"Spirit of Independence" - A New Orchestrion
by Craig Brougher
 

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The "Spirit of Independence" (known as SofI -- pronounced 'Sophie') was built entirely by Craig Brougher of  Independence, Missouri.  

The glass was created by Brian Lewis, and is reminiscent of an 1890's "Concert in the Park" -- a pure Americana pastime. The case is made of American walnut, and the case design is primarily "Federal."  

The instrument has 16 live percussions and effects:  10 pipe ranks with 252 pipes, piano, xylophone, orchestra bells, mandolin effect, and expression effects, with special lighting effects. It is pre-fabricated and designed to ship and assemble on site. It has two alternating spool frames for playing O-rolls and also a MIDI controller, and is gaining a music library especially arranged for her.  It also has an interactive remote box, which allows a listener to add his own live sound effects, change lighting, percussion, or switch pipe ranks as it plays. 

Capable of playing any combination of percussion or pipe ranks instantly, it can create large tonal color with great expression and power. It is equally at home with any type or style of music, with little or no musical compromises usually required in arrangements;  its speed and repetition is due to reliable old-fashioned pneumatics and vacuum valves common to all player pianos.

The orchestrion was designed to be easily accessible, easily tunable, and easily repairable.  It doesn't use solid state components in its design-- only relays and magnet valves --  so it is insensitive to electrical storms and will be very repairable and reliable generations from now.

Craig Brougher
Independence  MO

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08 October 1999