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55th annual - AMICA CONVENTION
BLACK HILLS - South Dakota
June 3 - 8, 2018

          Encyclopedia of Disc Music Boxes 1881 - 1920
       A History,
          Catalog Raisonné,
                and Appreciation.
                    By Q. David Bowers
       An AMICA-International Publication

2015 AMICA Convention, Denver, Colorado - August 5-9, 2015
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Come and visit Denver and Colorado this August for the annual 2015 AMICA International convention.    Denver has so much to offer and we have a superb Automatic Musical Instrument Convention planned for your enjoyment.    Please feel free to come early and stay late to take in some of the many attractions we have to offer in the Mile High City and in Colorado.

The convention headquarters will be the magnificent Magnolia Hotel Denver located in the heart of downtown, just blocks from the newly restored Union Station, where Amtrak Trains arrive and depart daily from the East and West.   The Magnolia Hotel is located at 818 17th Street, Denver, CO  80202.

You can book online for our special rate HERE.  Reservations may also be made at 888 / 915 - 1110 (Ask for the AMICA Convention Rate).


Attractions: Among the many restaurants and shops that are just outside the hotel on the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall are the following places which are either in easy walking distance, a quick free mall shuttle ride or a very very short cab ride away. 

The Denver Art Museum; the U.S. Mint, Denver; The Kirkland Museum of Fine  & Decorative Art; The Colorado History Museum; The Colorado State Capitol Building; The Molly Brown House Museum; Union Station; Downtown Aquarium, Denver; Coors Field, Home of the Colorado Rockies Baseball Team; Denver Public Library; Tattered Cover Bookstores; Clyfford Still Art Museum; Black American West Museum & Heritage Center; Denver Firefighters Museum; Forney Museum of Transportation; Museo De Las Americas; Denver Botanic Gardens; Denver Zoo; Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park; American Museum of Western Art; Rockmount Ranch Wear; The Brown Palace Hotel;  And many more!

     I could write a page on each of these attractions, but if you’d like more information, visit: Just will get you to many interesting things to see and do in our city and state if you like to surf the web.   You can even order a free (hard copy, printed) Denver Visitors Guide on these websites.     


Following is the itinerary for your 2015  AMICA International convention.   

All fairly firm, but subject to changes, refinements and more details added as we progress toward August, 2015. 


Wednesday, August 5th -  

     Enjoy Complimentary Breakfast in the Hotel from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.– For all hotel guests.  Indeed, a real breakfast it is, too! 

     9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.    AMICA International Board of Directors Meeting – open to every member and perhaps will last less time, depending on the business at hand.  If you aren’t a member of the Board, you might explore the 16th Street Mall and some of the attractions listed above.   Denver's mile-long 16th Street Mall is the heart of the city.  Designed by famed architect I.M. Pei, the pedestrian promenade is made of red, white and gray granite in a repeating pattern that, seen from above, resembles the skin of a Diamondback rattlesnake.  Free electric shuttle buses travel up and down the Mall, stopping on every corner.  Hop on and hop off, the free shuttles come every few minutes and make everything downtown easy to reach.

      From 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. enjoy the Complimentary Evening Beer and Wine Reception at the hotel before selecting one of the more than 50 restaurants, just steps from the hotel door.   Or, enjoy the Hotel Restaurant or Room Service. 

The Hospitality Room:  During the convention, enjoy the array of beautiful Melville Clark Apollo Player Pianos assembled for your entertainment.  You’ll think you just stepped into a Melville Clark Apollo Showroom in 1915, instead of 2015!   Along with the very unique and different player systems and rolls featured, there will be some extraordinarily talented live musicians in attendance at various times throughout the convention for our sheer enjoyment.    You are likely to see and hear and get acquainted with Adam Swanson, Dick Kroeckel, and Scott Kirby and very possibly some others, too.    AMICA is about music after all!   

      8:00 – 10:00 p.m. please enjoy the Complimentary Bed time Cookies & Milk – but don’t turn in before you’ve visited with your friends from around the world and the USA who will be gathered in the hospitality room listening to and playing the extraordinary pianos there.


 Thursday, August 6th -

    Enjoy Complimentary Breakfast in the hotel from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. At 9:30 a.m we’ll have an orientation meeting and launch to a good start.    After the meeting, freshen up, and  Board Busses for a trip out of Denver into the mountains just 12 miles west of Boulder.   We’ll be the honored guests at The Carousel of Happiness, Nederland Colorado’s magical menagerie featuring 56 whimsical, hand-carved animals on a restored 1910 Looff carousel, turning to the music of a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ.    The carousel was restored and built by AMICA member Scott Harrison and the band organ is maintained by AMICA member Don Hein.    See the Carousel website for so much more about this treasure in the mountains: 

      Driving back down to the Plaines, we’ll be the evening guests with John Schaffner and his authentic 1880’s Chuck Wagon Dinner and Cowboy Poetry Extravaganza.   Learn all about John’s outfit at:  There will be additional antique old west entertainment of one kind or another to be announced.  

