Welcome to the Walnut Hill Gazette. The month of December sees the site reaching over 74,430 visitors, the average now being around 1,000 visits per month. During 2007, we broke an attendance record with 26,442 viewers. Many of these folks are young people from the large art communities in cyberspace, where we have built portal pages such as those at YouTube, Last.FM, deviantART and Renderosity, just to name a few.
The time I have in spent living in the High Desert of Southern California has drawn to a close. I will be moving to Tennessee for the winter, before heading off to Sweden next year. I plan to revisit old friends and see my family once again as I return to the land of my birth in the Green Hills of East Tennessee, the land of the Great Smoky Mountains.
I have enjoyed my stay in the High Desert and will miss it and those whom I have became close friends with. The 3/17 Mighty Conn 650 Analogue Electronic Theatre Organ was taken back to its previous owner, Paul Kealy, by Cyrus Roton and myself on December the 1st using a U-Haul trailer towed behind his van. It will be used in Paul's organ museum in San Bernardino, California. I can never thank him enough for letting me borrow this majestic beast for a while. I will miss the Mighty Conn, indeed. She taught me much about Theatre Organs and fullfilled a boyhood dream.
The items I will be shipping include a collection of movies on DVD and music on CD, two large computers and the periphrials that go with them which include a large LCD monitor, a scanner, an APC UPS with power distribution units, a set of 2.1 loudspeakers, a bicycle, my clothes, some mics, cables, and production gear including software optical discs, spare hard drives and my acoustic guitar, and finally, my digital cameras and Zoom audio recorders. All this stuff is being packed into large heavy duty "dish pack" boxes that are marked fragile, this end up, and have double thickness material for durability. The bicycle has a special box built for the purpose of safely shipping it over land, though it will have to be partially disassembled in order to fit in this box.
The cost of shipping my stuff via FedEx is right at around one dollar per pound, estimated to be around 600 lbs total. Cyrus Roton is helping out with this. In exchange, I am rebuilding one of the late Fred Willis's computers for him to use as a VTPO/production workstation. I can never thank him enough. The airplane ticket via United Airlines and costing 220 dollars, paid for out of my personal account, has been booked for departure from Inyokern, California at 8:45PM on December 15th and arrival in Alcoa, Tennessee at 10AM on December 16th. There is a 1.5 hour layover in Los Angeles and another 2.5 hour layover in Chicago.
I wil be staying with a wonderful fellow and very close friend whom I have known since 1983. We have made a lot of music together and will make more when I get there, doing live club dates and studio sessions. In Tennessee, he is known as the Mojo Man. A native of New York, Al Owrutzky plays blues, bluegrass, and rock music on both guitar and banjo. He is a very good singer and songwriter, and is the leader of a great blues band known as MOJO. A distributor of various musical instruments, he also teaches several students on guitar and banjo. I am looking forward to gigging with MOJO again and entertaining fans I have not visited in over four years.
Al's home in Lenoir City, about 23 miles southeast of Knoxville, has an extra bedroom I can stay in, but the place is full of a massive collection of beautiful houseplants and a wide assortment of musical instruments that his home business, The Music Place, retails. Space will be tight. All of my production gear will be placed in temporary storage until I can ship it to Sweden. During my stay in Tennessee, this website will not be updated as regularly as it has been, but monthly updates will still be done. I hope to play the Tennessee Theatre's 3/17 Mighty WurliTzer during my stay, if I can work past union red tape. Operations at the site should get back to normal by the time I get settled in with Erika in Sweden sometime during the summer of 2009.
In This Issue Of The Gazette...
We are nearing the end of our original five year mission to bring the King of Instruments to the masses. When Walnut Hill Productions placed this site on the web back in 2004, it was unimagined at the time how quickly it would grow and how popular it would become in the coming years. Since that time, it has established itself as the central nexus for all things TPO. We feel like this is only the beginning of something great. We wish to continue to grow and be the best TPO site on the internet. To that end, we need your help. Not only are funds needed, but material to add as well in order to keep the site fresh and interesting. Walnut Hill Productions will be relocating to Sweden next year. We intend to do for the organs of Europe what we did for those in the Unted States. However, we are expanding our scope to include TPO's wherever we find them, all over the world.
The Second Relocation Fund Drive is now open for collecting money which is needed to move the Walnut Hill Office of Operations to Sweden sometime in late 2009 and keep it running during the winter and spring months I am in Tennessee. We have collected a total of $645.00 so far. Operating expenses such as repairs and upgrades to the Main Data Server and office expenses relating to the move to Tennessee have taken a bite out of the fund, thus there remains only $90.00 in the PayPal account and the bank account is barely solvent enough to remain open. Donations have been slow in coming, largely due to the faultering economy. For more details on this fund and to learn how you can make a donation, see the Second Relocation Fund Drive topic in the Headline News section further on down this page.
I want to thank each and every person who visits this site as the Fall Season moves toward the holidays. Without you, our loyal patrons, there would be no Walnut Hill. We are indeed making a difference in the Land of the King, preserving a wonderful and important slice of American and World History. Blessings be to one and all.
