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Legendary Keyboard Luminary Robby Robinson Visits Monrovia’s Church Keyboard Center for ‘The Hammond Hang’

The power of music

Story and Photos by Terry Miller

On Saturday Aug. 5, I was invited to an intimate musical afternoon ‘The Hammond Hang’ with an extraordinary musician who has been the musical director and keyboard player for Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons for the past forty years. Alas, that’s just one of his thousands of credits. Vitality and versatility is his DNA…this man is a superstar.

The remarkable experience took place at Church Keyboard Center in Monrovia where Robison was introduced to me by good friend Emiko, another rather extraordinary musician in her own right.

The concept created by Emiko and the late Gregg Gronowski, former Director of Marketing for Hammond Organ USA, is to have top musicians featured in a very intimate setting where you can really get to know what makes these amazing people continue to create and touch so many people all over the world. While at the same time, showcasing one of the world’s greatest instruments, the Hammond organ.

Emiko is the social media marketing guru for the ubiquitous Hammond Organ USA…you know…the people behind celebrated unique sound of the B3 and Leslie speakers. Ask anyone who knows organs and this name is synonymous with style, craftsmanship and pure unadulterated mind-blowing sound that is, simply, Hammond.

The event in Monrovia was the second of its kind for Hammond’s Emiko who acts as liaison for their social media outreach.

During the interview, Robby Robinson shared his deep passion for wearing so many musical hats (just Google him and you’ll see what we mean) … his contributions to the world of music are second to none and incredibly plentiful with some of the top ‘A-list’ artists in the world.

In fact, even if you’re not familiar with the name, you’ll no doubt hear that distinctive Robinson sound on many albums today and from yesteryear. To say the man is prolific is a dire understatement.

At one point during the gig, Robinson asked the audience if anyone remembered Mad Magazine and the mascot Alfred E. Nueman’s famous line …” What, Me Worry?” Robinson said Mad Magazine and the Bible had this in common. “There is no need to worry…” he said. Robinson has a firm belief in the Lord and it was perhaps even more fitting that the performance Saturday was held at the Church Keyboard Center.

Robinson was in town to display the amazing versatility of the new digital Hammond products, particularly the XK-5 and SK-1 which are available at the Church Keyboard Center.

The casual and relaxed afternoon gelled together perfectly as Nelson Dodge, President of Church Keyboard Center and Emiko described their outreach efforts. It really is a win-win for both Hammond and Church Organ Center.

You never know who’s going to show up at unique intimate gigs {or Hammong Hangs, as they like to call it} like the one on Saturday. While we were chatting away with Robby Robinson, a sunglasses be speckled. Gary Swan appeared … he’s worked with Etta James, Supremes among many other notables. No wonder he’s connected with the soulful sound of the Hammond organ. That was a nice added touch.

“We are so pleased to be working with Church Keyboard Center in Monrovia. Having a long time dealer relationship with them and having them be the “studio” home base for HTV, we are delighted that, collectively, we can bring even more artist programming to the community by way of the Hammond Hang, which will extend the opportunity for musicians and music lovers alike to meet and learn from their favorite Hammond artists,” Phu Nguyen, Hammond Organ USA’s Executive Vice President told Monrovia Weekly.

Nelson Dodge explained that the Church Keyboard Center has been in Monrovia now for two years after a stint in Pasadena. The Center is most unique and will be the subject of a forthcoming article.

In September, there will be another Hammond Hang with Dr. Gayle Serdan, ‘white woman playing black music.’

Hammond Organ USA: www.hammondorganco.com; Church Keyboard Center: www.churchkeyboard.com; Robby Robinson: www.robbyrobinson.com (featured 8/5 artist); Emiko: www.emikomusic.com (host and Hammond artist); Dr. Gayle Serdan (upcoming featured 9/9 artist): www.drgayleserdan.com)

August 8, 2017

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2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Legendary Keyboard Luminary Robby Robinson Visits Monrovia’s Church Keyboard Center for ‘The Hammond Hang’”

  1. Nelson says:

    Always a pleasure to hear pro players like Robby Robinson, Gary Swan, Emiko…thanks Terry Miller for the nice article about our store. Monrovia, home of Hammond organs and more…
    Our next Hammond hang is with educator Dr Gayle Serdan. Sat. Sept 9, 1pm Open to public. Space is limited.
    Please RSVP to Nelson@churchkeyboard.com

    • Terry Miller says:

      My pleasure, Nelson: It was great meeting you and everyone. Good luck with the store…you have an amazing music business, the greatest organs I’ve ever seen!

      Until Next time,


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