Meeting Up with Cindy’s group

Last Tuesday was very special for me.  I met with some ten hobbyist organists who were ready for another dose of Volare input.  For those of you not aware of what I’m referring to, Volare is my teaching program designed for amateur organs and keyboard players.  I explain the premise of the course on my web site,  One of my biggest proponents in this effort is a woman associated with the music industry by the name of Cindy Soriano.  It is through her efforts and encouragement that this week’s event took place.

It seems that there are some folks out there that consider even elementary bits of information inspiring.  They crave the acquisition of musical skills on an ongoing basis.  This is a good thing!  After all, learning music is a never-ending sport, right?  So we all convened and discussed the importance of building beautiful and logical medleys of tunes.  The first question asked of me by Marjorie had to do with my opinion about the length of an average medley of songs.  I shared this anecdotal story:

A number of years ago, a friend of mine accompanied me to a concert given by an artist whom we both knew.  It was quite enjoyable but lengthy…to say the very least.  I recall the plan for the artist’s musical arrangement.  She announced her medley to be a “musical journey across the great United States of America”.  And it was!  The medley started with a melody reminiscent of San Francisco and was to end in up in New York….a wonderful concept.  The only problem was that after almost one hour, the audience we still in Kansas City!  The moral of the story was that too much of a good thing can turn out to be counterproductive after a while.

So, I guess the moral of my story for you players out there is to keep your songs combinations entertaining, yet succinct.  In my opinion, a maximum of five tunes is sufficient for any medley content.  It can be fun to plan out these things but please pay respect to those who are the listeners.  My analogy is that as wonderful as premium chocolate ice cream is, too much of it can make you feel a bit uncomfortable after awhile.

Look for the March Song of the Month to be posted in a week or so.  Last month’s winner, Lois Phagan from Florida solved the dilemma of identifying the melody.  It turned out to be a tough one to solve…..sorry about that.  But please remember that each song posted on my web site has pertinence to the month itself.  I’ll give you one clue to the correct answer of the upcoming song……it definitely WON’T be a march.

Of course, as always, if you are interested in pipe organ, theatre organ or home organ, please feel free to visit my website at and see whats going on with Volare and Pearl.




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“Longer Days…..Hooray!

“Longer Days…..Hooray!
I’ve never really been a morning person, that is until about five years ago.  I don’t know what happened but I found myself rising earlier and earlier all of a sudden.  I guess the key is to curtail late night television watching.  I finally realized that staying up until 3:00 A.M., fighting sleep (and sometimes caving in to the temptation), was sort of stupid.  Most of the time I didn’t even recall what I had been watching the night before.
So this morning when I first began to wake up about 5:30, I realized the days were becoming longer again!  I like this!  Most of the time, I ly in bed for a few minutes planning my day’s strategy.  Seems like the minute I get up, the real world sets in complete with its obligations and distractions.  Strangely enough, even the animals acclimate to the change.  My golden retriever was up and ready to go when I was as were the birds.  There’s one large crow that noisily pecks at the skylight in our living room every morning.  Hope he doesn’t break it…it’s tough to sue a bird for damages.
So today’s plan is to complete the details of an abbreviated Volare course which I am presenting this Tuesday.  If you recall, Volare is my learning seminar that shows amateur keyboard players some of the secrets to musical success.  You can read more about this on my web site  There’s lots of things that are not really that difficult to incorporate into your playing…if you know how to do it.  I’ve been asked to talk a bit about techniques in creating medleys.  Great subject.  Apparently each one of these musicians have a few tunes they’ve learned to play but have no conduit to connect them into medley form.  A few of the ideas we’ll be discussing have to do with chord transformations, chromatic fill-ins, rhythm introductions, etc.  Some of this type of thing comes naturally to me….or maybe I just listen to a lot to various styles of music throughout the day….jazz, theatre organ, show tunes, whatever.  Once in a while I find myself inserting a musical passage into an arrangement that I know came from somewhere in my subliminal mind.  After all, we know the brain is an incredible storage house of information.  The challenge is to retrieve the file in our head that completes our current demand.  In music, that data could be anything from Sinatra-esque phrasing to a country banjo riff.  If we’ve heard it, it’s up in there somewhere.  The trick is to extract it to use it in one’s own playing.
I’ll be talking to you more soon and thanks for reading my weekly blog.  I certainly enjoy generating it.”
In the meantime please take a look at this newest video  and also feel free to visit my website at and see whats going on in the world of Pipe Organ, Theatre Organ and Home Organ.    Until Next Time……………
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This Week.

