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The Walnut Hill Mighty WurliTzer Walnut Hill Productions Rummage through the Walnut Hill Archives Featured Artists at Walnut Hill 50th Annual ATOS Convention Walnut Hill Website Credits Frequently Asked Questions - F.A.Q. Featured Organ of the Month The Walnut Hill Mighty WurliTzer

Go back to The Walnut Hill General Store main page. Go back to the August, 2006 page. Go to the Walnut Hill Graphical Website Map Go forward to the October, 2006 page. Go forward to the Walnut Hil Website Credits page.

Grandma's olde pump organ. Click here to return to the main Archives page.

Volume Three - Issue Nine

Contributing Editors

The Control Room - Richard Mogridge - Webmaster
Console Up! - Tom Hoehn, Lead Editor
The Skandia WurliTzer - Per Olof Schultz, Associate Editor
MidiTzer Boot Camp - Russ Ashworth, Associate Editor
Mighty Hauptwerk - Jim Reid, Associate Editor
Desktop Goodies - Fred Willis
NYTOS Field Reporter - Eugene Hayek

Office of Operations

Walnut Hill Productions
1233 Sims Street
Ridgecrest, California 93555
Phone - 1-727-230-2610
10AM to 6PM PDT
Email - slowdog294@yahoo.com


FROM THE WEBMASTER'S DESK


Click here to visit the pages of the Bone Doctor at Walnut Hill Productions.
The Main Data Server at Walnut Hill

Welcome to the Walnut Hill Gazette, your one-stop source for the latest news in the Land of the King. This month begins a new look for the Gazette both from a graphical and content perspective. Gone are the Daily News updates often filled with off-topic material. New bright red banners now begin each section. As material comes in, these sections, currently works in progress, will begin to fill out.

Walnut Hill has grown immensly since we went online in April of 2004 as a single page website, now with 176 pages in sixteen sections. There have been over 39,100 visitors to the site during our 31 months of operation, many becoming regular patrons who come here each and every day. Other websites are springing up as more people learn about one of the greatest inventions in modern times, the Mighty Theatre Pipe Organ. These sites are generously linking back to Walnut Hill.

The move to Tennessee from Florida was a success wrought with little trauma other than an extreme hit to company funds. Walnut Hill Productions is currently in the red financually after being in the black during our year in Sunny Florida. After we get the office completed, things should level out. We had a great deal of assistance from Tom Hoehn, Papa Bill, Hank and Sandy Wear, and the good folks, Sylvia and Esco, keepers of the Square Jaw Ranch in Alcoa, the current home of our new office of operations.

Since we are no longer close to all those great Theatre Pipe Organs of the Sunshine State, we shall be relying on our field editors for late breaking news. Look for some interesting stories in the days ahead as the Walnut Hill website grows, continuing to be one of the most popular destinations for Theatre Pipe Organ enthusiasts on the internet.

To meat that lofty goal, we are upgrading the site to version 5 in the near future. Some of this change is already happening as evidenced by our new Featured Organ of the Month and Featured Artists pages. Some of our featured organs are getting new content on their pages, and some of our featured artists are getting updates as well. Visit these pages to see the changes, and stay tuned for more.

In closing, I want to thank each and every person who visits Walnut Hill. It is you who make our site possible and it is you who give us the desire to continue bringing you top quality information, music and pictures. We strive to be the best. It is an honor to serve.

God bless and happy playing.

The Bone Doctor
Member ATOS/President WHOC
House Organist and Webmaster
Walnut Hill Productions
Alcoa, Tennessee

"It's all about the King of Instruments!"



TOP STORIES


John Ledwon's Mighty WurliTzer
Now Up For Sale!

Click here to visit John Ledwon's Organ House in Agaoura, California

This was posted 09/14/2006 on the Theatre Organ Home Page mailing list by John Ledwon, owner of a magnificent 4/52 Mighty WurliTzer Theatre Pipe Organ installed in his Agoura, California home. We quote him in blue text below:

Opps! Big boo-boo!

That was meant to be a private post. I was planning on announcing my plans after I had determined prices but guess I might as well do it now.

Yes, I am going to "divorce" myself from my WurliTzer. My parents originally bought a Style 235 for me when I was 14 and I have owned it (or vice-versa... I'm not really sure) or at least shared my home with it ever since. It's been a great ride but having lived in my present home since college (I built it in my last year of college mostly with money I had saved playing a gazillion weddings) I want to move. I don't need the really excessively large house and the grounds. I don't want to move the organ (been there done that) so the only way out is to either find a place for the organ of just get rid of it by parting it out. Oh, I would sell it too but that doesn't seem too likely these days.

The organ has been available for donation for a year but I'm just a bit fussy about where it would go. My one stipulation is that it has to be played regularly. I don't want to give it to a performing arts center just to have it used 2-3 times a year. Not good. A couple of museums, two Hollywood theatres and a couple of other venues have expressed interest but nothing firm has been forthcoming. So, I feel the best solution would be to just part it out and be done with it. I hate to do it but an instrument this large (52 ranks) won't fit just anywhere so that is also a major problem.

So that's it, the cat is out of the bag. But not in the way I planned. Anyone know of a place that might be interested let them know or let me know. It must be a 501-C3 organization for tax purposes. I'm open to any idea, even an evangelical church with rock bands. It might make an interesting bridge between two totally opposed idioms.

Regards,

John Ledwon johnledwon@yahoo.com


Jim Reid's Reaction

Click here to visit Jim Reid's Wall of Fame page.

Our Associate Editor, Jim Reid, had the following reaction when he learned of John Ledwon's intentions. We quote him in blue text below:

Fellow List Member Ian suggested and I quote him below in red text:

Can I suggest that if you have to part the instrument out, that you keep the console, sample all of the instrument, and then build yourself, or have built, a Hauptwerk replica? There are private individuals out there with the skills to do wonderful sample sets, and there are people in Europe who will write you a Hauptwerk 2 configuration file for between 340 to 1000 euros. A couple of PCs and loads of audio, and you're done!

