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© 2005- 2021
Jan Bender



Special Music for
Your Outdoor Event

If you are planning an outdoor event in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, such as a fair‚ festival‚ community or corporate picnic‚ grand opening for a business‚ or other similar large outdoor event‚ Bender’s Circus Calliope may be just the special musical touch you need. Our custom made 58 whistle compressed air calliope can provide almost continuous background music that will please listeners of all ages.

ST-58 Calliope Close Up

The sound is pleasant to the ear and the tunes are traditional American: popular, sing-along‚ marches‚ ragtime‚ blues‚ fox-trots‚ waltzes‚ and novelties.

The circus style trailer, decorations, and costumes harken back to the days when the calliope (in its much louder form) was the final unit in the circus parade.

Worldwide Circus Summit

Because the music is played with punched paper rolls, Terry and Jan Bender can interact with visitors while the music plays.

Terry-Knoebels 2012
Jan changing roll

Welcome to our website! Many of your questions will be answered on these pages and you can use our site to help explain your musical discovery to your event staff. This instrument is the first of its kind in the world and your event in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia may be the perfect setting for its music.

Knoebels 2018


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Our calliope awaits families for the Centennial of the Glen Echo Carousel in August 2021. Members of the Carousel Organ Association also brought several large band organs and organ grinders with small organs to this special event. Children visited each instrument, earning stars on their passport for a prize.


Jan is inside the calliope at Glen Echo Park to be handy when it is time to change the punched paper rolls that help create the music and to show visitors the roll mechanism. Terry talked with visitors as they arrived.


We were in a central location at Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA in June 2021.




Are all calliopes loud?

Although our calliope has a special brass organ-like sound and some volume control‚ the old calliopes were built to be loud. The old steam calliopes on riverboats could be heard more than 10 miles away. The sound gave notice of the boat’s arrival so people could gather at the dock for the entertainment the riverboat brought. Even the old air calliopes were quite loud because they were intended to instantly announce the arrival of a show in town in a time when news traveled more slowly than it does today.



June 19 - 20, 2021

Knoebel's Amusement Park
Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Band Organs, Calliope, Organ Grinders -
Mechanical Music Rally

We will be there with our calliope participating with the Carousel Organ Association of America (COAA)

This is a huge, old fashioned, outdoor amusement park. Admission is free and you pay as you ride, play, eat, etc..
The organs and other mechanical musical instruments will be playing music and demonstrating all through the Park.

Enjoy the special music. Make new memories the old fashioned way!

Aug. 14 - 15, 2021

Glen Echo Park
Glen Echo, Maryland

100th Anniversary of the Dentzel Carousel
In honor of this event, the Carousel Organ
Association of America
presents a two day Organ Rally (band organs organ grinders, and our calliope). Ride the carousel. See these special instruments and listen to the happy music!

Great Falls Spring Festival
Great Falls, Virginia


Muscatine, Iowa

Carousel Organ Assocation of America
Band Organ Rally
in Weed Park