Busy, busy, busy!  I’m enjoying these three days at home before my next venture.  I’ll be leaving soon for a professional commitment at the annual A.T.O.S. (American Theatre Organ Society) convention in Providence, R.I. Actually, it’s a beautiful part of the country to visit this time of year.  However, most of my hours will be spent indoors at the Westin Hotel.  That’s the location for the event although folks travel by bus daily to various venues in the general area listening to wonderful organists perform on great theatre organ installations.
The people attending are in quite a unique group…completely enthralled with the vintage sound of the theatre pipe organ.  It’s their life!  Needless to say, nostalgia abounds at these shows.  I sometimes feel I’m part of a movie setting from the turn of the last century at these things.  But all participants are respectful to the artists and quite caught up with the magic of the moment.  They are always an exceptionally appreciative audience.
I also will be playing on a digital….yes, I said digital….console organ, the Roland Atelier 900.  Now this might sound a bit absurd, but the reality is simple.  The vast majority of theatre organ aficionado’s (most of whom are musicians themselves) can only dream about the prospect of owning the real thing.  Frankly, the best they can hope for is the opportunity to participate in an “open console” session at a local theatre housing a credible instrument.  But an electronic home version of this scenario is doable.  Here is where technology saves the day.  Through digital sampling, Roland is able to capture the typical theatre organ voices and make them a viable option for the organist.  The realism of the sound quality is quite impressive….and of course, tuning is never an issue. 
For these reasons, it is appropriate to display an alternative to the fabulous theatre pipe organ.  It strikes me that it is time for the traditionalists to learn about and perhaps accept the fact that they can retrieve their favorite theatre organ effects on a digital organ.  I plan on presenting an informative short program on the Roland which introduces this concept to the participants.  I feel that this revelation will be well-received and appreciated.  My posture with the group will be one of entertainer and instructor.  But most of all, my goal is to establish an atmosphere of product understanding and acceptance from the attendees.  As the saying goes, “information is the key to success”.  Whether a digital organ would suit the musical needs of those attending the convention is not the issue…….being knowledgeable about the subject is.  And that is my goal.
Please visit my website at and also visit my facebook page at Rosemary Bailey Music and “Like” me.  If you already have, recommend this to a friend.
Look forward to seeing you in Providence, RI
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Whats happening, seriously?

“I’m having a wonderfully uplifting time at the Rodgers Instrument offices in Portland, OR. this week.  Rodgers is one of the Roland group of companies that plays multiple roles in the creation and manufacturing of Roland Corp. products.  You may know its pivotal role in the institutional market.  Rodgers organs are featured in some of the most prestigious venues in the world.  But it also assembles the Roland Atelier home organs right here in the good old U.S.A.!  The facility in Hillsboro, OR. is quite modern and impressive not only featuring a proper concert hall but in addition houses a huge manufacturing plant.  Although the intent, sound and cosmetic influence of the two lines of organs is utterly diverse, the technology used to create all the pieces assembled at Rodgers is common to all and quite remarkable.  
My role here is one of concert artist performing on several organ models for the annual Rodgers dealer meeting.  Last evening, the entire group of some 160 people were transported to a church in downtown Portland to hear a concert played on the Rodgers installation.  It was impressive and the folks seemed to love listening to the realistic sound samples provoked by electronic pipes.  Quite a different side of the music spectrum from the home organs, you know.
Today, a separate presentation will take place featuring the introduction of a brand new Rodgers organ model along with pertinent business conversation.  But tonight will be the grand finale of the three days with a concert showcasing various organs in the Rodgers/Roland family of products.  Myself, Don Lewis and Dan Miller are the performers.  There will also be a team of gospel singers integrated into Don’s appearance.  This should be great seeing as the instrument Don is using, the Atelier 350 C, lends itself to that style of playing.
Dan is perhaps the finest classical performer I have ever heard.  He is a part of the managerial team at Rodgers and a very accomplished artist.  I’m positive he will present the Rodgers in a very satisfying and dramatic way. 
My role tonight is one of the supplier of contemporary sounds on the Atelier 350 C.  Obviously, it is a multi-faceted instrument that can be registered to reflect an array of orchestral and rhythmic effects.  So it is logical that after hearing wonderful gospel sounds from Don and tremendous classical music from Dan, I will be entertaining the audience with jazz, ballad and dixieland playing on the Roland Atelier. 
Then it’s back home tomorrow for a few days.  My next post will reveal my plans for next week when I will be appearing at a major organ festival held annually in Lancaster, PA., the Dutchland Extravaganza.”
Remember to visit me online at
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Theatre Organ

