November 14, 2012

Wednesday, November 14th 2012

Greetings from a growing-chillier-every-day-Atlanta, GA.

 I am going to cover a wide variety of topics on this blog – some of the usual casual/personal variety, and some of official variety.
My travels of late have been interesting and productive, including confirmation of yet another Estate Planning Gift pledged to ATOS. That’s two in the last three months, and a growing list to add to those listed in your most recent issue of Theatre Organ.
One stop included a trip to Indiana and a visit to what I have long called “my musical home,” the Long Center in Lafayette, IN. I call it that because way back in 1978, I played a fund-raising concert on an electronic organ in what was still the old Mars Theatre. Gads, the place was in disrepair, there was water all over the floor in the basement, there was one single ORIGINAL switch on the old lighting board (circa 1921) that gave you either all lights or no lights in the house. But we wheeled a three-manual Conn onto the stage and played for about 200 people, which began the effort to install what is now a 3/21 Wurlitzer. Thirty annual concerts later (dating to June 1982), and I still get a thrill playing the now-restored Long Center.
For the first time, I accompanied WINGS, and it was a lot of work but a lot of fun.
What a great movie to play as it encompasses every emotion, all kinds of action, and brings about a palpable response from the audience throughout. Particularly at the end with the death scene, and that last visit to the dead pilot’s mother and father.
Lots of fun and now I look forward to an opportunity to do it again.
Meanwhile, good news from New Orleans. The Saenger Theatre restoration is underway, and it will be spectacular. City officials hope for a grand re-opening in September of 2013.
Now, the Robert-Morton organ, a 4/26, will not be ready for that date. But a serious plan is in place for raising the funds to renovate the instrument and the organ is both physically and musically in the plans for the future – right down to keeping the console on its own, separate lift, and in the pit! So many have said this Morton might have been the most thrilling of them all (or is that just the local pride bursting forth?), but whatever…a great theatre organ will be heard once again. We’ll just all have to be a bit patient.
Kudos to Dr. Barry Henry. He had a major collection of Saenger Theatre memorabilia, much of it put to good use as architects and planners used Dr. Henry’s historical valuables to recreate rug samples, seating samples and more to help make this theatre restoration as authentic as possible.
Theatre Organ Radio has had some recent ups and downs, but the indefatigable Steve Worthington has things under control. ATOS has a new partner in production and the transfer generated some issues, but it appears things are settled. And in terms of the budget, the new deal is extremely cost effective, saving thousands for ATOS.
You will soon receive two important pieces of information in the mail. One is a ballot question involving voting rights of the individual members of the ATOS Board of Directors. This will demand your vote and a return of the ballot. Please pay close attention to this important matter, as your vote indeed counts!
Meanwhile along with that notice is a reminder that it is time for nominations for those who would run for the board. The deadline is January 15th if you wish to run, or if you know someone you wish to nominate.
Also coming up in January, the first information about the Atlanta convention. Look for a story in the journal on the Fabulous Fox Theatre, and we hope you will make your plans to enjoy some southern hospitality, Mighty Mo style! (Among others!!!)
More travels to come. I have trips to polar opposite locations, and I do mean polar! Upcoming runs to the Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport will find me headed to Florida (hooray) and to Minneapolis-St. Paul (bbrrrrrrrrrrr!!). Gotta get a new travel agent!!
Take care. Happy Thanksgiving! Sign up a new member for ATOS, or get someone a gift membership for Christmas!! That is one way to grow the organization.
I’ll holler soon!!
Ken Double