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MMD > Archives > August 2003 > 2003.08.13 > 01Prev  Next

Kevin Sheehan's Dutch Street Organ
By Matthew Caulfield

As a side note to my friend Rick Inzero's report on Kevin Sheehan's
new hand-cranked organ, I can report that for two days (it would have
been three days, except that day 3 got rained out) Kevin and his
lovely & lively wife, Linda, played the organ at Seabreeze Park here
in Rochester (Sea Breeze), N.Y., for our guests.

I wish I had had my camera along to photograph Kevin cranking that
giant organ.  He wears canvas gloves, grips the 20"-diameter drive
wheel in one hand, gazes straight ahead and slightly upwards, and
starts cranking.  He looks clearly in ecstasy as he makes the music,
cranking with perfect smoothness, faster or slower according to the
demands of the book being played.  He must know each book by heart
and the proper speed for it.

After a while, when the one hand gets tired and the wheel is at about
one-o'clock position, Kevin switches hands smoothly and with lightning
speed, the music never missing a beat.  During a three-minute book he
switches maybe five times from glove to glove, all the time staring
into space in a perfect reverie.  It is a stunning performance by a
stunning organ and grinder.

While storing the organ in the park's maintenance building the first
night, the topknot of the organ was scraped by the not-completely-open
overhead door of the building.  When I next saw Kevin, he was lovingly
rubbing the wound on the facade and inspecting the damage.  I offered
him the use of our 20 shades of Japan colors that we use for
merry-go-round touch-up, so that he could overpaint the damage before
going to North Tonawanda for the rally.  But Kevin decided the damage
was not visible and to wait until he got home to Maine, where his own
artist could do the work.

Matthew Caulfield (Irondequoit, NY)

(Message sent Wed 13 Aug 2003, 15:11:25 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Dutch, Kevin, Organ, Sheehan's, Street

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