Or, perhaps have Brett Milan of Milan Digital Audio come out and sample the organ's ranks. He can produce the complete sample CD, offer it for sale, and you would receive some payment as agreed upon between you and he. Brett is in the "business" of sampling WurliTzer organs, for example, see:

http://www.milandigitalaudio.com/wurlitzer.htm

At that site, Brett explains exactly how he samples a Virtual Theatre Pipe Organ, close miking each pipe separately for every entire rank of pipes and the tuned and untuned percussions.

Should you have seen/heard the Virginia WurliTzer samples before, listen to the .mp3 demo tracks again now! Brett has "revoiced" the pipes and produced version 2 of the organ sample set. You can even watch Jelani Eddington playing the revoiced instrument here:

http://www.milanaudio.com/hw2demos/virginiatheatre/FlashVideo/MyRomance/MyRomance.html

that is, you watch the console, tabs, swell shoe, keyboards and pedals all moving as Jelani uses them! Brett plans to have videos up of all other .mp3 demo pieces of the Virginia WurliTzer version 2 samples in the next few days.

Your instrument, in this way, can be preserved and played by many others, in their own homes for years to come. I am sure Brett would do the Hauptwerk Organ Definition File in HW2.11 format, and provide to you a copy also. Brett is a wonderful guy, and I feel you would enjoy talking with him about such a project.

Good luck, John.

Jim Reid


Tom Hoehn at Big Bertha!

Click here to listen to Tom Hoehn at the console of Big Bertha at the Alabama Theatre for a publicity shot.
Tom Hoehn at Big Bertha

On Septemeber 9th of 2006, Tom Hoehn played Big Bertha, the majestic 4/28 Mighty WurliTzer Theatre Pipe Organ installed at the Alabama Theatre in Birminghm, Alabama. The show was a scheduled concert. He sent live recordings of the tracks via FTP to the Walnut Hill website wherein we spent the remainder of the weekend and the first part of the following week getting them on the site as 128KB/sec stereo WMA files.

These tracks were recorded using a Dell laptop computer with a Berhinger USB mixer and CAD condenser microphones. There are some pops and crackles here and there that our software would not remove. Nonetheless, we found Tom's playing and the sound of this magnificent machine to be top-notch, indeed.

Click here to go to our Featured Organ of the Month for June, 2005 and scroll down to the Downloads section. There are ten tracks from this gifted musician played on one of the finest WurliTzers ever made.

Enjoy!


Website Updates

Several updates have been performed across the website, starting with our new Featured Organ of the Month page, now with thumbnails replacing the list. The same thing was done to the Featured Artists page.

Next, we expanded the Alabama WurliTzer, Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ, and the Mighty Mo at the Fox Theatre pages including new pictures and music downloads. Finally, we posted an entire show done on the Alabama WurliTzer by our very own Tom Hoehn of Clearwater, Florida.

Enjoy the new look and content as we rapidly progress to version 5 of this website. The best is yet to come!



SPECIAL REPORT


Major Shake-Up For ATOS



Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing ATOS Board of Directors conviened at the Tampa Theatre during the 51st Annual ATOS Convention of 2006.

This was posted on the Theatre Organ Home Page mailing list by Tremulant Off on August 31st of 2006. We quote him below using blue text. Those he quotes are in green text. The pictures are from a time before all this happened, when TPO enthusists gathered from all over the country to enjoy the King of Instruments at the 51st Annual ATOS Convention held in Tampa, Florida during the last week of May 2006.

For those of you needing to know the true reasons for the mass resignation of ATOS board members yesterday, read this extremely long posting. It contains the resignation letters submittied to ATOS by resigning board members via electronic mail yesterday. There is now no room for conjecture and no room for speculation. The reasons are clear.




LETTERS OF RESIGNATION BY 5 BOARD MEMBERS


Letter of Resignation from Bob Davidson

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing former ATOS President Bob Davidson speaking to members at the Tampa Theatre during the 51st Annual ATOS Convention of 2006.

Dear ATOS Secretary,

In view of the secret board meeting with a private guest list and exclusion of five other board members conducted by conference call yesterday, 8/29/2006, the phone call from Director, Don Near, to notify me of the Board majority to remove me from office, and the subsequent email letter received from ATOS Vice President, Michael Fellenzer, it is clear that an illegal coup has taken place. Since my election to the Office of President the end of May, there has continued to be a relentless attack on me personally by this handful of Directors that did not support the ballot for me as President.

The July 6, 2006, conference call was nothing more than a demonstration of power and resulted not only in the firing of Dan Bellomy as Web Site Manager but sending a message to those of us that did not bend to their every liking to be on notice that we can be replaced. It is apparent that my term of President will contribute to nothing more than continued problems and issues for ATOS as this select few will continue to mire us into political arguments and contribute to no value added contributions to ATOS. This group has continued to stretch, ignore, and interpret our bylaws and policies to achieve there personal agendas. The contribution of these few are so filled with vengeance and animosity for previous actions taken by the Board that no true positive work on behalf of ATOS will be undertaken at all until the changes they want are completed. From Jelani Eddington's most recent email stating numerous research into California Corporate Law to defend his own actions but yet doing nothing in the past two years of his term as a Director to ensure that our bylaws and policies conform to California Law, has frustrated me to the point that I cannot truly function in a positive manner as the ATOS President.

Therefore, it is only fitting with much regret that I tender my resignation as President of ATOS effectively immediately. I have no desire to continue to try and uphold our bylaws and policies as written with continued personal attacks from these individuals. I also have no desire to defend myself in a "Kangaroo Court" setting as was conducted on July 6, 2006, for the purpose of disposing of Dan Bellomy as our Web Site Manager. This has been the personal agenda of these individuals from the adjournment of the 2006 Annual Board Meeting as it has been clear for the past two months they are seeking revenge for not getting the candidats they prefer elected. They defend the actions of their own, whether right or wrong as in the case of Michael Fellenzer's refusal to release the ATOS Domain control as directed by the Board, to persecute those of us trying to lead ATOS in a positive manner. Rather than continue to be a part of this humiliating situation, it is better for me to step down as President and allow them to self destruct ATOS on their own.

