THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT WITH THE MIGHTY WURLITZER Plays Music Hall Ballroom Today
Refresh you musical memory with a selection of classic melodies when The Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (SPMH) presents That's Entertainment with the Mighty Wurlitzer at Cincinnati's Music Hall today, May 15 at 10:30 AM and 7:00 PM. The popular theatre organ concert series is presented in cooperation with the Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Organ Society.
Tickets are on sale now at www.CincinnatiArts.org, (513) 621-ARTS , and the Aronoff Center or Music Hall Ticket Office. For groups of ten or more, call (513) 977-4157.
What's ENTERTAINMENT? ... One of the Mighty Wurlitzer series' most requested "Theater Organist of the Year," Jelani Eddington; PLUS, a concert of your favorite music from operettas, movies, Broadway, and maybe even TV; PLUS, featured vocalists Adria Caffaro and Joseph Lattanzi from the Cincinnati Opera's Young Artist program, who will bring back memories of Nelson Eddy & Jeanette McDonald, Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, and Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland. Get ready for the ultimate hum-along and smile-along good time.... Now that's ENTERTAINMENT!
"If you are a fan of great songs from the Golden Age of operettas, film, Broadway, and TV, then you will want to be at the Music Hall Ballroom on May 15th," said Don Siekmann, SPMH President. "With one of our favorite theatre organists and the fresh vocals from Cincinnati Opera's Young Artist program, this is sure to be one of our most entertaining Mighty Wurlitzer concerts ever, guaranteed to bring back lots of musical memories and put a big smile on your face!"
The Mighty Wurlitzer: The Mighty Wurlitzer was installed in the ornate Albee Theater on Fountain Square in December 1927 - one of only 2,200 theatre-organs produced at that time to accompany silent feature films. When talkies took over in 1929, the theatre organ was mainly silenced. The Albee organ was donated to the Emery Theater in 1969 (where it played for movies and other events) and was partially rebuilt by the Ohio Valley Organ Club. It was removed from the Emery in 1999 and put into storage.
The leadership at SPMH thought the historic Music Hall Ballroom would be an ideal location for the instrument, and in June 2007, Ronald F. Wehmeier, Inc., Pipe Organ Service in Cincinnati was contacted to completely rebuild and install the Wurlitzer. A donor foundation funded the entire project in the amount of $1.41 million. Only a small number of Wurlitzers of this size still exist, and Cincinnati (the home of the Wurlitzer Company) is one of the few cities in the country to have an instrument of this quality.
The Wurlitzer was expanded in tonal colors and effects, from 19 ranks of pipes to 31 ranks (a rank is made up of 61 pipes, and represents orchestral sounds, such as trumpets, flutes, tubas, strings, etc.). A full array of percussion effects is also present - xylophone, marimba, glockenspiel, chimes, and even a large Steinway grand - all playable from the giant three keyboard and pedal console, decorated in 22-karat gold leaf. Wind for the pipes is provided by a 15 HP high pressure turbine, the electrical switching is controlled by computer, and pipes range in size from 16 feet to the size of a pencil. In addition, the Wurlitzer is now fully computerized, so that it can be played without an organist through a digital input system.
Jelani Eddington: Jelani Eddington is one of the most prominent and sought-after theatre-organists on the concert circuit today. During the course of his concert career, Jelani has been featured at numerous national and regional conventions of the American Theatre Organ Society, and has toured extensively throughout the world, including numerous concert appearances in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. He has also accompanied numerous silent films and appears regularly at film series. In 2007, Jelani accompanied the classic film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, for an international organ festival in Finland on the country's largest pipe organ.
Jelani has also produced and marketed over 30 theatre organ albums on some of the best-known and most dynamic instruments in the country. In August 2001, the American Theatre Organ Society honored Jelani's extensive career as a concert and recording organist by naming him the 2001 Theatre Organist of the Year. Jelani retains the distinction of being the youngest-ever recipient of this prestigious honor. For a full bio, visit Jelani's website at www.rjeproductions.com.
The Corbett Foundation Opera Fusion Program: Funded by a generous grant from The Corbett Foundation, the Opera Fusion program has formalized the exciting partnership between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) with collaborative academic programming and enhanced young artist and internship opportunities during Cincinnati Opera's season. In addition to talented singers such as Adria Caffaro and Joseph Lattanzi, Opera Fusion also includes accompanists, scenic artists, production personnel, and administrative interns, as well as master classes and lectures given by Cincinnati Opera staff at CCM.