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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


Video Preview of the Convention - Video
Registration Form: Fill and Print, or just Print

Hotel: NASSAU INN – 10 Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ 08542
800-862-7728 or 609-921-7500 •
Special rate for AMICA: $139 / room per night.
Reference group: AMICA or register online HERE

(By Glenn Thomas) The AMICA 2016 International Convention, Princeton, New Jersey, August 2-7 for the first time will combine with a Carousel Organ Association of America (COAA) band organ rally for a major mechanical music event!

Both of these events are expected to be large, highly anticipated events with a very large group of participants and guests due to first-ever events for both groups in and around Princeton, New Jersey, and to the high quality of events and collection tours open to members of both organizations.


Princeton, NJ is about mid-way between New York City and Philadelphia, a convenient one-hour drive or train ride to either city from Princeton.  Princeton is a quaint, historic, compact, walkable University town with 100’s of shops, restaurants, and sights all within a short walk of the town center and our hotel.  Further, Princeton University is right there with a large, inviting, open, walkable campus loaded with magnificent 100+ year old buildings and attractions. The campus invites historians, sightseers, and walkers to explore and enjoy its grandeur! 

The city is quite compact and historic.  Life centers around Palmer Square and Princeton University.  Both locations and the surrounding streets, memorials, squares, and parks offer natural locations for organ display.  Restaurants and other businesses abound in a walkable array of options.  Summer activity is a mixture of community events, locals, and tourists enjoying the city and surrounding area.  Folks that don’t arrive by car can take the train, an easy one-hour ride from New York or Philadelphia. 


This is AMICA’s first convention in this area.  AMICA’s host hotel will be the Nassau Inn, right on the main square in Princeton.  This historic hotel has been recently renovated with superb accommodations and meeting rooms.  COAA members have the option of registering at this hotel at AMICA’s special $139 daily rate, but most COAA members will probably prefer the open highway COAA host hotel with easier parking and access, and plenty of room for organs.

Tuesday, August 2
9a – 5p:  Area Heritage Tour

For those arriving early and not attending the Board meeting, we offer a great area “Heritage” tour to Bucks County, PA to the Delaware River, historic Doylestown, and then New Hope for lunch and a short vintage train trip aboard the Now Hope and Ivyland Railroad.  Enjoy time to walk the streets of New Hope and Lambertville on opposite sides of the river and explore antique shops. 

Wednesday, Thursday; August 3, 4
Two full days devoted to world-class music collections.  One day, a bus trip will visit the Arnold Chase collection in Connecticut.  Every instrument is magnificently restored and displayed in a special and suitable environment that provides a superb visual and acoustical experience.  The instruments range from very large fairground and dance hall organs to orchestras and automatic pianos.  A special arcade room displays historic and restored gaming and arcade equipment.  Here are magnificent band organs of every size and description, large and rare orchestrions, and many other music and similar machines.  Each is magnificently restored, with some rare and one-of-a-kind specimens. 

 Another day is a bus trip to American Treasure Tour in Oaks, Pennsylvania.  This is probably the world’s largest collection of mechanical music, midway and circus memorabilia, old cars, and related items too numerous to mention. The exhibit is so large, occupying many football fields of exhibits, groups take a motorized open tram tour so they don’t miss the important things and have time to see it all.  Special to our group, we will have time to take an orientation tram tour, plus time to walk around on our own.  Not usually open to the public, we will have access to other floors and areas where many more items are displayed, stored, and where more old, historic cars are displayed than one can usually see anywhere!

 Each of the above trips will operate two days so you won’t miss anything.

 This group will be the first to experience the restoration of one of largest Wurlitzer band organs ever built:  The Wurlitzer 166/175 restoration will be complete in time for this event.  You won’t want to miss this!

 Also on this day’s agenda will be a visit to the Glenn Thomas collection.  Besides two Wurlitzer 165 band organs and a large 112 key European fairground organ, visitors will be treated to numerous other magnificently restored coin pianos, orchestrions, and period antiques. 


On Wednesday evening, there is an option for an organ concert and silent movie at the historic Rahway Theatre, now known as the Union County Center for the Performing Arts.  This vintage silent movie theatre has its original Wurlitzer pipe organ, restored and maintained by the local American Theatre Organ Society Chapter, with whom we will share the evening’s entertainment.  We will enjoy a pipe organ concert followed by a silent movie program accompanied by the Wurlitzer organ.  This option will also include dinner at the theatre. 

(Note:  Guests attending the American Treasure Tour day event will have the opportunity to return to The Nassau Inn in Princeton, take a short break, and board buses to this event.  Guests attending the Arnold Chase collection tour will have the option to stop and enjoy this event on the return trip (including dinner at the theatre), One bus will return from Chase direct to Princeton, while the other bus will go to this program, then return to Princeton after the program. 