Sincerely,

Bob Davidson


Letter of Resignation from Nelson Page

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing Nelson Page (right) with fellow board members Dan Bellomy (left) and Jack Moelmann (center) at the Tampa Theatre during the 51st Annual ATOS Convention of 2006.

Michael Fellenzer

ATOS Vice-President

Dear Michael,

I hereby resign my position as a member of the American Theatre Organ Society Board of Directors effective immediately.

Respectfully submitted,

Nelson Page


Letter of Resignation from Jack Moelmann

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing former ATOS Secretary Jack Moelmann speaking to members at the Tampa Theatre during the 51st Annual ATOS Convention of 2006.

TO: The ATOS President (whoever that currently may be August 30, 2006 or to Whom It May Concern:

Subject: Letter of Resignation

This is probably the most difficult letter I have ever had to write. For the "legal beavers", I am writing this in accordance with paragraph 5.4 of theATOS bylaws which for the legally minded states: "Any officer may resign at any time by giving written notice to the Board of Directors, to the President, or to the Secretary of the Society. Any such resignation shall take effect on the date of receipt of such notice or at any later time specified therein, and, unless otherwise specified therein, the acceptance of such resignation shall not be necessary to make it effective." This is not now a threat which I have been accused of making, but is now a fact.

Therefore, I resign my 2006-2007 term as ATOS Secretary effective immediately and with many regrets, more than you will ever know. (In accordance with the above, I shouldn't have to send it to anyone but myself as Secretary, but thought I should send it to all of you as the Board and the President whoever that is or will be, and the staff for their information, ref moelmann vs ATOS, August 2006, as filed someplace.

As you know, or maybe you don't know, who knows, I have served continuously on the Board of Directors of ATOS since 1983 when I was first elected and served as Secretary since 1995. All of those years will be and are great memories for me and I hope that I have served ATOS well in various capacities including President from 1985-1988.

During that time I have met and worked with a lot of wonderful people, helped with guiding our organization through many hurdles, developed many friendships, and served formally or informally on many committees as well as serving our membership with information when they needed it. Never during that time have I ever been more disappointed and frustrated than I have been in the last few months. You, the Board (not necessarily the staff), have been very divided in what you have tried to do to undermine the great work of the organization. Your action in firing Dan Bellomy was the beginning in July. A great guy, a personal friend, and a potentially hard worker had he been given the tools needed to do the job with the web site, and who had served on the Board for the previous six years dealing with his committee activities in an outstanding manner.

Then the essentially firing (call it forced retirement, resignation, or whatever you want to call it) of our current President, Bob Davidson, because he wasn't at your beckoned call immediately or responsive to what you thought should be done and be done when you wanted it done, and what you were almost demanding him to do. You never gave him a change or supported what he could do. Then there are those who ignored Fr. Gus Franklin as the immediate Past President, while not having a vote, but not including him initially in applicable correspondence and inviting his experience as a Past President. He was just thrown out "with the bath water".

Just three months ago some self-proclaimed experts joined the Board and thought that they knew everything which they didn't. They just weren't happy with the way things were going. Job descriptions were ignored (some which haven't been updated in perhaps 10 years, e.g. Education Committee dated 1997), we had chapter and verse on California Law and Supreme Court Cases (who cares) which really had nothing to do with the normal business of ATOS which has gone on for some 50 years now without problems or major concerns until now.

There were and will continue to be personality conflicts with the people on the Board and I am not going to name names but I don't want to be part of it. It used to be a Board of Directors that got along socially, had fun, got things done, and admired and appreciated one another for what each and everyone had to offer be they musical talents, business expertise, or just being good people. Normal Board votes were unanimous. That is not the case now and won't be for a few years to come.

I leave the Board with very strong mixed emotions but the greatest is knowing that I don't have to be involved with all of the fighting going on and don't look at the past or even care about the effect of these current activities on the future of both ATOS as an organization or what we are all about (yes I really do), presenting and saving the theatre organ artform.

Personally, I look at the past as being named an Honorary Member of ATOS in 1994, presented a special award in 2003 for 20 years of continuous and faithful service to the Board of Directors, and will cherish these honors for years to come and will continue to be a proud member of ATOS. My life on and with the Board is history now but my love for ATOS and the theatre organ will live on forever. You can't take that away from me though you may try.

I will attend conventions even though I have to pay for them myself, enjoy meeting with great friends and meeting new ones, and watching all of you and what you are doing playing in your sand box, hopefully for the betterment of ATOS but you better get a better organization going and get a better understanding of how to get along with people or you will fail.

I hope to be able to continue with the ETONES and do what I can for that unless you want to replace me, but that's about all I will do.

When you name a new Secretary, I will be glad to provide all of the files which I have and they are numerous and some more important to the organization than what some of this controversy is over concerning the files for the Journal held by Dale Baker. Come and get them.

Sincerely yours, and with great regret I depart what was once a great Board of Directors,

{sign by this date}

J A C K M O E L M A N N,

ATOS Secretary, Retired


Letter of Resignation from William Russell Holmes

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing Russell Holmes (center) with fellow board members Michael Fellenzer and Doug Powers (left) along with Bob Favidson and Donna Parker (right) at the Tampa Theatre during the 51st Annual ATOS Convention of 2006.

August 30th, 2006

For the attention of: The Directors and Officers of the American Theatre Organ Society.

With the resignation of the current ATOS President and 3 Past Presidents, I see today as the darkest day in the 51 year history of ATOS. Since the meeting in Tampa, it has been clear that ATOS is no longer functioning as a team with common goals and objectives.

