We are here for a concert with Jelani Eddington and Ron Rhode. I’ve been to concerts here with Jelani twice before. I have not seen Ron perform in person before. I’m sure both will be great.
Update: Well, that was a treat! It turns out this was a farewell concert performance by Ron Rhode as he is retiring after 45 years. Then, Jelani treated us to a delightful second half. For me, the highlight included a duet that Jelani played on both piano and organ: Tico Tico. Jelani had prerecorded the organ part and he accompanied that live on the Bosendorfer piano. Magnificent!
Time to board the bus again to head to the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles for the next performance.
Just arrived at Barnum Hall at Santa Monica high school, where we will see and hear Alex Jones and the Young Theatre Organist finalists. This is a beautiful theater in the Art Deco style.
The final performance of the day will be a concert by Richard Hills.
Mark Herman and team have spent the past two years getting this organ from 1938 into shape for tonight’s concert.
This theater is as attractive as it is massive. I’ve sure we’re in for a musical treat.
After a great performance by Simon Gledhill, we just stepped off the bus at Trousdale Castle to be entertained by Pierre Francalanza.
Update: WOW! I was unfamiliar with Pierre but now I know he his a must see performer. I liked the way he incorporated multimedia into his performances, including the use of an overhead camera so we could watch as he played. Thanks to the camera I know that he does not ace 16 fingers but I can say he plays as if he did. Well done.
Next stop: the hotel and the we have. Another concert at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium tonight.
Richard Hills will perform.
I’ve just arrived at the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton California for the first organ concert of the day. Simon Gledhill will be performing for us on the Mighty Wurlitzer 4/37 Theatre Pope Organ. This Organ is 89 years old!
This summer, the American Theatre Organ Society’s Annual Convention will be in Los Angeles. People will travel from around the world to hear some and see some of the spectacular organs we get to enjoy in Southern California.
A few events will be open to the public, where you can hear these magnificent instruments — technically, “Unit Orchestras” — in the splendor of the majestic theaters they were built for. (Scroll past the video for details)
Here’s a taste of what you will hear, from my friend, Mark Herman:
If you want to attend one of the public events, here they are:
- Opening night at the Pasadena Civic (June 29, 8pm, $20)
- Safety Last at the Orpheum (June 30, 8pm, $15)
- Closing concert at Whittier HS (June 2, 8pm, Free Admission).
Tickets available at the door for these events.
If you want to attend the conference, there may be a few tickets left, visit: http://www.atos2018.org
With most of the organ now restored and in playable condition, it’s time to start learning about voicing the organ. I understand that this is a process involves many variables, including the organ, the amplifier levels the speaker placement, listener placement and the room acoustics and probably a few more I have yet to learn about.
My initial goal is simply to do a first pass, both to become familiar the process, as outlined in the Rodgers 340 Service Manual, and to begin to hear what this organ is capable of. First, a quick video…
My friend, Edward Torres, from Old Town Music Hall, offered to help with the voicing so we made a day of it. In preparation, I went through and labelled the pots and racks on the organ to make it easy to find things.
Another fun feature of Theater Organs, invented by Robert Hope Jones, is the ‘Sostenuto’. This stop is available on the Great manual of the Rodgers 340 Theater Organ.
Sostenuto is a switch located on the Main expression shoe that will cause the notes on the Great manual to continue to sound for as long as the Sostenuto switch is held – even after the hand is removed from the keyboard.
Here’s a quick video to see it in action.
Click the “continue reading” link before for additional instructions…
The Solo to Great Pizzicato
A fun feature of Theater Organs is the ‘Solo to Great Pizzicato’. This stop can be found on the The Rodgers 340 Theater Organ.
The Solo to Great Pizzicato is a coupler that causes the notes on the Great manual to sound momentarily, almost as if plucked or struck.
Here’s a quick video to show how that works…
Here’s what you’ll find: a lot of wires, transistors, resistors, capacitors and coils all mounted on three (or more!) 4′ x 5′ circuit boards. Yes, feet, not inches. Here’s a quick peek inside my Rodgers 340 after I did some work on it. If there’s something you’d like to see, let me know.