      I expect that you’ll be back to the Magnolia Hotel in time for the Complimentary Bed Time Cookies & Milk – before you begin playing and enjoying the pianos and musicians in the hotel hospitality room.   Or before you go out on the town, just outside the hotel door.  


 Friday, August 7th -

      Enjoy Complimentary Breakfast from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. in the Hotel, or step out of the hotel and do some “people watching” as you enjoy coffee or breakfast at one of the outdoor cafes on the mall.   (if AMICAN watching isn’t enough)   There’s also a Starbucks right in the hotel for your coffee needs all day long.  

       This will be a full day with some workshops, perhaps a dance lesson from a professional dance master and a formal concert with Jacqueline Schwab at the piano.  All the activities will be in the hotel, today.   Jacqueline Schwab is a folk and classical improvisational pianist who plays "gorgeously spare piano" (The Boston Globe) yet "sounds as if she has an orchestra at her fingertips" (Sing Out). Chosen by the renowned Ken Burns for numerous public television documentaries due to the emotional expression in her playing, Jacqueline has performed on the soundtracks for the Grammy award-winning Civil War, the Emmy award-winning Baseball and Mark Twain, among others.  She has performed at the White House for President Clinton in 1997 to celebrate Burns' Lewis and Clark series and also at the Smithsonian in 2000 celebrate its exhibition on the Presidency.  In May, 2009, she accompanied Scottish singer Jean Redpath, on the Late Show with David Letterman.  Learn more about Jacqueline and her music at:   Jacqueline Schwab will treat us to music that might have been heard on these pianos when they were brand new.      

       You’ll probably have time to stop in at the Complimentary Beer and Wine Reception before you get on your fancy clothes and your dance shoes, because tonight is the grand banquet and dance at the Magnolia Ballroom with music provided by the Queen City Jazz Band from Denver, Colorado, USA.   The ballroom itself is a sight to behold, with its floor to ceiling columns, the beautiful glass atrium ceiling, and striking period art.    It is the actual lobby from a real Denver bank dating from the early 20th Century, and it is breathtaking.

       The band says, “we play Dixieland Jazz, New Orleans Jazz, Traditional Jazz, Classic Jazz, Hot Jazz or whatever you call it.  For over fifty years the QCJB has been delighting audiences with the happy sounds of the 20s, 30s and 40s—Gospel, Early Jazz, Ragtime, Swing, Blues and Spirituals. We have performed at every major Dixieland/Swing jazz festival in North America. We faithfully recreate the music of Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin, Bix Beiderbecke, Wilbur DeParis, Turk Murphy and many others. Our great singer, Wende Harston, brings to life the great hit songs of Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, Ethel Waters, Alberta Hunter, Helen Humes and many other early blues singers.”   Want to know more?   See: 

        After the Ball is Over, take in just a little more music and catch up with friends in the hospitality room until midnight – or whenever you get tired.  


 Saturday, August 8th -

      Enjoy Complimentary Breakfast from 7:00 a.m – 10:00 a.m. (on weekends, it’s an hour later)    This will be another full day in Denver, so eat hardy.  

             Get out your checkbook, it’s time for the Mart!   There will be something that you have been searching for – or maybe you’ll be the one to sell that extra special gem and delight an old or new friend.    Enjoy!    Maybe after you’ve stored your treasures, you’ll have time to take in one of the museums, shops, or restaurants that is awaiting just outside the hotel. 

          The pumper contest will take on a new dimension with three, four or five Apollo pianos to choose from and the possibility of demonstrating your pumping skill with a Solo Apollo Piano roll, a 65 or 58 note roll, or an Apollo Concert Grand Roll.   

       The theme of this convention is Melville Clark and his Apollo Player Pianos along with his many innovations, inventions and contributions to the industry in the early days of mechanical music.    The Q.R.S. Player Piano Roll Co. was an early Melville Clark business and Bob Berkman will join us for a presentation about the history of Q.R.S. with an interesting and varied program.    Bob spent over thirty years of his career with Q.R.S. and no one in our hobby or profession knows more about this important business.     Bob is as charming and entertaining as he is informative and we are excited to have him with us to share his wealth of knowledge.    Here is Bob’s beautiful website:

        Get dinner early on your own in one of dozens of choices nearby and then partake of the Complimentary Evening Beer and Wine Reception before it closes at 6:30 p.m..   