“The theater organ, just like its name, was used at theaters throughout America as musical accompaniment for silent movies from the end of the 19th century continuing into the 20th century.  The organist improvised music in real-time while watching the movie screen.  The mood was created by playing comical, outrageous themes in the movie’s funnier parts and more emotional music during the heart-breaking, serious scenes.  Often times, percussion traps were added to the arrangement either to embellish or quiet down the atmosphere.
The theater organ is an instrument that is a variation of the original classical organ specifically designed for use in theater performances.  Electricity was used as the power source for generating sounds.  Instead of bellows (as in classical organs), a motor-driven fan supplied the air pressure and electromagnets controlled the various tone tablets.  Horseshoe-shaped consoles were the characteristic design for the cabinets mostly out of necessity.  Otherwise, manipulating five to six rows of registration tabs while performing is virtually impossible…and a little dangerous too!  The typical overall sound character of these instruments involves an effect called “tremulent”, a combination of tremelo and vibrato.  This was new and unique to the organ and became very popular with live entertainment lovers.
In addition, the theater organ features many original devices to increase its role as accompaniment for the silent movies.  Examples are the mechanical working cymbals and drums which are controlled by toe studs located just beyond the pedals and the glockenspiel activated by playing keyboard notes.
Unfortunately, the theater organ began to go out of style with the introduction of the “talkies”.  Soundtracks soon took the place of the organist and theater style concerts were limited.  Another factor leading to the situation involved the upkeep of a theater pipe organ.  never-ending care of the pipes and the organ console itself was a major issue.  However, tireless volunteers play a vital role in salvaging and maintaining the surviving installations of today.”      
Visit my website at for notices on upcoming events and happenings.  Lots of exciting news about the new Volare program rolling out to musical venues across the country.
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Volare!  It’s more than a song title from the ’60s.  Now it’s also a music learning program!  Actually, the name came to me after thinking about the intent and substance of the program I’ve created.  You know, after traveling for so many years as part of the promotional aspect of major organ manufacturers, I realize there are a number of amateur and semi-professional musicians out there who are looking to improve their skills.  Some of them want to enhance their playing ability…give it a fresh feel.  Others seem to want genuine revision to what they have been playing for many years.  But everyone has one thing in common.  They seek an avenue, a game plan, that will make their music sound better.  For most musicians, including me, this desire in never-ending.
Soon I will be departing for northern CA to begin the Volare seminar tour.  We begin in Santa Rosa on June 8+9, then San Jose on the 10+11.  The data that will be covered is meant to enhance one’s performance capability through expanding knowledge of harmonic and melodic techniques making them sound more advanced.  Also being presented will be extra playing tips I’ve acquired through the years which will be passed on to the participants.  Plus, I promise the interaction between the attendees will be a lot of fun!
The beauty of Volare is that regardless of whether you are playing Pipe Organ, Theatre Organ, an older manual organ, electric organ or a new state of the art digital organ, you will benefit from the knowledge you gain from this program.  We even anticipate members of the American Theatre Organ Society, ATOS to be in attendance at some of the seminars.
After completing the west coast engagements, the Volare tour progresses to other locations throughout the U.S.  If you’re interested in knowing more, please e-mail me at  I’d love to hear from you.  In the meantime, visit my website at
Bye for now…..Rosemary
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Some understanding about Organs

I use the term Theatre Organ or Pipe organ on a regular basis.  I have been asked recently what the differences are between the two or if there are differences.  There are a occasions that I do performances on both types of organs as well as the new Roland Atelier among others.  I hope that this explanation helps you understand the different types of organs on the market and the different types of organs I play on a regular basis around the country.

“theater pipe organ”; “theatre pipe organ”; “theater organ”; “theatre organ”===originally meaning a multi-manual organ powered by bellows powering the organ with leads to large chambers housing various sizes of pipes, usually high up to the right and left of the console.  These are connected by relay wires attached to the various rows (ranks) of pipes.  The shorter and more slender the pipe, the higher and thinner the pitch.  The problem is tremendous maintenance and venue issues.  After the “talkies” came in, folks wanted to view movies, not just listen to organ music so the installations…with few exceptions…went silent and neglected for a number of years.  However, gradually enthusiasts volunteered to resurrect the organs, even enhancing the tonal variety by combining ranks from different instruments.  In other words, those that were in utter disrepair became part of other more sustainable situations.

The bottom line is that today there are some 150 theater organs in working order….many in the Bay area (Redwood City, the Castro, etc.)  There is a group of followers who travel for hours to attend an event involving an artist playing a theater pipe organ.  Their national association is the ATOS, American Theater Organists Society.  These folks are exuberant in their desire and devotion to the theater piped organs still in existence.  Nowadays, some of the sound creation is actually retrieved from electronic means.  For example, the Fullerton (CA) Theater console has integrated a small Roland bank of sound tablets into the registration area…very unobtrusive, but still it’s there, I’ve played on it.  For many years this would be a sacrilege but people are beginning to understand that the life span of these organs is growing near its end and preservation of the sound they love is crucial.

I am going to go on to more information in the following blogs about how I became involved in this industry and how each organ is different. 


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