Welcome !

The Toledo Area Theatre Organ Society (TATOS) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3)a corporation that is dedicated to the preservation of theatre pipe organs and their music. We are one of the many nationwide chapters of the American Theatre Organ Society.

Members get together for monthly events such as concerts and meetings at theaters, other businesses, and homes where there are theatre organs. The Organs: You can hear them, talk about them, get a chance to play one at open console events, or work on them during regular installation and restoration sessions.

Music & Art

Theatre Organ Pipes Albuquerque, NM Photo: Paul Jacyk

Theatre Organ Pipes

The surround sound experience of an orchestra, wind band, and choir consisting of a thousand musicians making great music together. Think of this being condensed into a single musical instrument with almost endless capabilities under the control of a single person. This instrument is the Theatre Pipe Organ.

Originally built and used in the early 1900's, theatre organs provided a soundtrack for silent films. They were also used in movie palaces along with orchestras and alone for "pre" and "post" show entertainment. These traditional roles are continued today along with new and exciting uses. Theatre organs frequently entertain audiences in pops concerts as a "solo" instrument and are often used in combination with other soloists, singers, jazz bands, orchestras, and even rock bands.

To play a theatre pipe organ is exciting!  Titles like director, arranger, orchestrator, and performer all apply to the organist during the creative process at an organ. Operating a large theatre organ gives a thrill like controlling a high performance airplane or car because of the many switches and because of the sheer power and fine control over music making. These instruments are capable of conveying musical ideas from the softest most ethereal to earth shaking loud by mixing sounds in their tonal palette. 
A properly restored theatre organ is a work of visual art much like fine antique furniture or silverware with its old-grove wood and many sparkling pipes in many shapes and colors.


Theatre Pipe Organ Percussion

Theatre Organ Percussion

In the early portion of the 20th century the theatre pipe organ was among the most sophisticated mechanical and electrical devices ever built. Mainly made out of materials such as wood, metal, leather, and water soluble glue, a pipe organ consists of a large air blower, ductwork and wind channels, thousands of moving parts, and miles of electrical wiring connecting the keyboards to electromagnets and valves under each pipe via a 1920's version of a "parallel computer" complete with a programmable memory.

The theatre pipe organ is an acoustic instrument which does not use any modern electronics or speakers. (Modern electronic switching systems are sometimes used to replace bulky relays).  Sound is produced by hundreds of air blown pipes specially designed to simulate the voices of various members of orchestral instrument families such as strings, woodwinds, and brass.  Real percussion instruments such as drums, cymbals, xylophones, marimbas and others are used. Of course the traditional church and classical organ sounds that many people think of upon hearing someone say "pipe organ" are also present.

Special Thanks to Jerrell Kautz at The Theatre Organ Home Page for hosting the TATOS web pages !

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