Walnut Hill Productions
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Website Hit Count
Since Founding Day 04/02/2004
The Main Data Server at Walnut Hill.
The figures below represent the approximate daily hit count for the site since going online on April 2nd of 2004. Counter checks begin around ten in the morning and end around ten in the evening, Pacific Daylight Savings Time. Currently, that total stands at over 74,430 happy campers in the Land of the King!
- 12/01/2008 - 74,306
- 12/02/2008 - 74,338
- 12/03/2008 - 74,374
- 12/04/2008 - 74,413
- 12/05/2008 - 74,431
- 12/06/2008 - 74,422
- 12/07/2008 - 74,441
- 12/08/2008 - 74,462
- 12/09/2008 - 74,485
- 12/10/2008 - 74,498
- 12/11/2008 - 74,508
- 12/12/2008 - 74,517
- 12/13/2008 - 74,533
- 12/14/2008 - 74,554
- 12/15/2008 - 74,582
- 12/16/2008 - 74,638
- 12/17/2008 - 74,683
- 12/18/2008 - 74,729
- 12/19/2008 - 74,831
- 12/20/2008 - 74,862
- 12/31/2008 - 75,258
- 12/21/2008 - 74,893
- 12/22/2008 - 74,936
- 12/23/2008 - 74,977
- 12/24/2008 - 75,012
- 12/25/2008 - 75,044
- 12/26/2008 - 75,078
- 12/27/2008 - 75,113
- 12/28/2008 - 75,159
- 12/29/2008 - 75,182
- 12/30/2008 - 75,219
We have been working on one of the three computers the Bone Doctor inherited from the late Fred Willis, Founding Father of Walnut Hill Productions. This machine, known as Whimpy Game, was Fred's pride and joy. It was the biggest and most powerful of his machines, and it was the one he used the most.
Fred had registered his copy of the Mighty MidiTzer 260 Special as Opus 31. He also had the Mighty MidiTzer 216 installed. I updated them to the latest versions and also installed the Mighty MidiTzer 150 and the Mighty MidiTzer 160C, two great little TPO's, indeed. So now, Cyrus has four fabulous instruments to play.
The next step is to install Gigastudio Orchestra 3 and load the TPO samples from Allman Music. The final step will be to get all this software to work as advertized. This will probably involve the illustrious Eugene "Don" Hayek, who has an incredible setup of his own.
Doc will be leaving Ridgecrest for the Green Hills of East Tennesee in ten days. We hope to have Fred's Mighty MidiTzer Workstation going at Casa Roton well before then, perhaps over the coming weekend. We will keep you posted of the progress on this project.
Walnut Hill Productions To Move In 2009
Walnut Hill is on the move again, this time overseas. The move will take place sometime in the fall of 2009, hopefully at the end of September. Details are not clear yet, but we can tell you that we are relocating to the Stockholm, Sweden area. This will afford us the opportunity to help out with the only known instrument of its kind in the country, the 2/7 Mighty WurliTzer Theatre Pipe Organ now being restored for possible reinstallation in its original home in the Skandia Theatre. Click here to learn more about this wonderful little TPO and the folks who love her and are working hard to bring her back to life.
Skandia 2/7 Mighty WurliTzer Console
Another reason for the move is so that I can make a home with a fine lady who lives there, one whom I intend to marry, the lovely and talented Erika Laur of Åkersberga, which is a small community to the north of Stockholm in the Osteriker municipality of Uppland, Sweden.
Erika Laur of Åkersberga, Sweden.
I met the one I affectionately call the Rain Woman on deviantART in the fall of 2006 and we immediately became close friends, but it was not until the spring of 2008 that we began to fall in love, after many electronic letters and video conferences. During the summer, we began to colaborate on several projects in the art community. Today, we are inseperable and want very much to be married. We have lots in common, our love for the great outdoors, music, technology and art.
Ridgecrest as seen from the air.
The Bone Doctor is moving to Tennessee to see his family and revisit old friends during the winter and spring of 2009, before continuing the move to the Stockholm, Sweden area sometime in the summer. He will be staying in Lenoir City with Al Owrutzky, a close friend he has known since 1983. They intend to make some music and cut some records. It should be exiting times, indeed.
Downtown Stockholm, Sweden.
Walnut Hill will be relocating to Sweden in order to help fellow Walnut Hill Organ Club and Wall of Fame member Per Olef Schultz with the restoration of the 2/7 Mighty WurliTzer Theatre Pipe Organ, this instrument being the only one of its kind in the entire country, which originally had a home in the Skandia Theatre in Stockholm. Our goal is to see this great instrument returned to the theatre.
Second Relocation Fund Drive Now Open
We are now opening the Second Relocation Fund Drive, which is much more ambitious than the first since the distance is greater and there is the matter of shipping equipment and belongings overseas to Åkersberga, Sweden. Three conputers along with a collection of mics, recorders, cameras and a reference speaker system are worth thousands. The systems can be switched to 240VAC@50Hz via toggles on the power supplies, so adapters will be all that are needed to get them plugged into the local power grid.