Thursday, August 4

After dinner on your own, enjoy dessert at an evening Ice Cream Social with an evening of “busker” entertainment with some notable artists and musicians.    

Friday, August 5

8:45a – 12:15p:  Workshops!  Friday morning will feature interesting technical workshops in a variety of subjects.  Information on the workshops and the schedule will be available shortly before the convention. 

1:30p – 2:30p:  Mart.  Enjoy the traditional mart where buyers and sellers of mechanical music items meet to unload items no longer wanted and to pick up some rare bargains!

3:00p – 6:00p: Band Organ Concert.  A 15-minute bus trip to the Glenn Thomas residence for an amazing two-hour concert on a Wurlitzer 165/166 band organ, an original Wurlitzer 165 band organ, and a Verbeeck 112-key concert organ.  None of these organs will be at the weekend band organ rally so this is your only chance to hear them.  And what a concert!  Enjoy all types of music from original rolls and music as well as from modern arrangers.  The organs and music will all have detailed explanations so you will have full information.  Near the end, make requests from the over 4,000 selections available!  Since this event is limited to 100 guests, an optional repeat of this event on Sunday, at 11 am will be available if needed.  Please indicate on the registration form if you have the flexibility for the Sunday alternative if needed.

 8:00p:  Pumper Contest! Enjoy AMICA’s traditional, rousing pumper contest.  Always a great event!


Saturday, Sunday, August 6, 7

10:00a -  5:00p (Saturday) 11:00a - 5:00p (Sunday): COAA Band Organ Rally

Traditional band organ rally in, on, and around the street of Princeton, NJ.  The streets, squares, parks, and University of Princeton explode with the sights and sounds of all types of band organs in a traditional band organ rally.  But this is different due to the compact, urban environment of the historic, cultural, music, and arts orientation of Princeton, NJ.  Numerous sites and venues are just waiting for COAA members to place their organs and provide glorious sights and sounds for the town. 

But there’s even more!  Early Saturday evening during August, Princeton has a musical concert program on the town square featuring several musical groups each Saturday.  We are working with the town to ensure at least one or two of our COAA organs will be the featured entertainment for one hour! 

Saturday, August 6

10:00a – 11:00a:  Community Mechanical Music Presentation. Optional event, open to AMICA, COAA, and the community in a meeting room at the Nassau Presbyterian Church – center of Princeton: “Introduction to Mechanical Music and Band Organs” This is a multi-media presentation for the community to acquaint them with the event in Princeton this week and to orient them to mechanical music and band organs.  History, examples, and details of what mechanical music and band organs will be explained through a multi-media presentation.

 6:00p: No-host Cocktails, 7:00p – 11:00p: Traditional AMICA Banquet and 11-piece period dance band.  Enjoy a great meal in the grand ballroom of the historic Nassau Inn, followed by a great concert by Michael Arranella and his Dreamland Orchestra.  This phenomenal 1920’s period orchestra plays and looks the part of the great dance bands of that era.  Listen to original charts of the great bands of that era.  An unbelievable experience!

 Sunday, August 7

8:00a – 11:00p: Traditional AMICA Annual Meeting and breakfast. 

11:00a – 2:00p:  Band Organ Concert (second section if necessary.  See Friday, 3:00p.) 

Afternoon through early evening as scheduled by individuals:  Open houses featuring local mechanical music collections.  Most will be 30 minutes to 1 ½ hours by own car from Princeton, NJ.  Hosts will be encouraged to hold afternoon and early evening hours so guests may enjoy much of Sunday in Princeton at the organ rally before attending an open house.  Details and sign-up sheets will be available at the Convention / Rally desk.

 Any Day, Any Time:  Princeton on Your Own

Receive a complete packet of maps, suggested short walks walking tours, historical sights, cultural and art centers, and unique businesses just steps from your Nassau Inn hotel that you can do anytime.

(Note:  some events may have capacity limits due to the size of the facilities and / or limits placed by the hosts.  Since many are expected to be quite popular, space will be allotted in the order received, with AMICA members receiving priority for optional AMICA events.  If space is full, guests will be placed on the waiting list and notified.  If and when space becomes available, they will be immediately notified.  All event plans are subject to change in activity, times, and details as the convention / rally approaches and due to logistical and unforeseen circumstances.  All tours and evens are expected to operate as scheduled but are subject to change due to operating conditions, weather, vendors, partners, and unforeseen events.  Some flexibility may be necessary.


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

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