The Bentley Farmers’ Market will have a special feature this summer that is sure to attract the attention of young and old alike.
Carlo Klemm, also known as Capt. Red, will entertain the crowd at the July 21 market with a German-made street organ, probably the only instrument of its kind in Alberta.
“I am pleased to introduce those from the old country to this musical treat that will bring back memories,” he said.
Klemm said the hand-cranked street organ was introduced in the 18th century as a tiny hand cranked table organ designed to teach song birds how to sing pretty little songs.
The miniature organs or serinettes contain bellows and pipes and a barrel with little pins sticking out of it. When the pins hit the keys, the valves open, letting air go to the pipes.
Klemm said serinettes produce a bird like sound and eventually, organs were built with larger pipes and bellows and interchangeable barrels which produced a fuller sound.
“Today you will see street organ grinders everywhere in Europe. They are interested in maintaining an old tradition, and as soon as spring is there and the street cafes are open, they start playing. This brings a wonderful atmosphere to the downtown core.”
Klemm notes the atmosphere created, reminiscent of Germany in days gone by, when organ grinders piled their trade on the cobblestone streets, can be brought to life at farmers’ markets, heritage events, Oktoberfest celebrations and other similar gatherings.
“It’s a unique European musical experience,” he said, (and) “the street organ or barrel organ could be the only one in the province. In fact, there are probably less than a dozen street organs across Canada.”
Klemm, who lives in Edson is part of Capt. Red Entertainment Services that includes Santa Edson and Capt. Red – Balloon Twister.
Carlo Klemm as Capt. Red is a member of the Carousel Organ Association of America and is the Canada/US agent for Deleika Drehorgelbau, a German manufacturer of the Deleika barrel organs.