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MMD > Archives > February 2007 > 2007.02.23 > 02Prev  Next

Wurlitzer 165 Organ Installation at Santa Cruz
By Matthew Caulfield

In response to my posting to the 070217 MMDigest about the Playland
Wurlitzer 165 band organ being sold by Hayes McClaran to the Canfields
for use at their Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, I received an email from
Augustine Gonzales fondly recalling the organ when it was on the
Playland-at-the-Beach merry-go-round.

Augie wonders whether the new owners of the 165 plan to issue good
quality recordings of the organ in its new venue?  At the same time,
he laments the poor quality of available recordings of the Santa Cruz
Ruth organ, due, in his opinion, largely to the organ being housed
"in a box."  The fact that Donaven Staab, who is in charge of the
installation of the Wurlitzer and presumably also of the Ruth, is an
audio specialist gives reason to hope that attention will be paid to
the acoustical setting of both organs.

I know from experience both the good and the bad effect which building
acoustics can have on a band organ.  There is no better-sounding
Wurlitzer 165 than the Glen Echo, Maryland, organ.  Much of its musical
beauty is due to its placement in a well-designed alcove of the 1926
Dentzel carousel building.  On the other hand, when Seabreeze Park
rebuilt its merry-go-round building in 1995-1996, after PTC #36 was
destroyed by fire on March 31, 1994, it commissioned architects to
design a building that would be ideal for the beautiful new hand-carved

Sadly, no consideration was given to the building's musical acoustics.
The Verbeeck Wurlitzer 165 replica, when it arrived from Belgium, was
placed deep in the rear of the building in one corner.  In that position,
the organ, fine as it is mechanically, does not show or sound to best

I have already heard from a couple of MMD readers who plan to visit
Santa Cruz to see and hear its wonderful organs.  Let's hope that
Donaven Staab, busy as he will be in the coming months, keeps MMD
readers apprised of his progress and lets us know when to come out

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

 [ Organ photo at
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Fri 23 Feb 2007, 20:05:52 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  165, Cruz, Installation, Organ, Santa, Wurlitzer

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