Arts and Entertainment

Fair's 1920 band organ to play again

The Island County Historical Museum will strike up the band — make that "band organ" — this coming Saturday.

The museum will host live performances of its 1920 Wurlitzer Band Organ from noon to 2 p.m.

Museum officials said the rare Wurlitzer Band Organ was used for years at the Island County Fair to provide the music for the fair’s carousel. It plays player piano rolls, and features trumpets, flutes, flageolets, drums and cymbals.

After coming to the museum in pieces — many of them damaged or missing, and after long years of repairs and restoration work — the band organ “is sounding like a band again,” said Museum Director Rick Castellano.

“We very fortunate to have several volunteers that have put thousands of hours into putting this back together - and for finding an expert that was able to get it in tune and sounding great,” Castellano said.

The organ concert is part of the Museum’s temporary exhibit, “The Menace of Mechanical Music,” an exhibit themed on bandleader John Phillip Sousa, and his disdain for all forms of “mechanical music” — especially his friend Thomas Edison’s famous invention, the phonograph.

Vintage phonographs, radios, a German music box, and a working piano/mandolin nickelodeon are featured in the exhibit, which runs through Sept. 11.

The Island County Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

For information, call 360-678-3310 or

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