With some exceptions, Organ Grinder performances are generally not effective indoors. However, Terry’s small street organ can work in a large indoor space. And, although this type of entertainment is generally not appropriate for “stage” events, he can be booked to give a 45-60 minute talk and musical demonstration for a group interested in knowing about the history of street organs and organ grinders and how his street organ works.
•What does the outdoor event planner need to consider in choosing a spot for the organ grinder?
The Organ Grinder plays his street organ fairly continuously and thus needs to be positioned to minimize overlapping sound with other performers, particularly if music from other performers is amplified. Terry typically strolls with the smaller organ, so planners should consider whether anyone else’s activities or performance would be impacted if music “strolled in” for a few minutes.
•What are the access requirements?
Ideally, being able to pull the van up to the set up site to unload and reload is the easiest for set up. The large organ and the cart with the other equipment (music rolls, mechanical animals, etc.) can be pushed a short distance on hard surfaces, but not up steep hills, not across soft grass, and definitely not up stairs! The small organ can be carried almost anywhere.
What about the weather?
The street organs are valuable instruments and weather is an important consideration. Terry has performed in summer weather with temperatures in the mid-90’s and in late fall with temperatures in the low 40’s. He cannot risk the organs in the rain, but he has an 8 ft. x 10 ft. canopy that can be set up for shelter if slight drizzle or mist is all that is expected. If a rain date for the event is scheduled, that needs to be arranged when Terry is booked for the event.
How far in advance should I contact Terry regarding my event?
The sooner you call the better chance you have of securing your date. A year in advance is not unreasonable. Because of traditionally recurring events, not all dates are available. You can e-mail initially, but Terry will need to talk with you personally on the phone before making a final commitment. Just click on the Contact Me button.
What kinds of music does he play?
Terry plays popular and traditional tunes, ragtime, songs from American musicals, traditional German music, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Swiss tunes, marches, and light classical selections arranged especially for this organ. New rolls are still being produced, so there is even a roll of American country style music. Other favorites include American patriotic music (arranged by a British arranger as a 9/11 tribute), Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, music from My Fair Lady, and the Oktoberfest favorite, the “Chicken Dance”. Each of his two street organs plays different music.
What do the mechanical animals do?
Where has Terry performed?
Terry is a tradition with his large street organ at local events including the Washington National Cathedral Flower Mart; the C & O Canal National Historical Park in Maryland; the Bluemont Fair, Bluemont, VA; Warrenton Spring Festival, Warrenton, VA; the Waterford Fair, Waterford VA; and Independence Day in Great Falls, VA.
He has also performed at Carnival-Mardi Gras in Culpeper, VA; community Oktoberfests in Lovettsville, VA and Gaithersburg, MD; Taste of Brunswick (as in Brunswick stew) Festival in Alberta, VA; the Ringling Museum, Sarasota, FL; Dogwood Dell Festival of the Arts, Richmond, VA; 1890's Weekend, Mansfield, PA; the Herndon Festival, Herndon, VA; the Guppy Gala at the National Zoo in Washington, DC; Independence Day at Great Meadows in The Plains, VA; special events at the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC; the Delaplaine Strawberry Festival; Warrenton First Night, Warrenton, VA; Clifton Day, Clifton, VA; events sponsored by Giant Food; Lewistown, PA Kid’s Connection; Reston Fine Arts Festival; Reston Taste of the Town; McLean Wine Festival; Lucketts Fair; Washington, DC German–American Day and other German–American events; Mount Vernon; Baltimore’s Harbor Place, and at many other regional and local events, schools, churches, music summer day camps, charity fundraisers, and private parties.
Terry has played his small organ for indoor events at the Renwick Art Gallery in Washington, DC, strolled the streets of the Waterford Fair, and has performed occasionally for local art gallery events. He has performed with both the large and small organs at band organ rallies sponsored by the Carousel Organ Association of America (he won the People’s Choice Award at Dutch Village, in Holland, Michigan) and the Musical Box Society International.