Bender's Circus Callipe Banner
Calliope Home
Our Calliope
Our Sound
Our CD
About Us
Contact Us


© 2005-2014
Jan Bender

Bender Melodies

About Us

Terry and Jan Bender have been involved with music and entertainment in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC for many years. In fact, on one of their first dates years ago as a young couple, they went to one of Jan’s band rehearsals. (Priorities were set early on!) Their hobbies include gardening, trains, square dancing, and English country dancing.

Terry Bender with parrot puppet


Terry Bender is a popular entertainer at many community events and fairs in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. His interest in instruments that produce music mechanically (ie with punched paper, punched cardboard books, pinned cylinders, and punched discs) began with the music of the carousel in his childhood. In addition to operating the calliope, he enjoys engaging the attention of children with realistic parrot and owl puppets. He is well known in the National Capital area as an organ grinder, performing with his German hand cranked street organ and his mechanical monkey. He took piano lessons as a child, played percussion with a concert band for a time, and currently plays drum set with the combo “Just Friends”.

Jan Bender


Jan Bender has been involved with music performance since starting piano lessons at age 5. She added French horn at 10, pipe organ at 15, and string bass as an adult. She assists with the operation of the calliope and designed the decorations, costumes, and CD cover, as well as this website. She has played with many bands and orchestras in northern Virginia. Besides French horn, she plays Swiss alp horn, German hunting horns, and currently plays string bass with the combo “Just Friends”. She is also a fine art photographer exhibiting in northern Virginia and is a member of Great Falls Studios.


At the 2010 COAA Band Organ Rally, Knoebel’s Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA




Back to Top

Bender Melodies Organ Grinder Just Friends





What about the costumes?

We like to wear thematic costumes when entertaining with the calliope so that the whole appearance has a festive circus feel.

Terry wears white pants and a white top hat like a ringmaster, but shows the popular circus elephants on his vest. His purple shirt was chosen as an nod to the Tangley Calliaphone inventor, Norman Baker, and his favorite color in clothes and cars (see our History page sidebar).

Jan has a variety of costume combinations. She wears metalic silver, gold, or purple blouses, with black or white slacks, for a "ringmaster's assistant" look. A wide brimmed hat is a necessary accessory in the bright sun.