Unit Orchestra 4 Manual 24 Ranks Ranks Percussions Toy Counter English Posthorn Piano Bird Whistle Tuba horn Marimba Siren Brass Trumpet Harp Klaxon Style D Trumpet Chrysoglott Train Whistle Open Diapason Glockenspiel Chinese Block Horn Diapason Xylophone Chinese Gong Solo Tibia Clausa Sleighbells Bass Drum Main Tibia Clausa Chimes Tympani Clarinet Crash Cymbal Orchestral Oboe Sizzle Cymbal Brass Saxophone Triangle Musette Snare Drum Kinura Tom-tom Solo String Tambourine Solo String Celeste Castanets Viol d'Orchestre Horse's Hoofs Viol Celeste Telephone Bell Salicional Whoopee Whistle Salicional Celeste Oboe Horn Quintadena Concert Flute Solo Vox Humana Main Vox Humana
The Organ's History
Wurlitzer was clearly the maverick of theatre organ builders all through the roaring twenties. The factory in North Tonawanda, New York, had almost a thousand employees in 1926 and produced a complete instrument every day. Instruments were shipped daily in railroad boxcars all over the country, and were exported overseas. The 4/24 Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ owned by the Theatre Organ Society of San Diego (TOSSD) has a great history to match.
Our instrument is basically a combination of two organs: Wurlitzer Opus #1520, a 4 manual, 11 rank organ, originally installed in the Strand Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin on November 27, 1926; and Wurlitzer Opus #0564, a 3 manual special, 15 rank organ, originally installed in the Tiffin Theatre in Chicago, Illinois on August 18, 1922. It was very unusual for a 4 manual organ to have only 11 ranks; however, "show" was important when Strand had it built by Wurlitzer. The Strand Organ was moved to a church in Madison, WI, about 1942, and purchased by Fred Hermes, Racine, WI, about 1949.
Bill Huck, of Replica Records, Des Plaines, IL, purchased the Strand and the Tiffin organs about 1955 and combined them. The resultant 4 manual, 20 rank organ, known as the Replica Wurlitzer, became one of the first theatre pipe organs used in the early history of hi-fi recording. When Huck liquidated his record business in the late 50's, he sold the organ to Dr. Ray Lawson, who moved the organ to his home in Montreal, Canada.
In 1973 the organ was acquired by Bill and Kathy Breuer, owners of Arden Pizza & Pipes, Sacramento, CA. the pizza parlor fell into bankruptcy in 1996. TOSSD contacted Bob Maes, organ broker. In August of 1996, Maes purchased the organ, which was complete but in need of a rebuild, for TOSSD. On September 26, 1996, the truck full of organ arrived in Spring Valley. Since then, the organ has been fully restored and enlarged.
The Theatre Organ Society of San Diego announced the Premiere Presentation of its 4/24 Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, featuring the artistry of Chris Gorsuch at the console, on Saturday, September 11, 1999 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, September 12, 1999 at 4 p.m.