Rally of Antique Music Machines at Champaign County Historical Society

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Members of the Mid-American Chapter of the Musical Box Society International will be displaying 2023’s gathering of American and European Fairground Organs at the Champaign County Historical Society in Urbana. The display, and performances will be Saturday, May 20 and Sunday May 21, 2023 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and there is no charge to attend.

The beautiful and huge instruments, which once played on carousels, at skating rinks and fairgrounds will be in Urbana for a weekend of “The Happiest Music on Earth.”

Each of these oversized organs contain more than 100 pipes and include drums, snares, cymbals, xylophones and other accompaniments. Each organ weighs between 400 to 1,600 pounds. Some are significantly larger and their craftsmanship will remind you of the great carousels of the past.

The “Rally” is much like a car show. The owners bring the organs to a park in large trailers and then demonstrate how the instruments work. You will even be able to “look under the hood” and marvel at the technology of the Wright Brothers’ Era.

The Musical Box Society International (MBSI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the enjoyment, study and preservation of all automatic musical instruments. Founded in 1949, MBSI now numbers over 1,000 members with representation in 50 US states and 19 other countries. It focuses on music boxes of all sizes, from small, hand-held wind-up boxes, to fairground organs or room-sized orchestrions, including musical clocks and snuff boxes, singing bird boxes, player pianos (reproducing pianos, nickelodeons), and automatic musical instruments of any kind.

The members displaying their organs on May 20-21 will come from all over the USA and Canada.

The Champaign County Historical Society in Urbana is a great match for MBSI. The museum contains a wealth of local, Ohio, and U.S. history in its 5-acre park at 809 East Lawn Avenue, Urbana. All are encouraged to visit and enjoy all that the museum has to offer the public – and enjoy the Antique Music Machines while there.

Contact Rob Pollock at 937-508-4984 for more information on the MBSI Rally.

Info from county historical society

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