President's Message
September 2008

1.  A carousel organ piping out "The Sidewalks of New York" snapped the quiet at the Morris Museum in New York. As a chaser, an oak-fronted behemoth going by the name Rex Orchestrion boomed out a symphonic arrangement of Vincent Youmans's "Sing Halleluja." Just think of it as a fanfare for "Musical Machines and Living Dolls," a new permanent exhibibtion celebrating the Hon. Murtogh D. Guinness's expansive collection of mechanical instruments and automata. Unlike some collectors, Mr. Guinness, an heir to the Anglo-Irish brewery fortune, had the wherewithal, the taste and the time to locate and buy the best. There are instruments small (an early-19th century Swiss-made gold ring that plays an Alpine folk melody), practical (a music box with clock and calendar) and whimsical (a musical ink well). His singular passion grew out of a boyhood trip to Paris, where he bought his first automaton, a pop-up singing bird, and was irretrievably hooked. Ultimately, the fruits of 60 years of collection filled two townhouses on Manhattan's Upper east Side. Toward the end of his life, Mr. Guinness was forced to become increasingly selective about the evening's entertainment. "He was relegated to listening to his loudest instruments," said collection's curator Jeremie Ryder, "because he'd gotten hearing-impaired." NYT 17Ap08

2.  It is with sadness that I report the passing of Joel Cohen's wife Mary. She frequently attended BAS meetings with Joel and was friends with several BAS members. Joel is known to many as the founder of Sound Concepts which manufactured some of the first affordable surround sound processors for home use. He also has done many reviews for car audio magazines.

Mary Cohen, wife of member Joel Cohen, died peacefully on August 27th. Mary and Joel had celebrated 50 years of marriage in March. They had no children and she left only Joel and an older brother, Bill. She was happy to have known many local BAS members. Mary studied at the Boston Museum school of Art and was an artist who concentrated on fantastic miniatures and needlework art of all kinds. Joel would be happy to show her work to anyone willing to visit him in Rindge, NH. She was also an accomplished pianist and sung for two seasons in the Handel and Haydn Choral Society.

Mary was appropriately born on Valentines day in 1935. Her death was due to the effects of COPD. In her memory, Joel asks only that BAS members who still smoke or have ever smoked, stop, and read up on and get tested for COPD. It is an insidious, unstoppable and debilitating, but treatable, disease that usually goes undetected for many years before the effects of the lung damage it does are noticed. It is the eventual cause of death for most.

3.  The Boston Audio Engineering Society Presents "Upgrading the Audio Industry" By Floyd E. Toole. What's right and what's wrong with today's speaker systems? Find out from one of the world's leading authorities of loudspeakers--Tuesday Sept. 9th, 7pm, Lyons Hall, Boston College. Directions (you want the Chestnut Hill campus). Parking is available in the Commonwealth Ave lot.

4.  For BAS members out of town we have a special offer for Jazz lovers. A package of 30 Jazz CDs, randomly picked from Ira Leonard's collection, for $22 including shipping in the USA. To order, send a check, made out to "Boston Audio Society", to David Hadaway, POB 460, Rindge NH 03461. These were donated to the Society by Ira's brother, Joe Leonard.

President, Boston Audio Society

email me HERE


The Boston Audio Society
PO BOX 260211
Boston MA 02126

problems? email Barry:

updated 10/10/08