A Hot Time at the Firehouse

Saturday, December 7th 2013

Ice cold and snow, but hot music in a hot location. That's one way to describe my latest wanderings, this time back to Indiana. Dick and Linda Wilcox, the owners of Uniflex 3000 relay systems, moved to delightful Union City, IN, so named because the state line dividing Indiana and Ohio runs right through the heart of town. (Not unlike another theatre organ friendly town, Bristol, TN).

Ingratiating themselves into the community immediately, the organ-loving couple bought the old fire house, and soon Dick was at work installing a three-manual Page organ, and creating quite a musical stir in the community. Friday night, December 6th, I had the privilege of performing the inaugural formal concert, a fund-raiser for the area's Preservation Society, and a program called "Shop with a Cop" which pairs young children with a local police officer, with donated dollars allowing the kids to do some Christmas shopping for loved ones who might otherwise not have a gift under a tree. Great concept!!

The fire house is split in half...the back half housing Dick's 3/11 Page, and his "shop." This organ is the experimental instrument upon which Dick develops his new concepts for the Uniflex relay systems. I told our audience they were in the theatre organ world's answer to "Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory."

More than 60 brave souls sat in the front half (it can comfortably seat about 80 for a concert), which has become somewhat of a community center. Brave in that they fought off frigid temperatures and a snowstorm to enjoy the evening of musical entertainment, and get an "up close and personal" look and listen to this musical wonder. Plexi-glass shutters from the old Paramount Music Palace in Indianapolis allow listeners to see what makes it tick. It's a fun organ to play. We had a great time. And did some good in this small town that has a great interest in art, music, preservation and community spirit.

Sunday I have the pleasure of getting reacquainted with one of my favorite instruments - the 3/18 Barton at the Warren Performing Arts Center, where I will join my friends in the Central Indiana Chapter for their annual holiday chapter meeting. Business in Lafayette and in Chicago will conclude this trip, and thank heaven. I've logged tens of thousands of travel miles since September, and will be happy to be home for a while.

The ATOS board meets this Wednesday night by conference call with a busy agenda as we move toward the major mid-year meeting.

I hope you are enjoying the holidays...surviving the crazy weather that seems to be everywhere...and we will chat in the forum again soon.

Ken Double