October 8, 2012

Saturday, October 13th 2012

It’s getting’ cold around here!

 Greetings from back home in Atlanta, where temperatures have fallen, the air conditioning has been turned off, and indeed, a bit of Fall is in the air. There is some business to catch up on.
ATOS has several candidates from which to choose with regards to the recently-posted IT position. The website is moving slowly ahead…perhaps a tad too slowly but rather move methodically and get it right than quickly and stumble again.
More on this soon. Meanwhile, not as many candidates for the position of Grant Writer, and we will sort through that soon as well.
For the membership, later this month, ATOS will conduct its Financial Review. This process will find board Chairman Bob Dilworth, board member Tim Needler, CPA Joe Graif, and ATOS members at-large (David Tuck and MaryAnn Dilworth) working with Treasurer Mike Hutcherson to review financial procedures, record-keeping and other financial matters to ensure that ATOS’ financial operations are running properly. This exercise, instituted by former Chairman COL. Mike Hartley, is aimed at letting the membership know that sound practices and procedures are in place with regards to ATOS finances. The organization will undergo a full audit in the future.
I recently had the opportunity to visit with three different groups during a swing to the north. Kingston, Ontario, Canada is home to the Kingston Theatre Organ Society and its great Kimball pipe organ. Roy Young and his board and staff hold forth there and produce a fine series of concerts. 
Later met with John Struve and many with the Toronto Theatre Organ Society including the new director of the Casa Loma, who expresses a GREAT interest in the Wurlitzer theatre organ and is instituting new policies and procedures to find ways to better use and promote the instrument. This is exciting as the wonderful castle draws thousands and thousands every year. It would be great to have the organ heard more often, and management is open to ideas, starting perhaps as soon as this upcoming holiday season.
I also stopped in North Tonowonda, NY and the Riviera Theatre where Executive Director Frank Cannatta had a most pleasant surprise during a recent show there. British actor Hugh Laurie (of House, M.D. TV show fame) is also a singer-performer-musician. He was touring with his blues/jazz band and the Riv was one stop. And Laurie, keyboardist and guitarist who studied piano in his youth, made a bee-line for the famous “painted ladies” and the Wurlitzer console.
He fell in love with the organ. Played so long his band had to pull him off the bench to get him to rehearse and go through the sound-check.
Then, without fanfare, he quietly performed a 30-minute pre-show mini-concert on the organ while in the pit, without spotlight. At the end, he brought up the console and took a bow to the delight and surprise of the audience who had no earthly clue that the organist was actually the TV star and the star of that night’s music performance.
Check Cannatta’s Facebook page or the theatre’s website for pics of Laurie seated at the Mighty Wurlitzer. A simple “google” search will get you to Buffalo.com and a review of the night with great things to say about the Wurlitzer. Gotta follow up on this one!!!! J
Spread the word. Put your thinking caps on. Where do you think there are potential venues to house theatre pipe organs? Not pie-in-the-sky “hope-for, wish-for,” but actual auditoriums with management amenable to the idea!
As of this writing, there is talk of organ-installation interest here in Georgia; in Florida; in Oregon; and another western state where there have been discussions. Where else?? One of our GREAT challenges in the future – of many – is finding appropriate homes for instruments. And this search is up to ALL of us to keep our eyes and ears open.
Ideas? Obviously – any municipality with serious intentions of restoring a former movie theatre. Also, any school district building a new high school, or a new auditorium for a school – particularly if that district is building a new school specifically aimed at performing arts. These exist all over the country, more in major metropolitan areas.
There is no doubt that ATOS has several members who would dearly love to make a possible donation of an instrument as long as it might find a good home where the public would enjoy the organ.
The next journal is about a month away, with a whole bunch of good reading!! This will include a great list of “Thank You’s” for those who have made donations in the recent past.
The organization has also been the recipient of yet another Estate Planning Gift, more than $30,000, specifically earmarked for the Endowment Fund, as our members continue to think of ATOS’ long-range future. Again, details in the Nov-Dec issue of Theatre Organ.
Stoke the furnace; light a fire; launder the jammies and the woolies. It’s getting to be that time of the year in some places, and there will be more to report again soon.