Hi Group, If you were in Southern California on July 1st and did
not stop by Memorial Park in Sierra Madre you missed quite a rally.
You would have seen a 45-keyless book operated Fairground organ
in one corner of the park. On that side of the park were three
self-built organs. One of them was designed with an animated
monkey on the front that was holding an actual playing pipe in one
hand and one foot that he waves around as the organ plays.
On the outdoor stage was a patriotic red, white and blue 88-note
player piano with three large boxes of indexed music rolls. On the
table was an alphabetical listing of the songs available. You could
choose your favorite song and sing along. On the other side of the
stage was a beautifully restored Wurlitzer 103 Military Band Organ
playing up a storm. Across the park from the end of the stage was
a 1930 Model A Ford with a Tangley CA-43 calliope mounted on the bed.
At the side of the truck was a 22-key Perlee book organ.
In the covered pavilion area was a Wurlitzer 125 Military Band Organ.
This is the best sounding 125 I have ever heard: powerful, but not
brassy or strident -- a really sweet sounding organ playing a style
125 roll containing trumpet fanfares. Also in the pavilion was
a Hofbauer Harmonium that had a cartridge I had not heard before
playing beautifully arranged classical tunes.
The third organ in the pavilion was a larger than usual roll operated
crank organ, I believe of German manufacture. (My mind is going,
I can't remember the manufacturer.) It has a very clever animated
circus scene on a stage on the front, featuring a weight lifter,
a clown playing a cymbal and bass drum, a ringmaster cracking his
whip, a ticket seller and other characters.
What made it even more fun for me was to get to hear Andrew Barrett
and his friend Vincent play rags on the patriotic piano. At previous
rallies I have had a church organist, Robbie Rhodes, and Andrew Barrett
play my calliope. During this rally four artists hand-played the
calliope. Andrew and Vincent both played circus themes. In addition,
our youngest Southern California member and his twin brother, Justin
and Ryan Senneff, both played circus tunes. When the instruments are
hand played it always draws a crowd. I had a great time!
If you are in the area the calliope will be in the Sierra Madre 4th
of July Parade, a great old fashioned small town parade that starts
at 10:00 A.M. and lasts about two hours.
Jack M. Conway, Los Angeles, California, USA