The Museum Of Yesterday's
THEATRE PIPE ORGAN GALLERY
 
 


Follow me as I visit the famous organs of the United States and Canada.


Visit the DeMajo Organ Works shop and see our work and our recent projects


SAVE THE ORGAN
a website with information for the organ builder or organ hobbyist


See the other collections in the DeMajo Family's Museum of Yesterday


See a listing of "golden era" radio stations that used theatre organs in their programming

 

A view of the musuem's WOLD Radio "STUDIO A" which is housed in the Museum Of Yesterday in Chesterfield, VA. This gallery is an authentic representation of a 1930's radio station studio, and is still actively used to produce content for the museum's Internet and local AM radio broadcasting facility.

More information, photos and specifications are available here

The theatre organ is a uniquely American invention. The instrument was developed for the purpose of accompanying silent films during the first quarter of the 20th Century. When it was rendered "obsolete" in 1929 by the event of talking pictures, many theatre organs sat abandoned in theatres, and others were removed and transplanted into the burgeoning Radio broadcasting industry. Sadly, of the more than ten thousand instruments built in the heyday of motion picture palaces, only a few hundred remain in existence, and fewer than thirty remain as unaltered installations in their original homes. In the 1950's, thanks to the introduction of High Fidelity recording, there was a rebirth of interest in the theatre organ and its unique musical style. As we salute the invention of this fantastic musical machine, many of today's youth have never had the experience of hearing the exciting sounds that a theatre organ can produce. The museum therefore offers this exhibit toward keeping the sounds of the "Mighty Wurlitzer" alive today.


To hear an audio file of the museum's theatre organ, as played by our founder John DeMajo, click here.


Live Performances by John DeMajo


The Byrd Theater's 90th Anniversary Party, December 24, 2018, featuring our founder
John DeMajo at the console.

A concert at Bon Air Presbyterian Church in Richmond, VA (allow time for video to load properly)

 

 

Console on its original stage lift platform. Up-down control and stage intercom phone are at left.

Click on photo to see movie

A view of the organ pipe chamber which is located on the third floor, one level above the radio studio on the second floor of the museum. WOLD's Radio's Studio "A" is the location of the console, and the performance and listening area for the instrument. Sound is directed from the pipe chamber to the studio through a set of third floor swell shades, and into a glass enclosed sound chute that carries it to the second floor studio. Through application of this unique acoustic design, the organ is allowed to speak at its original Wurlitzer factory specified dynamics and pressures, just as it did in 1926 in the nine-hundred seat theatre where it was ouriginally installed. The result is a sensational theater sound without the risk of over-powering listeners.

 
The museum's music library contains thousands of copies of antique sheet music, historic audio recordings, and printed information highlighting the history of music and entertainment.
 

Photo above: Our founder at the console of the world's largest pipe organ, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ.


Welcome to our pipe organ site.

We hope that you are enjoying your visit to our museum. In addition to our tribute to the "King Of Instruments", we offer many galleries devoted to America's great industrial contributions to society. Please take the time to visit each gallery as you journey through our pages.


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