Indeed, if we look at what has been achieved in the last three months one can't find much to show for it, other than a hefty phone bill. The immediate resignation (as a Board member) of the newly appointed Vice President to provide a Board seat opening caused me much discomfort but I went along with it. However, the subsequent removal of Dan Bellomy as Web Site manager and the means in which that was achieved, led the organisation down a destructive path. As was often hinted at, it became quite apparent that it was only a matter of time before those that didn't vote or support Bob Davidson as President moved to have him removed from office.

The actions and attitudes of certain Board members has led to the resignation and dismissal of individuals who have had nothing but ATOS' best interests at heart. The manner in which recent business has been conducted has certainly not been in the spirit and best traditions of the ATOS that I have been a part of for almost 20 years. It has come to my attention that a majority of the Board decided to hold a conference call meeting to discuss how to deal with the current President. The outcome from that call was Don Near's phone call and Michael Fellenzer's followup e-mail, which effectively was a 'resign or be removed' communication. The fact that I was not approached or included in this call demonstrates to me that my opinion or thoughts on this matter (and presumably future matters) are of no value to those that were involved in this process. The fact that I was not to be included or notified of his action shows a severe lack of trust. This point was further re-iterated this evening when I received a call from Don Near who had been asked to leave a 'Board' conference call to assess my intentions.

If there was any hint of team work or trust then why wasn't I included in the call? I have deliberately been left out of these meetings which in itself demonstrates that you have no place for me in your current scheme. I had hoped that my involvement in ATOS would help the organisation continue to grow and be successful both on the International stage and with the Young Organist's Competition. However, under the current conditions, I feel that I have no role to play in the leadership of ATOS in its current form.

Therefore, having thought long and hard about this, I have decided to resign my position as an elected Director of ATOS, effective immediately. This e-mail should therefore be considered as my formal resignation from this post, and associated committees. I have today completed an expenses claim form which I have submitted to the treasurer along with appropriate paperwork, for reimbursement of customary Convention and Mid Year meeting expenses and trust that these will be honored.

Sincerely,

Wm. Russell Holmes


Letter of Resignation from Father Gus Franklin

Click here to download a 1944 x 2592 JPG image showing former ATOS President Father Gus Franklin speaking to members at the Tampa Theatre during the 51st Annual ATOS Convention of 2006.

August 30, 2006

Dear Directors and Staff,

It is with a heavy heart that I hereby submit my resignation as the ex-officio member of the ATOS Board of Directors, effective immediately. I simply cannot continue to be associated with a group that is clearly being motivated by personal agendas, rather than by the desire to further the goals and objectives of ATOS.

Never in my life have I experienced such a nearly continuous display of moral and ethical bankruptcy, be it subtle or blatant. And it has been both. There are even paper trails of this and of the constant, behind-the-scenes orchestration of it which go back to, at least, last April. Enumeration of the incidents of this behavior is unnecessary. Those responsible know both who they are and what they have done. They must live with themselves and be accountable for their actions.

After serving three years as Vice President and the following three years as President and being blessed by having a wonderful Board with whom to work, it is nearly impossible to believe what is currently happening. Without a doubt, this is most certainly the saddest day for ATOS that I have ever seen or about which I have ever been informed.

Sincerely,

Gus

Fr. Gus L. Franklin


The Bone Doctor's View: Recent Events

Click here to download a 2592 x 1944 JPG image showing the Bone Doctor posing for a publicity shot at the console of the J. Tyson Forker Memorial 4/23 Mighty WurliTzer Theatre Pipe Organ installed at Grace Baptist Church in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by Tom Hoehn.

In light of these events, Walnut Hill Productions will continue to support the efforts of those involved in the world of the mighty Theatre Pipe Organ and all that it stands for. Since we are no longer near the organs of the MTOS and the CFTOS, we resign from those chapters so that we can focus on an instrument closer to home, the Tennessee Theatre 3/16 Mighty WurliTzer Balaban 2, the Princess Elenoir.

The company will focus more on other forms of music and projects and less on the Theatre Pipe Organ for the near future. The Gazette will be restructured so that it is easier to maintain but updates will occurr less frequently as a result. We will be relying on our field reporters for website content in the form of monthly columns in the Gazette.

Thanks to the generosity of Tom Hoehn at Laughing Eyes Music, I shall be remaining a steadfast member of ATOS so that I can help make a difference in the Land of the King, no matter where my office might be.

God bless and happy playing.

The Bone Doctor
Member ATOS/President WHOC
House Organist and Webmaster
Walnut Hill Productions
Alcoa, Tennessee

"It's all about the King of Instruments!"


THE ATOS REACTION

An Open Letter from ATOS
Board & Officers
September 1, 2006

The past couple of days have been filled with many changes for ATOS.On August 30, 2006, we accepted, with regret, the resignation of Bob Davidson as President, which was followed by the resignations of Nelson Page (Director), Jack Moelmann (Secretary), Father Gus Franklin (Past President) and Russell Holmes (Director). These people have served our organization well but have chosen to step down at this time for their own reasons.

The rumors are flying, conjectures are being made, and several have been demanding an explanation regarding these resignations on TO-L and other chat lists on the internet. ATOS does not conduct its official business on those lists, but will certainly communicate through the appointed chapter liaisons, Theatre Organ journal and the ATOS website. Individual directors and officers may also be contacted at any time, as well as your chapter liaisons. Open communication is a top priority goal we have been striving for in the past three months, and it has been a struggle for some to accept.

Members are invited to examine the nomination statements of those who were recently elected by our membership to the board. A common and very strong theme in those statements had to do with planning for the future and working together through business strategies and change. Three of those proposing such a position were elected.

Some who resigned were the ones that have been on the board for a decade or more. The majority of the new board is comprised of people who are relatively new to the board. Some may have served terms in the past, but this is not a continuation of what has been going on. The people on the board now are the ones who are campaigning for open communication and inclusion of the chapters.

