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MMD > Archives > July 2008 > 2008.07.09 > 01Prev  Next

AMICA Convention 2008
By Terry Smythe

This was my 18th AMICA Convention and once again outstanding!  Many,
many thanks to Frank and Shirley Nix and their committee for their
superlative efforts in organizing and making it happen.  It was clearly
a huge undertaking and they are to be commended.  Very much appreciate
yet another great array of fond memories.  Special thanks to:

- Hi Babit, an Honorary Member, for frequently entertaining us royally
on many occasions in the hospitality suite.  He is 91 years young and
has an extraordinary repertoire.  His enthusiasm was infectious.

- Tom Ahearn for bringing and displaying his powerful Knabe Ampico B
concert grand in the hospitality suite -- a fine example of blending
the old (Ampico) with the new (Bob Hunt's e-valve system).

- Gene Korolev, Randy Cox and Wayne Stahnke for making available
Gene's stunning custom-built grand piano, "Tribute to Harley Davidson".
Equally stunning was its aural performance with Wayne Stahnke's LX
Live Performance solenoid player system.  It was real treat to hear
it working quite well with my Duo-Art emulation MIDI files after
conversion to Disklavier format.  Its performance using LX formatted
files with 1024 dynamic levels was spectacular.

- Richard Ingram for bring his nicely restored very early rare A.B.
Chase 88-note foot-pumped grand.  It was great to note he managed to
acquire Hi Babit's autograph on its harp, a nice touch!

- Spencer Chase for displaying his demonstration e-valve system fitted
to a Duo-Art grand.  Yet another fine example of a marriage of the old
with new technology.

- Jerry Pell for bring his nifty Wurlitzer band organ for our listening
pleasure in the hospitality suite.

- Robbie Rhodes and the Titanic Jazz Band for their fine entertainment
at the banquet.

- Ralph and Gloria Schack for opening their home to view and hear their
fine collection.  It was a real treat for me to finally see and hear
the now restored early 1895(?) Welte Style 3 Cottage Orchestrion that
I found in a genuine cattle barn some 'levety-7 years ago, and right
alongside it the 28" upright Kalliope disk music box that emerged as
part of the original transaction all those many years ago; brought
tears to my tired old eyes.  Both within a great display of beautifully
restored instruments.

- Mike and Marilyn Ames for opening their home to view and hear their
outstanding collection.  It was a real treat to see a great marriage of
the old with new MIDI technology to dramatically expand available music
for a variety of instruments, most notably the Violano.  And a truly
delightful surprise to meet Jody Kravitz for the first time, so long
after he started Mechanical Music Digest some 13 years ago.

- Frank and Shirley Nix for opening their charming home to view and
hear their fine collection of a Duo-Art reproducing piano, large
orchestrions, music boxes and a great fairground organ.  They are
truly great hosts and clearly earned a huge commendation for all they
are doing for AMICA and our delightful avocation.

- Mike and Cathy Choate for opening their home to view and hear their
fine collection.  Regrettably, this is one I did not get to, but
overheard many who were delighted and impressed.

- Dana Bashor for opening his gorgeous home to view and hear his
outstanding collection of music boxes, automata, moving framed pictures,
musical clocks, fine heavily carved furniture, and his big Welte Style
3 Cottage Orchestrion.  A fine, gracious host who enthusiastically
shared his collection.

- Fred and Deanne Roth for opening their home to view and hear their
fine varied collection of juke boxes, nickelodeons, a fairground organ
and stunning classic cars.  What a treat!

- A catered lunch in the shadow of the real Boeing 707 Air Force One
in the Reagan Library was amazing!  How did their ever get that massive
airplane up to the top of the mountain and into the building?  Wow!
The Reagan collection of memorabilia brought back many historical
memories of great political significance.

- And for someone living out in the relative boonies, the Hollywood
Bowl and Independence Day fireworks were truly memorable.  What they
great show for some 17,000+ people in attendance.

- Within our annual Pumper Contest, our inimitable Larry Norman can be
relied upon to provide enjoyable levity to an otherwise serious event.
Congratulations go to Roger Stumfoll for winning the contest, and to Karl
Ellison for his capable organizing and emceeing the event.  As always,
the contestant's choice of rolls brought some terrific performances.
Quite amazing what can emerge from a humble player piano.

- An evening of silent film with piano accompaniment, all wrapped
around a restored 1906 hand cranked movie projector, featuring Laurel
and Hardy, and Buster Keaton, made for a charming true "nickelodeon".

I was pleased to have attended Dave Saul's workshop on roll scanning
and production, Don Barr's workshop on the Violano, Stephen Kent
Goodman's workshop on automatic musical instrument's musical partners,
and Josh Rapier's workshop on reproducing system differences.
Unfortunately it wasn't possible to attend all of them.

As usual, the Mart was an enthusiastic event, organized quite well with
all the vendor tables arranged around the perimeter of the ballroom
which made for easy migration from one to another.  By a split second
I missed out on a Seeburg KT table favor on one of the mart tables.
Perhaps another year I may get lucky.

It was a great convention, made all the better by meeting so many old
friends, albeit only once a year.  And once again, many fond memories.
Thoroughly enjoyable throughout.

Some useful links emerged: 
Wayne Stahnke's LX Live Performance site 
Piano Solutions XXI (Gene Korolev's site) 
Mike Ames MIDI site 
Tim Trager's web site 
Band Organ Music site 
Stephen Kent Goodman's web site 
Josh Rapier's web site [delete ".geentroep" to reply]
Dave Saul's email address

Terry Smythe
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

(Message sent Wed 9 Jul 2008, 18:50:00 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  2008, AMICA, Convention

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