COAA Prez Blog

COAA Prez Blog

Spring Greetings 2015 ...

Hello COAA Members, Visitors and Enthusiasts,

The Organ Rally season is underway, thanks to the superb planning of Bob and Cathy Cantine and the more than generous hospitality of the Nelis family, owners of the Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan, the first rally of the season was a wonderful experience. The Village setting is a perfect venue for an organ rally because of its authentic rendition of what a 19th century village would have looked like. Some of the sights include: a canal re pleat with ducks, life-size cement figures of the many trades represented in the village (cheese makers, launderers, fishermen, toll bridge operator and a Dutch carillon to announce the time. Additionally, for those who collect Dutch artifacts, the gift shops have anything and everything one could wish for. The authenticity of everything in the Village is amazing and more than worth the effort to get there. The tulips were beginning to blossom and when in full bloom represents the largest display of tulips in America. 

Joe Nelis was our host for the weekend and he could not have been more kind and generous, presenting Hand-crafted wooden bowls to Marc and Debe Dannecker for their "People's Choice" Award and to Bob Buckler for traveling the farthest distance, from Pittsburgh, PA. The Nelis family also provided us with an authentic Dutch sausage dinner complete with wine. 

There were more than 30 organ grinders registered and for the first time ever, three Wittmann MIDI crank organs were joined by two MIDI operated concertinas for a concert of music unheard of anywhere before. The grinders were Marc Dannecker, Suzie Hendricks and Angelo Rulli, and the concertina were played by Debe Dannecker and Gordie Davidson. It was a moment to remember, and surely will be. The MIDI operating system is here to stay and COAA embraces it as part of the evolution of music storage systems.  As we know, the first mechanical organs were operated by pinned barrels, followed by punched cardboard books, the punched paper rolls, then digital cassettes, leading to the MIDI systems of today. One can barely imagine what's next! 

COAA also introduced an experience that is sure to be a permanent part of all COAA Rallies, that of an activity for children of all ages to draw and color organ grinders and also to make an actual pipe out of cardboard so that the principles of a musical pipe can be understood. This unique experience is made possible due to the efforts of Suzie Hendricks, COAA Rally Coordinator and Wally Venable, COAA Board Member.

It was a wonderful weekend of friendship, music and now memories of a time worth while. The other Organ Rallies are listed in the Calendar on this site. Do try to participate, as each Rally is a great opportunity to enjoy this marvelous hobby. 

On a totally separate matter, the question of where Rallies are held is often asked. The simple answer is that every Rally must have a volunteer to initiate and conduct the Rally. This year COAA will host seven Rallies. Unfortunately, to date the only Rallies that have been held West of the Mississippi were those hosted by Dan in Spokane, WA, and Gordie in Weston, MO. There's great hope that a Rally will occur in the near future in California, which once was a hotbed of mechanical organ enthusiasm.

Please let me have your thoughts and comments about any of the above by responding to

Happy Cranking.and hoping to see you at a Rally this year.

Stay in Tune,