On August 31, Ken Double was appointed our new ATOS president. Ken is no stranger to ATOS and brings with him genuine enthusiasm, business expertise, and a true love of theatre organ. He is an excellent communicator and will, no doubt, lead our society through the challenges of attrition, marketing and fund raising issues, membership involvement, and concerns over the future of the actual instruments themselves. We are thrilled to have someone of his caliber at the helm.

John Riester, who has served as our Youth Representative for the past two years, was appointed our new ATOS secretary. John certainly possesses the talents, skills, and focus to serve our organization well. He will also continue to serve his tenure as Youth Representative.

Two vacant director seats remain to be filled, and your ATOS leadership is taking this responsibility very seriously. Scrutiny of our bylaws reveals that in the case of a resignation, the board has the power to select replacements, and we have all communicated via email and telephone conferencing to create a careful plan to accomplish this. In order to bolster this endeavor to assure that your local efforts are supported and successful, we are taking several days to make those choices. Once they are appointed, this announcement will be made available to you immediately.

The current board, officers, and staff are dedicated to making sure ATOS does not just survive in the future—we must thrive. We have all taken on the serious duties of assuring that our organization becomes healthy and strong with new programs including strategic planning, membership drives, and better communication with the membership.

Our membership has slowly dwindled, and no substantial programs have been put into place to take the theatre organ into the future in a positive, strong way. When strategic planning had been proposed in the past, it was dismissed as unimportant. This is one of the most important things we can do for our organization. Just hoping people are going to know and care about the theatre organ as much as we all do is not enough.

What successful business would not have a business plan? ATOS is in desperate need of a plan for the future. If we were a traditional business, we would have gone bankrupt by now with the lack of business acumen that has been applied in recent years. When an organization gets to the point of stating “…because we’ve always done it this way,” it is time for change. While we all value tradition, we should not confuse it with a refusal to grow.

Jeff Weiler is our new editor of the Theatre Organ journal. Jeff is emphatic that this publication will be on time! This has long been a real problem for ATOS. Late issues not only let our membership down, they betray our advertisers who often have time-sensitive material to promote. Late publications are unacceptable and embarrassing. Jeff has pledged to manage Theatre Organ in the most professional way possible. You will all experience his first efforts in the September/October issue that has already been mailed to you. Further improvements and responses to your needs will be a regular mandate for our journal!

We have made positive strides with our website and have Tom Blackwell of the Puget Sound Chapter serving as interim webmaster for us. Visit the PSTOS website Tom maintains at www.pstos.org and see why we asked Tom to help ATOS in our quest of finding a permanent webmaster. His expertise, knowledge and love for the theatre organ is a valuable resource for us in this process. Our ATOS website is not a “hobby” but our face to the world along with the Theatre Organ journal. It will take professional knowledge and skills to take ATOS into the future, and we are dedicated to seeking the right person to accomplish this.

You will see a new addition to Theatre Organ called the Director’s Corner. In each issue, your ATOS directors will have the opportunity to communicate what work is being accomplished in their various committees. This will hopefully ignite an exchange of communication between members and directors regarding new ideas for their programs.

Submitted by the ATOS Board of Directors and Officers, September 1, 2006


FOLLOW-UP LETTERS

A Letter From Dan Bellomy

When I first accepted the position of Resident Organist at Casa Manana Theatre in the early 70’s I had no earthly idea what I was really getting myself into regarding the world of theatre pipe organ activities. It was a wonderful day when the manager of Casa smiled and said, Dan, you’re hired. I can not help but think back to those relatively care free days of attempting to carve a niche in this world of the theatre organ. I became more and more addicted to “that” sound even though it was being made increasingly clear that a “living” was not easy to make in that world.

It was at that point that I took a different path and joined the ranks of the “product specialist” and “contract concert artist” areas of the electronic organ world never totally giving up the love of pipes. The electronic organ business and my work as a concert artist in that world was very good to me for a good many years. That kind of work does however take its toll from a travel standpoint. When one is “on the road” for 5-6 days a week normally and continually for weeks at a time in the case of international trips, you get tired! J Thus, my migration from the electronic organ world back to the theatre organ and a job at the now defunct Organ Grinder in Denver, Colorado. Wow, I was playing one of the finest instruments for hundreds of people in a single evening. With that comes the opportunity to do more and more concert work on these incredible instruments which I accepted with relish.

While I was given opportunities to play some of the country’s largest and finest instruments, it became increasingly clear (yet again) that this was a very rocky road. While some producers took a player at face value and booked them on their actual merits, others did not. If one was “in the know” or “in the click” etc, you got booked. If you were not, then you did not get asked to play certain places. If one continually praised the worst instruments then return booking was virtually assured. If you dared to make constructive suggestions on what they might think was an already perfect instrument, then you were not asked back. If one was told that the instrument was wonderful and that everything worked, etc, and you arrived to find it true then Glory Hallelujah! J If you got there and found pistons that would not set, out of reg ranks of pipes, out of tune pipes or whatever else might go wrong, it was not so much fun. Obviously these problems created more problems when one might have the audacity to question the condition of the instrument and why he had been told it was wonderful, etc. when it was in reality in such a sorry state. THEN, you are considered a trouble maker! I could go on.

It is obvious at this point in time that the world of theatre pipe organs is not what it used to be nor is it what it COULD be. This is sad for the instruments, the listeners AND the players. Someone made the remark to me a good ten years ago that “in ten years a player will not be able to exist as a theatre organist unless he plays in a pizza parlor.” That is unfortunately more true than not these days. Some of the country’s finest musicians are working the very few of these emporiums that are left. You all know where these places are and the players involved. I am so happy that these guys are able to play fine instruments, get paid well for it and are able to “live” from the efforts.

