Carousel Memories

My very good friend Merrick Price passed away Tuesday, November 12, 1996. 
He produced all of our Carousel Band Organ recordings, and he taught me, 
and a lot of other people how to really appreciate and love Band Organs and Carrousels. 
Merrick, Terry Furlong (Seabreeze Park's chief electrician), and I had 
gotten together for breakfast at 7:00 am  every three to four weeks for many years. 
I went to the park with Merrick every time we met for breakfast, 
and never grew tired of listening to his stories about park life. 
I will miss Merrick and his wonderful ways, and I will always 
be grateful to have had him for a friend.   

Dave Kaspersin

The new carousel at Seabreeze Park was officially opened June 1, 1996 to the delight of hundreds of visitors to the park. The hand carved wooden horses were whirling around to the happy music of the old Wurlitzer 165 Band Organ (recorded by Merrick, Allan Mueler and Dave years before the tragic fire). The new band organ (hand made by Johnny Verbeeck) began playing on July 3rd, 1996 and it too is GREAT! What a wonderful tribute to the memory of PTC#36. Susan Hofsass: Daughter of Merrick and Lois Long Price, and carousel horse restorer, had restored the horses and chariots on PTC #36 to their original magnificence. And now the horses that survived the tragic fire, including one of Mr. Long’s originals, are proudly part of the new Long / Price / Norris Carousel. Because of Suzy, Merrick, Anne, the Norrises, Terry Furlong, Dean, and the dedicated staff at Seabreeze this Carousel is one of the finest "New" Carousels every created. In fact this may be thelast true Carousel ever created because it was made by hand by real Carousel people. (thoughts from Dave Kaspersin, most likely put in my mind by Merrick.)
Merrick , Allan and I had spent two days recording the new band organ shortly before Merrick passed away. It was dark and raining outside for most of both days. When you are recording a Band Organ you can’t talk so as each half hour roll played Merrick and I would sit in the red chairs and just listen. Sitting in a dark carousel building, with the rain comeing down out side, recording such beautiful music is an experience that few people can imagine. Both afternoons I noticed Merrick would fall asleep, and shortly after he did so did I. Allan I don’t think ever sat down, and stayed right by the Band organ so nothing would go wrong. The rolls on this recording were donated to the park by Matthew Caulfield from the Smithsonian Museum. All four of us really cared about preserving these wonderful rolls and I am glad we will have them for people to enjoy forever. We tried something new on this recording. The last song on this Album was recorded live on the Carousel while it was turning. Terry ran an extension from inside the center of the machine and dropped it over the edge so I would have power while it was turning. I set up my "studio" in one of the Chariots, and placed two microphones on either side of the head of an outside row horse. Merrick would start the Carousel, Allan manned the organ, and I rode the Carousel for the whole time. The effect we achieved makes you feel as if you are ridding on the Carousel, especially if you wear headphones. We actually recorded a half hour of music this way. I was fine until I got off at the end, and then I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand. Of course Merrick thought this was quite funny. Please visit Seabreeze Park and experience this NEW and wonderful Merry Go Round and Band Organ! They are TRULY a Work of Art and a tribute to Mr George Long and his family. Dave Kaspersin June 1st, 1998
And this excerpt from an article by Matthew Caulfield in the Mechanical Music Digest Sadly, Merrick Price, Seabreeze’s guardian of the band organ and collaborator with Kaspersin in the recording project, died at the age of 81 on November 12, 1996. There was a memorial service for Merrick at the carousel, the first service I ever attended of its kind. It ended with the carousel being operated empty and silently for one ride in Merrick’s memory, then the band organ was turned on (to "Wedding of the Winds") and all the mourners were invited to ride. At the service I learned that Merrick and Dave Kaspersin had begun recording the new Verbeeck replica 165 band organ in order to continue the series of Seabreeze music CD’s.
