At Pine Island Camp we are always learning new ways to live happily without using electricity. One thing we miss sometimes is listening to recorded music. Up until a few years ago campers were able to listen to 78 rpm jazz records played on a Victrola record player. However, inevitably rough use over the years disabled the ancient machine, and we were ready to accept its demise. Then Emily Swan took to the internet and discovered Victrola Repair Services (!) is located a short drive from Sumner Ford’s home in Richmond, VT. Sumner transported the machine to St. Johnsbury and on a recent trip to Vermont Ben Swan picked up the fully repaired and restored Victrola.
Chatting with the proprietor of VRS in his house filled with Victrolas in various states of repair and restoration, Ben learned that Pine Island’s particular machine was built in 1913 when PIC was just 11 years old. The Victrola is now in the Swans’ living room in Brunswick, ME, awaiting transport to the island. Several years ago a friend of the camp left his extensive and pristine collection of 78 rpm records to us. It is such a fine collection that we didn’t want to leave all the records in Honk Hall. Alumnus and jazz aficionado John Bunker agreed to keep the collection safe at his house in Palermo, ME. We kept a few classics for the boys to listen to, and should they, just by chance, get broken, John will replenish the stock. Also, of course, it is not hard to find 78s on line.
2020 Pine Islanders will be able to enjoy some great music any time up in Honk Hall. Just crank it up! Hint: if you want to turn up the volume, open the doors at the front of the Victrola.