I think the thing that distresses me the most at this stage of the game are the “attitudes” of many in our hobby/business. Again, the “click” syndrome has reared its ugly head. This is evident in concert booking attitudes with producers (certainly not all them I must say J) and is even more painfully evident with recent events in ATOS. If one does not belong to THE “click” then you are out. If one belongs to the WRONG “click” then you are out…….and it goes on and on. This is darned sad. The ultimate losers are the members in the case of ATOS conflicts and the listeners in the case of concert producer conflicts. Nobody benefits from the fighting. Everybody loses in the fighting. Tempers flare, things are said and feelings are hurt. This does nobody any good. The small scale “power plays” do not accomplish anything but do hurt the cause. The big power plays can and do create great damage and can harm for life. For instance, if all the recent happenings in ATOS had not taken place then all the conversation and thinking and effort AND energy could have been used (by everyone) to work toward the positive direction of theatre pipe organ and the music. Instead, this has all degenerated into name calling and an atmosphere where nobody will accept responsibility for what they have actually done or said. They openly deny that they have said or done something when confronted with irrefutable evidence to the contrary. I am unable to understand this.

I must admit that I have made my contributions in all these areas a few times. I am so very sad that good people are being hurt by all this lying, cheating, click mongering and the like. I have spent my entire working life in some facet of the music business and to see all this hurts so very deeply. I see people saying things they would normally not ever say except out of disgust and hurt. I see people doing things they would not normally ever do except out of a sense of despair in seeing something venerable disintegrating before their very eyes. It is sad. I love these instruments and I love what ATOS used to stand for.

Please do not consider this tome as a “let’s just all get along” note. In the present atmosphere I fear that it is not to happen anytime soon. I am considering my contributions to the theatre pipe organ world ---- the good and the not so good. To those whom I have offended during the course of this rag subject currently on the list, I am sincerely sorry. Please know that anything I have said has been in the effort to let the TRUTH be known etc. --- for the good of the membership. I have not typed anything at all to this list that I do not know for dead fact to be true. I only ask that everyone else do the same. This does not mean that I will not defend myself when attacked. Before we type --- Think about it. Consider the damage it has done and will do. Consider what might be accomplished if we at least ATTEMPT to think a little more positively. I am going to do my best. Will you all do the same?

Just one last note on events of the past few days.......I would like to thank those of you who posted and responded positively to what I have had to say on this subject. I would like to thank the Theatre Organ Home Page mailing list members (many of you!) who sent me private notes of support for my truthful telling of an event that is excruciating to think of. In spite of twisting and one sided presentations of a situation that most of you will never truly understand, I maintain that what I posted on my site AND what I have posted here is the more clear AND truthful representations of what transpired.

There will be those who will not see it that way and it is too bad that you can not see through the smoke screen. For those who still find the events still a bit difficult to believe, I urge you to investigate further. You have still not heard the entire story. You will probably never hear it from the present leadership of ATOS. For that, I am profoundly sorry for the entire membership of ATOS.

Dan Bellomy

Aka: djb (and forever : )


A Letter From Bob Davidson

Dear All,

Dan is absolutely correct in that he did nothing wrong. He was appointed ATOS Web Site Manager at the January, 2006, Mid-Year Meeting. It took up until after the Annual Board Meeting at Tampa to finally get him access to to the ATOS website be able to perform his job. Bottom line was that Michael Fellenzer did not provide Dan with the appropriate information to access and enter the ATOS Web Site to be able to edit. Michael was bound and determined to maintain personal ownership of the domain as has been illustrated in the activities since the Mid-Year Meeting. The actions taken by the now majority of the Board were pre-planned and well orchestrated by this select few that have politicked and lobbied with fellow Directors to gain the majority vote.

In conjunction with what was done to Dan, Nelson Page was also on the list to get oust from the board. They were using Dan's position to get to Nelson since he was the director responsible for the ATOS Publications. This was all driven by Michael Fellenzer and his revenge he was seeking by obtaining a seat on the ATOS Board of Directors. Even after the membership elected him, he and his colleagues had planned that he would resign his director seat upon being elected as ATOS Vice President. Once he resigned that position, there were plans and candidates in line for the appointment sympathetic to their views. Thus, Donna Parker was appointed to the Board as a Director and not elected by the membership. In all truth to the membership, the vacated position should have gone to the fourth runner-up in the board election as the directors are elected by the membership.

To add more truths to the story that Dan has started to reveal, these select individuals we upset with the Directors electing me as ATOS President by a 5 to 4 vote over their candidate, Donna Parker. Ever since the adjournment of the Annual Board Meeting, I have been under a full scale attack for anything relative to ATOS business. Led by Michael Fellenzer, Jelani Eddington, Doug Powers, Paul Van Der Molen with Jeff Weiler in the background, this group bombarded me with emails and demanded immediate responses where they should have been corresponding with the Director assigned the responsibility. None would even communicate with Nelson Page concerning the 2007 Convention or matters of ATOS Publishing.

Just this week in a phone conversation I have learned that these individuals contacted Ken Double two months ago to convince him to be ATOS President. Again, this demonstrates the cold calculating plans of this group to achieve their goals. At the recommendation of many sending me emails, I have posted the letter I received after a phone call from Don Near, Director, notifying me that "they had the votes to remove me from office".

From: fellenzer@atos.org
To: rdavi51662@aol.com
Subject: Presidency
Date: Tuesday, August 29th 2006 8:46 PM

Dear Bob:

As Don Near indicated to you this evening, a strong majority of the ATOS Board of Directors feels that it is in the best interests of the Society that you immediately tender your resignation. Please know that this is not an action we take lightly. We appreciate your contributions to the aims and objectives of the organization and hope they will continue. Although we are prepared to do so, we do not wish to force a vote of no confidence. Moreover, we would like to extend every consideration by presenting this opportunity for your resignation.

Once tendered, your resignation will be read into the Minutes as, "accepted with regret." In observance of our Bylaws, please send your resignation to the attention of the Secretary, copying all Board members. Don Near and Donna Parker will be calling a special meeting of the Board by conference call for 9:00 p.m. eastern time to accept your resignation and appoint a new president.

After considerable discussion the consensus was that the new president should not come from the existing Board. Again, this does not come easily for any of us. We trust that we can cooperate to make this parting amicable, so that we may all work toward the advancement of ATOS without undue distraction.