      At 7:00 p.m., board the busses for the very short (10 minute) trip  to the King Center Concert Hall.   The Concert Hall has been deemed by some of Denver’s finest musicians as one of the best halls in the regional area for the richness of the sound and the tasteful interior design of the space.  Part of the walls, seating and carpet are colored in a purple palette which creates a richness against the cream color used for the acoustical clouds and acoustical walls. The stage is surrounded by maple sound reflector panels and a maple floor. A cadre of curtains that can either liven or deaden the hall adjusts the warm rich sound.  

        This evening will be a program unprecedented in the history of AMICA, especially created for our convention attendees and open to the public!    Bring your friends and family to this event.   Several of the Melville Clark Apollo pianos will be in concert, showcasing their unique, beautiful and different capabilities and their special Apollo piano rolls.   Besides the player systems, you’ll hear Jacqueline Schwab, Scott Kirby, Adam Swanson, and Dick Kroeckel demonstrating the versatility and musicality of these fine instruments.  You’ll hear harpist Donald Hilsberg playing with a Solo Apollo Player Piano accompaniment.   Dancers, and other period style performers and musicians will delight the audience, creating an unforgettable evening of music and entertainment that will transport you to bygone era, one hundred years ago when the player piano was just beginning its journey through our hearts and our history, and when these pianos were the new and latest entertainment technology.  


 Sunday, August 9th –

      Enjoy the Complimentary Breakfast from 7:00 a.m – 10:00 a.m.   At 9:00 a.m.,we’ll have the Annual Meeting.   Come and hear the business of AMICA and all about the 2016 AMICA International Convention.    Bid your friends adieu and get outside to visit a few more spots that have beckoned during the week.   There will be open house tours available today, and transportation may be arranged if there is a demand.    Dick Kroeckel, Jud Murphy, Ken Hodge and Pat Moore, will hold their homes open in the metro area.    There will be others outside the area and more details will follow.

      You don’t have to check out of the hotel today, either.    The special convention rate will apply three days before and three days after the convention.  You’ll enjoy all the amenities, including Complimentary Breakfast,  Evening Beer and Wine Reception and bedtime Milk & Cookies, as you visit all those museums, galleries, historic sites and shops that you have wanted to see all along, but didn’t quite get to yet.    Maybe you’ll want to take in the Central City Opera, or the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, or the Georgetown Loop Railroad, or Buffalo Bill’s Grave, or the Melodrama in Glenwood Springs, or the Carousel in Burlington?   

      Won’t you please join the Rocky Mt. Region of AMICA in Denver this summer.   As you can see, we have a very special program planned for you as well as Denver and Colorado in the background, just waiting to be explored.    Denver International Airport (DIA) is a destination in itself.   It is thrilling to see the canvas “snow capped mountain top” roof line at this beautiful place.   DIA was voted Best Airport in North America by readers of Business Traveler Magazine six years in a row (2005–2010) and was named "America's Best Run Airport" by Time Magazine in 2002.   DIA is the main hub for low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines and commuter carrier Great Lakes Airlines.  It is also the fourth-largest and Central US hub for United Airlines, and a major focus city for Southwest Airlines. Since commencing service to Denver in January 2006, Southwest has added over 50 destinations, making Denver its fastest-growing market.     Truly, it is one of the easiest airports in the country to fly in or out, to or from anywhere.   Every major airline in the country flies to Denver.    Many International Airlines also have non stop flights to Denver.   

      If you are driving to Denver – or if you want to take a driving trip from Denver, while you are here, Bill and Rosanna Harris (formerly of Denver) would welcome you to visit their collection in Custer, South Dakota.  It is only a 355 mile, 5 and a half hour scenic drive from Denver.  Rosanna says, “We will have our new building finished by the time any visitors come to see our collection.  We are in the process of completing a new 100' x 32' building which will house the overflow from our original building and give us the space to continue the restorations of the instruments.”  While you are in the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore is visited each year by visitors from all over the world and it is a must see memorial. Crazy Horse also offers visitors a unique look at the American Indian influence in this area. A day or two here in this area is well worth the travel time from Denver.  And, there is Devils Tower just across the border in Wyoming.  Rosanna said that she would be happy to provide travel information for anyone interested.    You’ll find the Harris’ contact information and a listing of their big collection of huge instruments on page 84 of the AMICA 2014 Membership Directory.    

 Go ahead.    Live.    Book your trip now!   

See you in Denver, August 5-9, 2015


©2018 AMICA International
Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors' Association,
a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

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