Some good news on the Violano Virtuoso front: Laura Thompson, executive director of the Pleasant Home Foundation says she got a call recently from the Mills Novelty Co. That's right, the company started by Herbert Mills, whose family donated Pleasant Home to the Park District of Oak Park way back in 1930, still exists. According to their website (www.millsnovelty.com), they're "introducing the first new product for the Mills Violano Virtuoso in over 60 years." It's called the "Mills Digital Player System," which "interfaces with any Mills Violano Virtuoso, allowing these exciting antique machines to operate with or without rolls."
And this $10,000 device is being donated by the owners of the company to interface with Pleasant Home's future Violano. Thompson said they heard about Jasper Sanfilippo's donation to Pleasant Home and wanted to be part of bringing Mills' amazing invention back to his former home.
Now all they need is some help raising the $15,000 it will cost to restore the Violano to its original working condition. But fundraising has been slow, Thompson said. Call 383-2654 if you want to be part of reviving Oak Park's musical heritage.