Sincerely,
Michael Fellenzer, Vice-President

It is time that the membership stands up to this group and calls from new elections. The campaign of certain individuals newly elected to the board was to accuse previous elected members of closed door politics, secret meetings, and personal agendas. In the short 3 months, this group has conducted themselves worse that those they accused to include a secret board meeting without even giving every Director a notice to join. What has become of the ATOS I have known and enjoyed for some 40 years is gone.

I have been catching up on all of the exchanges and it makes me sick to see the bashing that Dan has taken. Dan gave six years of dedicated service to the board and has a right to be emotional over the actions.

Let me explain what brought up to the taking over of the ATOS Domain. First, Michael Fellenzer resigned all of his duties to pursue a new business opportunity. Jim Merry became the Executive Secretary, Journal Advertising was given to the Editor, and the Web Manager was given to Dan all by a unanimous vote of the Board. Second, history has a way of repeating itself. Previous to Michael taking charge of the Domain it was in the hands of other individuals assigned by the ATOS Board. Michael Fellenzer and Bob Maney did the very same thing as was started under my term and before to take control of the ATOS Web Site. Third, at the 2006 Annual Board Meeting, Michael again refused to honor previous Board actions to release the Domain. He may have sent emails to cover his tracks but the result was that Dan was unable to make any changes or updates from January 2006 until after the Tampa Meeting.

I had scheduled a conference call with Dan, Michael, Nelson, and myself to go through, line by line, as to how to enter the web site so that Dan was able to perform his assignment. Ironically, Michael found the problem on his part prior to the phone call and Dan was able to begin updating the web site. Finally, I initiated an investigation as to how to get control of the web site for ATOS as I was not comfortable with ONE person holding the key. As President I felt strongly that at least two individuals should have the keys so that if one disappeared, ATOS would not lose the ability to access the site.

Full discussions were held with Nelson Page over this as he was the Director assigned the responsibility. I saw no need to discuss this with the entire board as past practice was to allow the Director to perform their tasks without micro managing. No action was schedules to take place until all facts had been gathered. I later learned that I had not heard in the Tampa Board meeting that Paul Van Der Molen had been given the access information but did not even attempt to make this known to me until the "Kangaroo Court" Session of July 6 of 2006.

In closing, I want to thank all of you for the positive emails and support. However, I made the decision from the letter received from Michael Fellenzer to resign as it was clear that no positive work on behalf of ATOS was going to be completed with the current path that was being taken. I am quite sure that If Ken Double tries to lead this organization as a true President that the renegades will arise to knock him down. Even though they did not support my election as President, there should have been at the very least compromise to work together for ATOS. Instead, I was beaten down to the point that it was no longer worth the effort to continue with these people.

Those of you that want to hold it against me for "quitting", go right ahead but enough is enough. Now, I put it to you to take action as members. An interesting point to finish is to please read my President's Message as published in the JUL/AUG Issue of the Journal and then read the first posting of the Board to the web site. It appears that my goals and objectives were no different but due to the fact that I was not their candidate for the office of President the only work performed was as found in the campaign notices as "In with the New, out with the Old". My life will go on and I have my own Marr & Colton to enjoy and continue my love for the TO. That, no one can take away from me.

Bob Davidson


A Letter From Edward M. Stout, III

Distinguished List,

Ray has brought up a subject concerning authorship I very much agree with. A person with integrity should have no problem in signing a contribution to the list. There has been far too much shadowed activity in recent days concerning the changes within the Board of Directors and if list members do have constructive comments, they should be forthright and sign their real names. Any document crossing my Electratone desk that is not signed is sent on its way to the trash bin.

The information supplied by "PT" this morning was shocking and that is why I replied with a "WOW". It seems as though the bitter and negative behavior has not yet been flushed beyond the gas-trap and I for one, would like to see members rising above the power plays. Every organization attracts various kinds of personalities, those who just enjoy the common interest in theatre organs and those who's make up leans toward leadership. Now and then people seek power and control for the wrong reason and although their outward image is that of being constructive, their real motivation is the feeding of their ego furnaces.

This photoplay goes back to the caveman and was perfected in governments and the "church." There are those who desire to be directed and those who have the special ability to set and guide policy. In the recent developments within the ATOS power structure, there seems to be far too many fissures venting and that could drive decent members away. We have deceit in nearly every facet in our lives due to the lack of governmental and business integrity, so please good people, let's not continue to stoke the furnace with poisoned lumber. Clearly there has been inappropriate behavior among some of those high priests sitting on the great dais and the problem is being sorted out. Because of the great numbers of fine people within the organization, the ship of state will stop its listing and will get back on course. We can hope the new leadership will examine their motives and obligations for the betterment of our wonderful institution. With positive re-enforcement, I believe they will.

Edward M. Stout, III
Quality Pipe Organ Services.


A Letter From Alan K. Baker
Cinema Organs Home Page

This was posted 09/19/2006 on Yahoo!'s Unofficial ATOS Forum by long-time friend and associate Alan K. Baker, a man who is highly respected in the TPO world for his work abroad in the United Kingdom. Alan is the Webmaster for the Cinema Organs Home Page in England and is very active in the internet community worldwide. We quote him below in green text:

Richard.

Despite having come to bitter blows with Dan in the past, I just cannot let things pass without comment, so I'm going to talk about Dan and the whole sorry affair. Not behind anyone's back, not in judgement, but hopefully in perspective, the way I see it at this moment in time. If I'm wrong, then I'm happy to be wrong, but with the best of intentions.

As each snippet of fresh information "surfaces" the picture seems to come more into focus. This is not to say that anything has deliberately been withheld, but memories being what they are, information sometimes comes in fits and starts, this is normal human nature.

You yourself have just "confessed" to having played a part, by suggesting an alternative ISP. Nothing wrong with that, just an observation to go with the rest of the "story". :-)

IMO the whole sorry affair has been brought about by a lack of understanding of a few technicalities, a little ineptness by a few individuals and nothing more than that.