John Bilotta of Bilotta Enterprises introduced me to Merrick Price and started my life in a new and magical direction. I was John’s partner and together we operated the games in the arcade at Seabreeze Park. Merrick took a likeing to me and would spend a lot of time teaching me all about amusement parks, rides, electronics, and especially Merry Go Rounds and Band Organs. If you think an amusement park is a magic place you are right, but what goes on behind the scene is even more magic. And its people like Merrick who create that magic. Merrick was a genius of a man, who truly enjoyed what he did. He was an inventor, and could come up with a way to make anything magic happen. Right up to the last time I saw him he had a beautiful twinkle in his eye. He was the first one at the park every morning (right after seven am breakfast) and I would have a hard time keeping up with him. When Seabreeze installed the new Quantum Loop Coaster Merrick couldn’t wait to give Jackie and I a tour. Of course the tour included a walk to the top. When we were almost at the top Merrick said " Oh Dear, not all of the steps are in yet, but we can jump over the hole". I had a broken arm in a cast at the time or I would have done it. The point I’m making is that at 78 he was still not afraid of anything. He was also on the coaster for the first test run. I could go on about Merrick for hours, so many nice memories. There have been many times in my life when I have been sad, but of the three times I have been the most sad, number two was the day PTC 36 died, and three was the day Merrick died. Dave Kaspersin
A nearly forty year friendship with Merrick Price recalls many pleasant moments, plus a few frustrating ones. An example is the Spring of the early 90’s when it was discovered the roof of the Carousel building had leaked directly over the Band Organ (this was only a couple of years after we had rebuilt it) causing major damage to the chests and player mechanism. With a disgusted look on his face he stoically remarked, wouldn’t you know it would leak on the Organ and not the floor! He quickly helped me completely dismantle the organ and bring the damaged parts back to my shop for rebuilding. The damage was undone and the organ played well for a number of years until the devastating fire which destroyed it along with the beloved PTC#36 Carousel and much more of the Park. But despite this terrible setback he was always optimistic. He was delighted when the new Carousel, building and horses were being created. He was anxious to show me the progress on every aspect of this huge project. He was so proud and happy when the Carousel and new Verbeek Organ began operating in June of 1997. The last few days I spent with Merrick was in the early Fall of 1997 when Dave Kaspersin of Dynamic Recording Studios spent several days taping the music of the new organ for this CD. Merrick’s enthusiasm was evident as he helped choose some of his favorite rolls, though unknown to us his health was failing. Several months later he left us, too soon. Merrick’s love of Sea Breeze Park was only surpassed by his family & his faith. I still miss him - a fine, caring gentlemen. I Still can see him whizzing around the Park in his golf cart............ Alan Mueller
Dave, Thank you for the Brass Ring. There are many of us who go through this life trying to catch the brass ring. Of all the people I have known, I believe my Uncle Bud caught the brass ring early in life and held onto it until his death. I don't know many people who enjoyed life and other people as much as he did. I still remember my first visit to the park and how he couldn't wait to take me on the Jack Rabbit. When my wife and I brought Aunt Phyllis out to see the new Carousel dedicated, he still had that same twinkle in his eye and couldn't wait to take us down to see the new building and Carousel. The tape and the ring will help keep that memory alive. Thank you Deane Price WindRiver Systems 781-364-2013
Just wanted to tell you all how happy I am with the new cd Carousel Memories I recieved the cd yesterday in the mail and listened to it last night and on my way to work today. I myself a owner of a large band organ built on the Wurlitzer 165 scale, truly appreciates hearing a fabulous recording of a band organ. When the first song was playing, it sounded as if my band organ was playing right in the living room. Just wanted to thank you again for providing us band organ lovers a fine recording. Sincerely, Rick McDowell Liberty, Missouri
Another favorable mention of your CD on today's Mechanical Music Digest: "I just received a new copy of the Seabreeze Park Verbeeck CD. If you are interested in a total carousel experience and not just an organ recording, this CD is also for you. If you close your eyes during the final song, you would swear you are there riding the thing. Go to: Dave Haibach
Hello Dave well I finally got the time to sit down relax and listen too the new carousel CD it is wonderful I took this time to get out my photo album with merricks photo by my side we both listened and totally enjoyed the CD. I cant thank you enough for the great gift of this music. And that as I know Merrick he would be so proud of your great creations and as the last play came on I put on my headphones and as the music moved me I also felt moved as if to be going around in melodic circles of the good old days . with my best friend by my side . THANK YOU DAVID FROM BOTH OF US TERENCE FURLONG>>>MERRICK B. PRICE Deb & Terry Furlong
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