Wednesday, February 25th 2009


I counted dates on the calendar the other day, and once February 28th hits, it will signal the end of a 41-day stretch, of which I will have spent 32 on the road. At times, I wonder why I pay rent!

But the travel is enlightening, heartening, mostly fun, and very worthwhile. In January and February, I have had the opportunity to touch base on the following:

  • Get a first-hand look at the work being done at Macy’s/Philadelphia on the Wurlitzer being installed in Greek Hall.
  • Help complete the ATOS funding commitment to that project, and aid in acquiring funds to add an automated record/playback system to that instrument, vital to its success in its new surroundings.
  • Visit with Bob Dilworth and the Board at Dickinson in Wilmington, DE as they set about creating a brand new ATOS chapter there.
  • Visit with NYTOS chapter President John Valentino in New York City.
  • Meet with officials at Allen Organ company about a new project for ATOS.
  • Travel to the Thomaston Opera House and play the chapter’s 48th birthday party, and discuss issues with that chapter in a healthy Q and A session.
  • Meet with members of the Central Indiana Chapter’s concert committee to discuss programming for a more general audience appeal.
  • Perform with the 101st Army Band at the Denver Paramount Theatre, before an audience of more than 1800 in attendance.
  • Attend the re-dedication concert of the newly-renovated Wurlitzer at San Gabriel, played to a most-appreciative full house.
  • Meet with officials at the Atlanta Fox Theatre to discuss a wide array of topics aimed at both national exposure for the theatre organ, and the formation of a theatre-managers-group that can help us “sell” other managers on greater uses of the their instruments.

I also did a little count. During all this travel, I boarded at least 15 different aircraft, including rides on two “prop-jets” (didn’t think any of the major airlines – even with their puddle-hoppers – were still flying anything run by propellers!!!), and only had one minor mishap. During a change in Houston, the flight to Denver was delayed due to mechanical failure. I marvel at those who moan and groan when getting off a plane to wait for another aircraft. I mean really! Would you rather be on one that has a mechanical problem, or would you rather go up and down just like you’re supposed to??!!!!! I, for one, prefer landing properly on runways as opposed to rivers.

Congratulations are in order for our friends in Rochester, NY. They staged a weekend series of concerts in February in partnership with the AGO. The final program was presented on the Wurlitzer at the Auditorium Theatre, and was recorded for later playback on Michael Barone’s famous Pipedreams radio program heard nationwide.

Very slowly, in one small pocket after another, we find the relationship between the theatre organ fans/ATOS and our counterparts in AGO growing in a positive manner. I have often jokingly referred to our more classical-oriented friends as believing that the theatre organ is “the crazy uncle in the corner” of the pipe organ world.

Fortunately, programs such as those in Rochester and what is being planned for the closing concert at the ATOS convention (and the opening concert of the OHS convention) in Cleveland are doing much to break down barriers and open lines of communication. This is a VERY good thing.

We are all fans of a very tiny niche of the musical world. And we would be wise to do everything we can to promote all of the programming on pipe organs, not just the programs to which our own individual and particular tastes are drawn.

A final note: election ballots have been mailed. We have eight outstanding candidates running for the ATOS Board. This is quite a wonderful change from last year’s election. I encourage you to look over the ballot, vote for those you believe will best serve ATOS, and participate in our process of helping ATOS grow.

Hopefully, I will eat more meals at home, and board fewer aircraft, in March!!

‘Til next time,
Ken Double