were headed for the next, little town, Tivoli. But as we passed through the small hamlet of Picture Rocks, I couldn’t help but wonder why it had such
a unique name. It didn’t take me long to learn that it is so named for pictographs that were left, many moons ago, by Native Americans when they inhabited this
Muncy Creek valley.
If you stay on the main thoroughfare, you miss seeing the cliffs that surround this valley and it’s on these stones that the pictures were drawn, but long since have disappeared. The town is built upon land that was once a Munsee Indian village. Evidence of this is seen in the arrowheads and other relics that have been found in the vicinity of the creek. In the 1800’s the town prospered when manufacturers arrived to harness the water power provided by Muncy Creek. Today, businesses still line the main street.
Approximately, 700 people reside here in 274 households.
We are fortunate to live in Northeastern PA where interesting, small towns abound around nearly every curve of the road. I know even less about Tivoli, except that the Tivoli Methodist Church stood, for many years, so close to the highway that passing tractor trailers occasionally tore off the corner of the
building’s cornices. Today, the congregation continues to worship in the same building, but it has been moved to the other side of the road. This small church, now nestles among trees on a spacious piece of ground. It was our destination.
We pulled Carousel Melodies’ truck and trailer onto the grounds, right along side the church pavilion. By now, many of you know that inside the trailer is a band organ constructed by my husband and named “Shirl Belle,” after you-know-who. We were invited by Deb Stackhouse to entertain for the Christian Ladies League. After researching the history behind many of the old songs played by the band organ, we have originated a rather
unique “show” featuring more than music. As the band plays on and we’re dressed appropriately for the era the band organ represents, we lead sing-alongs, talk of the period in history and display memorabilia of that time. We get everyone to join in a John Philip Sousa’s march and pay respect to our country as the song, “God
Bless America” ends the program.
My Victorian boots always draw many comments, as does the baton my
husband made me to use as I lead the marching. All this is done in fun and this particular group of ladies and gentlemen enjoyed every moment of the event, willingly singing and marching. My husband always reminds everyone that I was a majorette in high school. However, what twirling routines of the baton, I once knew, are nearly forgotten, as are the pair of boots I wore those many years ago.
” Shirl Belle,” the band organ, plays the original songs that in the early 1900’s were heard in skating rinks and as most people remember them, on merry-go-rounds. These songs have been scanned and preserved for people to enjoy today. The music is called “happy music” and proves to
be just that. When the band organ starts playing, people invariably smile and forget troubling times. It took my husband, Burl, who has always loved pipe organs, nine years to built the organ, a replica of a Wurlitzer Military Band organ, and he still continues to hand-construct more pipes. When organs of this type became popular they replaced live bands at many events. Shirl Belle has a mechanical, hand-carved band leader, is sturdily
built, and it truly does play on and on, and on. And, we are the ones who travel from town to town, sometimes out of state, so others can enjoy it, too. (And we get to see the smiling faces, hear their expressions of joyfulness, and their memories of riding the merry-go-round.)
Do you have a favorite event you travel to see and hear? I’d love to hear from you.