It’s the soundtrack of a bygone era, a time when carousel music pushed painted horses in summer circles at state fairs and amusement parks all over the country.
Listen here for yourself: The Charleston (band organ style)
If you were lucky enough to visit the Great Danbury State Fair, you know exactly what I mean.
If you weren’t lucky enough — and I count myself among this crowd, unfortunately — there are still plenty of places where you can hear this timeless music.
Aside from your favorite carousel, of course.
Quassy Amusement Park recently held a two-day band organ rally in Middlebury.
The Carousel Organ Association of America calls these merry-go-round melodies the “happiest music on Earth.”
The COAA folks just might be right.
At Quassy, there were 16 band organ enthusiasts from around the country, including Jill and Peter Hallock of Agawam, Mass.; Dave and Judy Clark of Binghamton, N.Y.; Thomas Evansew of West Pittston, Pa.; and Gary Craig of St. Louis.
“Some of the smaller ones are hand-cranked. Some of the bigger ones come here on trailers,” said Ron Gustafson, director of public relations at Quassy. “You’ll see as many as 50 to 60 organs at some rallies.”
Peter Hallock bought his circa 1905 band organ from an antiques dealer in Amsterdam back in the 1960s.
“I didn’t know the first thing about them,” Hallock said. “So I got a couple of books and read up on them. It took me about 10 years to rebuild it and restore it.”
Later on, Hallock and his wife built a separate room in their house to store their beautiful band organ.
Hmmm, let me guess: To protect it from temperature fluctuations in the offseason?
“Nope, that’s not it,” Peter Hallock said with a grin. “We just love the music. We listen to it almost every night.”
The Hallocks have played their band organ at rallies in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and other states.
Peter Hallock said when he restored the band organ, he purposely left the back of the machine visible so people could see how it works.
“I wanted it to be as educational as entertaining,” Hallock said.
Although the next band organ rally won’t be held at Quassy until 2014, the park is still open for the 2012 season every weekend in September from noon to 6 p.m.
For more information about the park, visit www.quassy.com or call 1-800-FOR-PARK.
For more information about the Carosel Organ Association of America, visit www.COAA.us or write to COAA treasurer Charles Wasson at 29979 Nagorski Lane, Valley Center, CA 92082.