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Band Organ For Hire
By Peter Neilson

[ Eric Stelter wrote in 130201 MMDigest:

> Does anyone have experience renting band organs or calliopes
> for special events or occasions?  How do you get started?

We hired out with a player piano many years ago.  The biggest obstacle
is that people have no idea what you have.  The words "player piano" or
"band organ" mean nothing except to those who already own one.

The level of misunderstanding can be immense.  For example:

- I was asked to perform somewhere but was told I could not bring my
piano, I would have to use _theirs._  No, it was not a player piano.

- I have found I was to set up outdoors in an area that had an automatic
lawn sprinkler that could not be prevented from its sworn duty.

- "Helpful" people have nearly toppled my piano over on me.

- I have been told that a tape recording of the piano would be
sufficient, or indeed superior.

At the time, there was no YouTube so the only advertising that was
effective was busking.  Dave Levin and I would present a piano to the
public in Harvard Square in Massachusetts, giving 16 hours of effort,
and on a good day maybe $50 or $100 would be tossed in the hat.
"Homeless" panhandlers do better than that in less time.

The existing YouTube presentations of band organs are pretty bad,
because they illustrate why you would _not_ want one of these noisy
contraptions at your event.  Even if the video shows a paper roll
working, there is generally no thought to adding excitement to the
presentation.  We'll not even mention that music in 6/8 or 3/4 meter
is now way far out-of-style.

Once you have your band organ set up and in operation, someone will
ask if you could "please turn down the volume."  Unless you have it in
a cabinet that can safely be closed shut this is of course impossible.

The key is to find a venue that desperately needs you.  Think of
parades.  I saw a 43-note Tangley in a parade several years ago, where
it was successful, and once visited a party where a guest had brought
his own replica 43, keyboard operation only.  I discovered to my
amazement that I could arrange music for it in real time, by ear!

Peter Neilson


(Message sent Mon 4 Feb 2013, 00:48:55 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Band, Hire, Organ

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