The 1929 Story & Clark Reprotone performs
at
Searsport Shores Camping
Searsport, Maine


A Series of 10 Player-Piano Concerts
presented during
July & August, 2001


    Searport Shores, an idyllic and scenic camping resort on Penobscot Bay, sponsored a series of 10 Pianola Concerts ... held in their large Recreation Hall, each Saturday evening, during July and August of 2001. Douglas Henderson of ARTCRAFT Music Rolls brought his restored 'Reprotone' player to Searsport, using the custom-built trailer, created for "delivering a piano" almost anywhere.

    (You can see the delivery setup on this illustrated page http://user.nnei.net/~artcraft/fotopg1.htm  ... and the '81 Volkswagen Camper, with its venerable air-cooled engine, is still hauling this antique instrument!)

Douglas Henderson and the '29 Reprotone player

    The thumbnail illustration, above, shows Mr. Henderson next to the 1929 piano, which is actually several inches "higher" than it would be in a normal living room setting, due to the steel piano tray with rubber wheels (and brakes!) that was fitted to the instrument for on-the-road performance conditions. The height of this piano is 4'2", but the resonance and tone are astounding, along with the power inherent in the instrument. (For want of a descriptive reference, the sound quality is very similar to a Baldwin upright of the 'Thirties.)

Covered, until Saturday night!

The 'Reprotone' player is hidden away, between concerts, under a heavy, protective Schaff piano cover!

    Note the large rubber wheels, placed to allow moving the instrument into narrow doorways ... and elevators. Two are at the rear of the piano, projecting beyond the case. The other pair of rubber wheels are just inside the piano legs. This arrangement keeps the wheels "within" the dimensions of the case, while the rear wheels have rings for the trailer winch, shown in the Web page mentioned above.

The Arranger-Pianolist and the player upright

The Arranger-Pianolist holds an ARTCRAFT Roll ...

    Audiences at these casual Saturday night performances sit in folding chairs, on the long picnic table to the right of the instrument, in comfortable sofas behind the piano (where the Recreation Hall's library is located) and on portable camp chairs which some listeners often bring to the rustic building, facing the sea. (A large 'ping pong' table, for tennis, is rolled away, just before the concerts begin, since this is a multi-purpose room!)

Both hands and feet are used to interpret music rolls

Performing an ARTCRAFT Interpretive Arrangement

    One of the problems for any Pianolist at an upright, is the fact that he or she doesn't face the audience, which in this case can be seated in a semi-circle about the piano ... behind the sounding board, on the comfortable library sofas ... to the left and right or wherever the campers wish to sit. (For a stately appearance, there's nothing like performing Interpretive Arrangements with a player grand piano, but these fine instruments do not lend themselves to travel ... so we've opted for the "grand piano tone" and "virtuoso staccato touch" in this historic Story & Clark upright player.) When the crispness of an ultra-regulated upright piano action is combined with challenging player rolls, such as our Interpretive Arrangements, the "music does the talking"

A half-minute of music, at a glance!

"Show and Tell" ARTCRAFT style!

    A large audience can't see the words, as they appear in the spoolbox while the music rolls play. Similarly, certain important perforation "patterns" are also not discernable for a large group of people, seated several feet away from the instrument. Mr. Henderson has, for decades, unfurled rolls ... sometimes in synchronization with tapes playing the audio 'source' material, from which the Masters were created ... allowing many people to see the special perforations and key elements in the rolls. Having perforated, edited and processed rolls for over 5 decades, the Arranger-Pianolist can point to specific details, from behind the music sheets. This kind of display also gives the listeners a sense the arrangement's "structure", since about 30 seconds of performance material are displayed at any given time (at a typical roll speed layout for Tempo 80).

    A frequent audience statement, after each concert, has been:

    "We would have kept our old family player, if it had sounded like that!  We never heard one which was so exciting, before!"

    (Isn't it a shame that so many households junked their players, while storing the old commercial rolls in the attic? The parlour piano should have been kept, for a future time, when rolls were improved with Interpretive Arranging techniques, while the antique rolls ought to have been carted away!)

    Douglas Henderson and Lois Konvalinka, co-founders of The Musical Wonder House (museum) in Wiscasset and co-owners of ARTCRAFT Music Rolls, wish to thank Zaven, Rosalie, Steve and Astrig (of Searsport Shores Camping) for providing us with another opportunity to acquaint the public with the hidden attributes of the Player-Piano, a magnificent yet generally misunderstood pneumatic instrument.

    Vist Searsport Shores here: http://www.campocean.com and don't miss their special "Player-Piano page" - http://www.campocean.com/doug.html


ARTCRAFT Music Rolls
P.O. Box 295, Wiscasset, ME 04578 USA
Telephone: (207) 882-7420
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