During the 76 years of its existence the association appeared before the federal and provincial governments regarding the imposition of tariffs, excise taxes, sales taxes, import taxes, freight rates, etc, and to that end it systematically collected statistical data from its members to support its submissions and briefs.
Membership fluctuated, reflecting conditions in the industry, and included at various times companies in Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario, the majority of members coming from the last-named province. Piano manufacturers outnumbered organ manufacturers and included such companies as Amherst Piano Co; Craig Piano Co; Doherty; Evans Bros; Gourlay, Winter & Leeming; Mason & Risch; Nordheimer; Pratte; Stanley Pianos; Williams; and Weber.
There were 23 member-companies in 1914 and 17 in 1927. However, following the curtailment of activities and loss of members during the Depression, membership was broadened first to include firms who manufactured supplies and parts for the industry and later to include distributors of pianos and/or organs in Canada. Yet in 1965 only 10 companies were members, and by 1973 only 4 of these were manufacturers - Heintzman, Lesage, Sherlock-Manning, and Willis.
Presidents were elected annually and all meetings were held in Toronto except in 1923 and 1930 when the annual meetings took place in Montreal.
The Canadian Music Trades Journal reported the activities and meetings of the association 1900-33. In 1924 its editor, John A. Fullerton, became the permanent secretary of the organization, succeeding James G. Merrick. Fullerton retired in 1954 and was replaced by Richard Edmunds (who combined the job with his position as secretary of the Canadian Bureau for the Advancement of Music).
The association negotiated agreements with the CNE, beginning in 1906, to administer the allocation, regulation, and supervision of the industry's display space at the annual exhibition.
In 1917 the association, under the guidance of James Fullerton, launched a promotional and educational campaign - 'Music in the Home' - which in 1919 resulted in the founding of the Canadian Bureau for the Advancement of Music. Beginning in 1920 annual financial support for the bureau was provided through a levy on each association member, based on the number of pianos sold. This form of support for the bureau continued for the life of the association and agreement to the assessment became a condition of membership. The association was represented on the bureau's board.
In 1975 the members recommended that the association be dissolved and reconstituted as the Keyboard Committee of the MIAC. In 1990 the Keyboard Committee continued to perpetuate the functions of its predecessor. The minute book of the organization for the years 1912-55 has been deposited at the National Library of Canada.
Author Patricia Wardrop
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The website for the Royal Canadian College of Organists, Canada's oldest musicians' association. Features the latest news about events and annual examinations, members' bios and sample scores, and a contents listing for "Organ Canada," the RCCO's Official Journal.