Who: The Carousel Organ Association of America (COAA)
What: Band Organ Rally
When: Saturday and Sunday, July 30th and 31st
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Olcott Beach, NY (North of Lockport, NY
on the shores of Lake Ontario at routes 78 & 18)
Contact: Dan Wilke, Rally Organizer (716) 825-7266 evenings after 6:00 pm
“The Happiest Music On Earth” will resound from the town of Olcott Beach when the Carousel Organ Association of America (COAA) presents a Band Organ Rally on Saturday July 30th and Sunday July 31st from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. Sponsored by the Olcott Beach Carousel Park as part of the annual “Old Olcott Days” celebration, the Band Organ Rally will feature several dozen antique and newly built Merry-Go-Round organs, European Fairground Organs and Street Organs in a wide variety of sizes, sounds and colors. These self-playing mechanical pipe organs will be performing Classical music to Rock and Roll and almost everything in between!
Several of the larger instruments expected to be on display were built in nearby North Tonawanda, New York, between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. From the 1890’s through the 1930’s, North Tonawanda was the capital of band organ production in the United States. Over those 50 years, “The Lumber City” was home to five band organ producing companies, the largest being the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company.
In this day and age, many people find it hard to believe that a machine constructed mainly of wood and leather can create such complex music without the use of any electronic components. Band organs were built before any type of electronic amplification had been invented, and their main purpose was simply to make music! Once considered standard equipment on any carousel or merry-go-round, they were also used in skating rinks and as musical entertainment on fairgrounds. These days it’s quite rare to find any of these fascinating music machines still in public use. Most surviving examples are now prized possessions of collectors and hobbyists from all over the country.
The Carousel Organ Association of America (COAA) is the only organization in the United States devoted solely to the enjoyment and preservation of band organs. Its members know that much of the joy of owning such a rare machine is being able to share “The Happiest Music on Earth” with others. That’s why the COAA presents several organ rallies each year, simply for the joy and camaraderie of gathering together and being able to share their music with the public. Organ owners from as far away as Maine and Texas will be bringing instruments to the organ rally in Olcott. Organs will be located in Krull Park and throughout the town. There is plenty of free parking in the town and no admission charge to come and enjoy the rally!