We are going to have to raise a lot of money to pull this off, there is no doubt. Airfare alone for a one-way ticket bought in advance will be between $1,000 to $1,700. Passports and Permits will cost around $200. Shipping equipment could be incredibly expensive, perhaps over $2,000, bringing the total cost of the move to a conservatively estimated minumum of $4,000. If a return to the US to await permanent residency is needed, the cost could be even higher.
How To Make A Donation
As before, the original Pay Pal account which Doc and Tom Hoehn created is still active. Here, you can make your donation to help us relocate Walnut Hill Productions to Sweden. The Second Relocation Fund Drive will run all the way to the time Doc actually arrives and is settled in with Erika. He will be joining her upon his arrival, and she will already have the beginnings of a home started by then. She is to begin this process around April of 2009.
You can also send checks via standard mail to the following address, should you choose to not use the Pay Pal account. Please make checks payable to Richard Mogridge, with the words "Relocation Fund" in the memo line. The address is:
Walnut Hill Productions
9815 Fair View Road
Lenoir City, Tennessee 37772
If you have questions about the relocation fund, you can call the Bone Doctor at the Walnut Hill Office of Operations to learn more. That telephone number is 1-727-230-2610.
Become a part of history by making your donation today. Please help us to continue the work we are doing as we steadily grow and evolve, adding new features and more services such as broadcasting audio and video for all to enjoy. You'll be glad you did, knowing you will be helping to keep the King of Instruments in the public eye so that it will not be lost to future generations.
You can also become a part of this growing team of hard working Theatre Pipe Organ enthusiasts. We need the help of all those who can send in pictures, documents and recordings as audio and video clips for use in future featured organ and artist articles. Get your name in lights on our site. Call the Walnut Hill Office of Operations to learn more and get started.
Funds received during the Second Fund Drive: $645.00
All contributors will get recognized at the site should they choose, or they can remain anonymous, simply by letting the Bone Doctor know their preferences via email. Below is a listing of those individuals who have generously contributed funds and items to date:
- David Irwin
- Charles Walls
- David Knudtson
- Frank Towle
- Jim Reid
- Charles Ekstrand
- Erika Laur Rosenback
- Bryan Patterson
- Frederick Muller
- William Spalding
- $ 75.00
- $ 25.00
- $ 20.00
- $ 50.00
- $ 50.00
- $ 25.00
These most kind and generous folks have earned memberships in the Walnut Hill Organ Club and will be notified of their membership status when the club goes official after the move to Sweden. We have decided to push forward with the organization while awaiting an ATOS charter. We will post our progress in the Gazette during the fledgeling phase of this project which must still undergo much planning.
This is yet another major move forward for Walnut Hill Productions, one of the fastest growing and most visited TPO sites on the internet. We are trying to keep the Walnut Hill Productions website a free place for all who love the Mighty King of Instruments. We are also trying to keep it vibrant and ever changing. We do this to preserve a very important slice of history, but we need your help to keep it going. This move will allow Walnut Hill Productions to continue making major strides forward for the King of Instruments, doing the same thing for the organs of Europe that was done for those in the United States. We are thanking you in advance. The best is yet to come!
Save The Mighty WurliTzer and Grande Barton
Theatre Pipe Organs At Ceder Rapids, Iowa
CEDAR RAPIDS - Cedar Rapids' two original theatre organs, rare treasures that were damaged by the flood, are being stored at The History Center, 615 First Ave. SE, while their caretakers determine whether they can be restored.
The two organs are among about 40 in the country that remain in the theatres they were built for. They were once used to accompany and provide sound effects for silent movies.
3/12 Mighty WurliTzer Balaban 1A console.
The Paramount Theatre's 3/12 Mighty WurliTzer Balaban 1A was installed when the Paramount opened in 1928. The Mighty WurliTzer organ was removed from the Paramount Theatre on June 18. The Grande Barton organ was removed from the Iowa Theatre on Tuesday. That removal was sponsored by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. What happens next for the Mighty WurliTzer depends on what happens with the Paramount. The city of Cedar Rapids owns the theatre and the organ.
3/14 Grande Barton console.
The Iowa Theatre's 3/14 Grande Barton console was damaged by the floodwaters, but the impact to the organ was not as visible and dramatic as the Paramount's Mighty WurliTzer. The Barton console, hit with 4 feet of floodwater, remained standing on the 4-post Barton lift unlike it’s sister at the Paramount which was toppled over and tossed around, subjected to 8.5 feet of water and weakened significantly by the experience.
The 3/14 Grande Barton organ is owned by Cedar Rapids Barton Inc., a non-profit group formed exclusively for the maintenance and preservation of the organ. That organization and the Cedar Rapids Theatre Organ Society have set up an organ restoration fund. Gifts are tax deductible, and donations can be submitted by visiting www.cr-atos.com. You can also send a donation via Pay Pal by clicking the "Donate" button below:
To see a complete photodocumentary of the damage to these instruments and the movie palaces they once lived in, click here. Be warned. The images are very graphic, enough to make any TPO buff cry like a baby.