More Progress on Organ Project!
On Saturday morning July 12, 2009, volunteers gather at the back of the theatre to bring the replacement organ chest to the loft above the right side of the stage. The chest, weighing more that 1,000, will help to bring this organ project one step closer to completion!
First Music Played during Organ Restoration!
L. to R. Fred Nelson, Beatrice Small, Ken & Donna Arnetveit, Sharon Stoleson, Ed Peterson, & Jim Graham. Mike Hengelsberg seated at organ console.
On September 13, 2007, a few ARTT members came to the theatre to hear organ music for the first time in many years! Mike Hengelsberg and Tom Trudeau, who both live in La Crosse, have spent countless hours on this huge project. When we see the organ console at the right side of the theatre below the stage, we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of all the components that really make up this unique little theatre organ. Just a few of the necessary tasks to bring music back to the organ include refinishing the console, assembling thousands of components, soldering parts, running all new electrical lines, re-installing and fixing the wooden pipes in the loft above the right side of the stage, assembling and repairing the air pump housed below the stage, installing the air baffles that open and close to create sound through the pipes, as well as cleaning and adjusting the magnets that send electric current to operate the air baffles. Because of its age, much of the work on the organ is repairing and renovating old parts. Some work remains to be done before we will be able to debut the organ to the general public, but the end is in sight! This truly has been a labor of love for Mike and Tom who have struggled for so long to bring this project to fruition.
The Scenic Bluffs Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society is restoring the original 1922 Temple Theatre Wurlitzer organ. When the Temple was closed for restoration in 2000, the organ was trucked to the Rotary Lights building in La Crosse Wisconsin where President Mike Hengelsberg and other chapter members worked hard on the project for over a year. They received a grant from the American Theatre Organ Society to help fund this project, and held other fund-raisers The organ with all its thousands of parts was returned to the Temple Theatre a month before the grand re-opening ceremonies in July, 2002. They are now reassembling the organ and replacing some of the theatre "bells and whistles" that had been removed when it was used as a church organ. Visit http://www.angelfire.com/music3/scenicbluffsatos/ to learn more about the background of this historic organ and for a look at the project. You may help support their efforts by joining SBC-ATOS or through their "Sponsor a Key" fundraising program. A celebration concert will be held upon final completion of the project. We have been informed that the Temple Wurlitzer is truly unique. It is the only organ of its type still in existence today, according to the historian of the American Theatre Organ Society.