Whether or not Dan's appointment as ATOS webmaster was sensible or correct, is neither here nor there. The Board made its decision, Dan accepted, that's history.

On taking up his appointment, Dan discovered that he was unable to carry out his duties with the equipment that he owned, and a decision was made by the Board to purchase a system for Dan to use. Whether this was right or wrong is now conjecture. Again, IMO the equipment should have been earmarked for the use of the current Webmaster, whoever was in office, and the Board should have made it clear that it should be handed on to each new Webmaster until it became obsolete. However, the Board decided that a gift should be made of the equipment to Dan personally, and as was his absolute right, he apparently accepted it. The wisdom of the donation lies with the Board and the membership, not Dan.

The sequence of events appears that once Dan was using the new equipment, he was rightly concerned that he could not acess the ATOS website to update it, and made appropriate approaches to have the situation rectified. We're told that this took 5 1/2 months! I think I'd get just a bit more than paranoid if I was unable to carry out my duties after such a period. However, Michael Fellenzer and the Board can't be severely criticised for that - in an organisation of elected volunteers, events often take much longer than they should, due to home and business commitments, especially when technical expertise is required and obscure faults have to be found. aka The extra security layer that was later discovered.

What next appears to have happened is that you (Richard) and Dan have had a conversation about upgrading the ATOS Website performance, and the merits of changing ISP and maybe even country. Again, no criticism. What I am guessing happened after that is that Dan, Bob Davidson and others got confused between domain control and website page access. Certainly in Dan's case there should be no major rebuke for this - after all, he's a musician, not an IT expert. :-)

I sincerely hope that Dan's been "reading the mail" and does now know the difference. Despite attempts by Bob Grommes, myself and others, in public and privately, Bob Davidson STILL will not acknowledge the difference between the two scenarios, despite irrefutable evidence that he is wrong! It's all too easy to see why Dan and Bob would agree at the time and unfortunately get it wrong. Dan's hardly going to argue with the President, especially without IT expertise to back it up. Even now, Bob Davidson's argument to have the domain moved is not Dan's problem, and what Bob still insists on saying should in no way reflect on Dan. In fact, whilst appearing to side with Dan, Bob is not doing Dan any good at all by keeping on raking over old coals.

So, fired up by a lack of technical knowledge, a small amount of mild paranoia and extreme frustration, an unnecessary attempt was made to wrest domain control from the current holder. From transcripts of emails etc. that currently reside in the Files Section of THIS Forum, it appears that Dan wrote a message in an attempt to move domain control, behind the Board's back. If Dan didn't do this, then it's up to him to refute it. However, somebody sent that message and the Board was informed (rightly so) and were somewhat upset by it, having no choice but to believe that it originated from Dan. Hell, why would the Board feel that they needed to prove otherwise?

In the meantime, Webmaster Page Access was restored to Dan, but by then the damage had been done and there was little or no coherent discourse between Dan and the ATOS. The excrement hit the air conditioning and we have a nasty mess to clear up, a very upset Dan Bellomy and an equally upset Board.

Now we have a situation where there are minor faults on both sides that have been blown up out of all proportion and a scapegoat has wrongly been sought. Dan's been wrung out to dry, and this is SO wrong, even if Dan AND the Board have fanned the flames somewhat.

Jim Henry - You wanted to know of ways of improving the ATOS?

How about the Board and Officers ALL consider that each and every member has a point of view, and could just be right?

How about learning some serious lessons on how to live alongside each other in harmony?

How about EVERYONE concerned in the current situation either agreeing or agreeing to disagree?

How about EVERYONE acknowledging their mistakes, shaking hands and apologising to each other for upsetting "the other man"?

How about ALL concerned agreeing to take some proper technical advice from a known expert, then acting on that advice to restore the status quo?

How about a small group of arbitrators being set up, who cannot hold any other office or be a Director, where grievances can be discussed and expertise sought, before the situation gets out of hand?

Regards,

Alan K Baker
www.theatreorgans.co.uk
Theatre Pipe Organ Restorer
Admin: UKShopsmiths, SSUsers & 2nd Touch Groups
Flatulus Antiquitus



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Allman Music Releases New Virtual Organs

Click here to download a 1280 x 1024 JPG screenshot of the 4/54 Allman Symphonic IV Virtual Orchestral Organ.
4/54 Allman Symphonic IV Orchestral Organ

Richard "Kent" Allman, owner of Allman Music in Saint Petersburg, Florida has released a series of organ disposition and SoundFont files for jOrgan. The news was posted on Theatre Organ SoundFonts and Walnut Hill Virtual Pipe Organ, two music groups on Yahoo!. We quote Kent in blue text below.

Hello All,

I've recently been getting a number of requests for a smaller version of the Allman 4/54 Symphonic IV Orchestral Organ which can run on lower power computers. I've just released the Symphonic III Orchestral Organ which is a somewhat scaled down version of the Symphonic IV.

Click here to download a 1280 x 1024 JPG screenshot of this instrument.
Allman Symphonic III

The smaller instrument needs two instances of SFZ to run it instead of the three instances for the 4/54 Symphonic IV Orchestral Organ.

Click here to download a 1280 x 1024 JPG screenshot of the 3/14 Allman Theatre Organ.
3/14 Allman Theatre Organ

I've also released a 3/14 Theatre Organ in a SoundBlaster compatable version for a computer with single SoundBlaster card and also an identical 3/14 Theatre Organ SFZ version for a computer running a single instance of SFZ. Dowloads of these new instruments are located at http://www.allmanmusic.com/jOrgan.html.

Please let me know if there are any bugs or problems with the organs.

Thanks,

Kent


Organ Of The Month

Click here to learn more about the 4/93 Rodgers/Ruffatti/Wicks Church Pipe Organ installed at the First United Methosist Church of Clearwater, Florida.
4/93 Rodgers/Ruffatti/Wicks
First United Methodist Church
Clearwater, Florida

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