People active in the silent era and people who keep the silent era alive.
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Bob Salisbury started piano lessons at a very early age and, by the time he was 13, he had taken theatre organ lessons from Gaylord Carter. He moved with his family to Catalina Island when he was 15. When he showed up at the door of the casino to ask to play the Avalon Theatre’s organ, the casino manager was kind enough to give Bob his first chance at playing the 4/16 Page. That began a life-long love of the instrument.
A year later, he was hired to play the organ in the Jade Pagoda Restaurant. The Alcoholic Beverage Control became upset that a 16-year-old was playing in a bar, so the restaurant owner solved the problem by knocking a hole in the wall and moving the organ bench into the dining room. Bob was in the dining room on the bench and the organ was in the bar! With additional study, Bob began playing-for three churches on the island. They scheduled their services so that a cab could pick Bob up as he finished at one church and take him to the next.
In 1964, Bob left the island for the mainland where he played the organ at the 488 Keys nightclub in Redondo Beach. In 1971, after a nine-year gig at the nightclub, he traveled to Europe where he was able to play many of the major cathedral organs for fun and the experience. In 1973, Bob went to work for Princess Cruise Lines playing piano, traveling throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. In 1979, he returned to Catalina where he worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department and resumed playing the Page, and continued to play for the weekend movies and special events.
Bob and his wife Mary retired in 2001 and moved to Running Springs, California. Retirement doesn’t mean slowing down. He spends as mach time as allows in his dream music room in his home rehearsing on his Rodgers organ and Roland Atelier. Bob is associated with Robert Tall and Associates as product manager, teaching new users of Rodgers and Roland instruments. Bob’s wife is also associated with Robert Tall and associates as a special events coordinator.
References: Bob Salisbury.