It’s still cold in Chicago!!

Tuesday, June 16th 2009

Thank heaven I packed heavy long sleeved shirts. It’s still cold in Chicago!!

Greetings from the Windy City, where I am writing this edition of the blog. I left Florida in sunshine and low 90-degree temperatures, only to land in Chicago in sunshine and low 60-degree temperatures!!! Would somebody tell Mayor Daley it’s summer! He controls everything else up here, he could certainly do something about the weather.

As I write to you we are just a couple of weeks away from the convention in the Cleveland and northeast Ohio area. I am happy to report that the convention attendance numbers are very encouraging. We were concerned about what the economy might do to overall attendance, but the splendid theatres, and the “newness” of this area, were obvious selling points to our membership, as it appears we will top 450 attendees, a spectacular number considering what might have been.

It is going to be a wonderful convention musically. And there is some very exciting news to be announced in Cleveland. No fewer than three new ventures will be announced…and perhaps as many as five. Keep an eye on this space, and the website in general for news, and of course, there will be a full report on convention activity in Theatre Organ later in the year.

Of course, for those of you who have been on the fence, there IS STILL TIME to make your plans to attend! And you can register with just a few clicks on the mouse right here on the ATOS website.

Attention to those in these chapters: Manasota, Garden State, Atlanta, Motor City and Orange County. In conjunction with your local chapter presidents and local board leadership, we have launched an initiative to bring some of your “local only” members into our ATOS family. Letters have been written to hundreds of those who have joined the local chapter, but not ATOS.

We ask our members in those chapters to “talk up” and sell ATOS, and join us in this effort to reverse the declining membership numbers. This is just one step in an effort to increase overall membership. And it is the step that makes the most sense in that those who received letters are already involved at one level. Let’s hope they see all the good things going, and join the national organization as well. Also, Dairyland chapter rounds out our top six experimental chapters in this program. Those members will receive their letters shortly.

We will take some time to evaluate the effectiveness of this effort, and proceed from there. Our sincere thanks to Tom Garver of Dairyland for taking the lead in this effort, on behalf of Board member and committee chair John Apple, and Atlanta member John McCall, who also assisted.

I am in the midst of an interesting trip. A stop in Chicago includes a visit to a grant writing and fund raising center with lots of good information on how ATOS can help itself in this area. I am performing in Indianapolis with the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra, and a young man named Laney Wilson. He is just 18, just out of high school, and was the third place finisher in the national Michael Feinstein Competition. This new venture sponsored by the famous pianist/crooner is basically a search for new young talent who will continue to perform music of the Great American Songbook. Young Mr. Wilson has great talent, and it will be a thrill to share the stage with him.

My last stop on the trip is in Cincinnati, where Ron Wehmeier is putting the finishing touches on the new installation of the Albee Theatre Wurlitzer in the Grand Ballroom of the Cincinnati Music Hall. The organ is owned by the Ohio Valley chapter, and offers a fresh start for this wonderful organ and a chapter that can now rally around its instrument in its new home.

So, more good news and more good stuff happening for ATOS. I look forward to seeing many of you in Cleveland. I will report back after the convention!

Ken Double
June 2009