Ray Scheffy knows a thing or two about player pianos.
“I can’t play it, but I can turn it on,” he said.
When Ray wasn’t catching on quick enough as a young boy, his piano teacher asked him to quit. He did, but his love of the instrument stayed and he found another way to make beautiful music.
If you have an appointment, Ray will take you on a tour of his Lehigh Valley home, which also acts as the third largest museum of its kind in Pennsylvania.
Ray built his home, known as the Musical Memories Museum, around his private collection. The ceiling upstairs was designed to be flat until a pipe organ came along. He switched the design to cathedral ceilings to accommodate it.
He gives tours, because, as Scheffy said, “Just to have people around and see what mostly people haven’t even heard of this stuff to begin with and here they can actually see it and hear it.”
There’s more than 3,000 square feet of musical machines, and to add to the charm, there are quirky odds and ends from the same eras scattered in between.
If you ask Ray who the folks are in the photos that adorn the tops of the pianos, he’ll tell you there’s no relation, but they do go with the decor.
He’s been collecting since he was 10. An antique wooden kitchen clock was his first piece.
Ray is an electrician by trade, and he couldn’t play piano, but he could figure out how to fix most anything.
“Almost all my life I was in business for myself and I got into a lot of houses and that’s, you know, people had stuff they wanted to get rid of and I didn’t know what to do with it,” he said.
Ray would take pieces home and, more often than not, restore them to their original glory.
Pianos, organs, Victrolas, jukeboxes, music boxes, radios, and old TVs. There’s a lot of joy as you follow Ray around. They are treasured pieces from an era gone by when listening to a little music was enough.