Bruder,
and others. All three major styles of Wurlitzer rolls (125, 150 and
165) were played, by at least three organs each, and there were the
European organs playing book music.
Interestingly, four of the sixteen or so organs there were built by
their owners. One of those was the incredible chromatic concert organ,
"Trudy," built by David Wasson of San Diego, who arranges and cuts all
the rolls for the organ. To say this organ was impressive and musical
would be a huge understatement.
At the rally I had the great, unexpected privilege of hearing the brand
new Wurlitzer style 165 roll by Wayne Holton, played on Larry Kern's
magnificent Stinson model 187 band organ. I have heard a lot of band
organ music, but the last tune on this roll, "Flight Of The Bumble
Bee," is about the most amazing thing I have ever heard on any band
organ. Everyone's reaction to hearing that tune is that they never
knew a band organ could do that. I predict that as more band organ
people hear this roll, there will be more Wurlitzer 165 rolls in the
future from Wayne Holton. Thanks to Ralph Schultz for picking the
tunes for this roll!
I also enjoyed touring the DeBence Museum, seeing and hearing some
wonderful instruments there (including their Wurlitzer 153 which was
playing outside). Victorian downtown Franklin is a very nice place,
with many great, fancy old houses and buildings.
If there are MMDers out there who have thought about going to band
organ rallies but haven't been to one, go to the next one you can.
You'll be glad you did!