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MMD > Archives > December 2010 > 2010.12.22 > 01Prev  Next

Restore North America's Carousel Organs
By George Karpel

Much has been said about the neglect of band organs in city parks.
I am fortunate enough to be working at the Burnaby Village Museum and
Carousel in British Columbia, Canada.  In the fifteen years that I've
been operating the carousel, the organ has been tuned three times and
repairable parts such as valves and pneumatics have all been repaired
or replaced.

The museum is owned by the City of Burnaby, and not only is the organ
kept up to excellent playing condition, but rolls for the organ are
bought on a regular basis.  As the organ had only four 150 rolls prior
to opening day in 1994, I was asked to order 60 additional rolls from
Ray Siou, who at that time charged an amazing price of $20.00 per roll.
Over the years, the City of Burnaby has bought several more rolls, the
latest one being the Christmas music roll arranged by Rich Olson.

The point I wish to make is that our carousel, unlike typical park
carousels, is kept up to high standards.  Ordering new music is done
with the idea of maintaining a fine library of rolls which include many
different arrangers.  I myself have bought out of my own pocket six
transcribed 48-key B.A.B. rolls as well as Tom Meijer's four-roll set
of American Carousel Music.

Being a part of a 1920's Village Museum is the reason why the carousel
and organ is constantly maintained.  Also, the fact that the City of
Burnaby has allocated funds for the carousel and organ allow for its
constant upkeep.

Two other examples of carousels and organs that have undergone complete
restorations would be the Santa Monica Carousel and the B&B Carousell
which is currently being restored prior to its return to Coney Island.

I for one look forward to hearing the 66-key Bruder Apollo organ playing
just as it did back in the 1960s.  These two examples of carousels and
organs being restored are unfortunately in the minority.  Hopefully,
other carousels will follow suit and keep their organs playing.  But
the future looks bleak.

George Karpel
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

(Message sent Wed 22 Dec 2010, 13:45:22 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  America's, Carousel, North, Organs, Restore

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