Last week, I received my copy of the Old-Time Music Preservation Association's newsletter, The Old Piano Roll News. And, unlike previously copies of this quarterly publication, this quarter's edition came in two pieces.
The first piece was the actual newsletter. (This time, the main article in there sang the praises of this year's World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest and Festival.)
The second piece was a letter from the man who cooked up the Memorial Day weekend event, none other than Ted Lemen.
It was a good news-bad news situation.
The bottom line was: OTPP, which just got through having its 40th iteration (and first at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria, IL), is gasping for breath.
When I read Ted's letter, I felt stunned.
I didn't even know the contest was sick...let alone on its death bed.
Attendance was down from 2013 (the second and last year the C&F took place at Peoria's Sheraton Four Points Hotel), not as many people attended the Saturday night event called "Dinner with the Champion" or the Monday morning Red, White, and Blue Brunch, and not as many people purchased contest T-shirts or other OTPP souvenirs.
But revenue was down from last year...and that was enough for Ted to take emergency measures to rescue this one-of-a-kind event.
He's looking for solutions to take to the OMPA board next time the association convenes.
If you've got any answers to making sure there'll be a 41st annual Old-Time Piano Contest and Festival (and MANY more), call Ted at 815 922-3827 and/or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you love old-time piano, now's your chance to let 'em know!