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MMD > Archives > September 2010 > 2010.09.12 > 02Prev  Next

Band Organs at Tilden Park, Berkeley, Calif.
By Dan Robinson

Claudine Jones lamented the sorry state of the musical accompaniment
at the Tilden Park carousel and asked, "What's the consensus on the best
CD available for this purpose?"

My opinion has always been that when the band organ itself is not
played or cannot be played, the recordings used instead should at least
be recorded from that band organ.  A. B. Bonds made an excellent set of
recordings in the late 1970s of Tilden Park's large Ruth organ (playing
66-key B.A.B. rolls), and in 2004 he made them available as CDs to
MMDers.  In fact, just last year, in MMD 090723, he wrote that he sent
a set of those CDs to Tilden Park.

He also made a CD of the park's smaller North Tonawanda organ (playing
Wurlitzer 150 rolls).  These would be the most appropriate recordings
to use, but given Claudine's recent account of employees there trying
out various cassette tapes, then a music box CD, then having the
carousel turn in silence, it would seem the CDs that A. B. sent either
never made it to the carousel or were misplaced.

We've read about band organs in California being encased in glass, such
as at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  But in the case of Tilden Park, it
is the carousel building itself that has been glassed in.  Perhaps if
the organs were entombed as others have been, the volume level would
be deemed "acceptable" and they could be played.  A band organ playing
behind glass is certainly better than one not playing at all.

Dan Robinson
Rochester, New York

(Message sent Sun 12 Sep 2010, 21:51:39 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Band, Berkeley, Calif, Organs, Park, Tilden

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