History Of WRTOS

WRTOS is a chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS), and we were founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1962 with 29 charter members. Since that time our rolls have grown to over 100. We are a tax exempt, non-profit, (501 c-3) educational corporation in the State of Ohio. Our mission is to further the use and understanding of the theatre pipe organ and its music; to strive to support and promote the few remaining instruments in the land of the Western Reserve – 18 counties mostly in and around the northeastern Ohio area. Education for our members and the general public is our hallmark.

Our main mission is education for our members and the general public. We are currently undertaking the restoration, maintenance, and/or installation of several area theatre pipe organs. This is a large undertaking done strictly on a volunteer basis and entirely for the purpose of keeping alive a historic and wonderfully unique part of America’s musical past. Education is a chief part of our tradition. The number of talented theatre organists and technicians with the ability to maintain these beasts diminishes each year. We strive to encourage the appreciation and enjoyment from both listening to and performing on a theatre organ. Technical aspects of restoration, tuning, and maintenance are available and shared when the opportunities arise. These are critical components to the survival of these increasingly rare pieces of American genius and we are always looking for others to join the cause – and the fun!

WRTOS is becoming one of the leading chapters in ATOS, due to no small part to the dedication and contributions of our growing membership. Our PAC Wurlitzer project was a large undertaking done strictly on a volunteer basis and entirely for the purpose of keeping alive a historic and wonderfully unique part of America’s musical past. WRTOS is a group of theatre organ enthusiasts and supporters on the move! Look at our recent accomplishments:

- Nearly a 20% increase in membership  (reversing an annual downward trend)
- Created our own web site  - you're reading it now
- Professional-level maintenance and stewardship of the 3 manual 15 rank Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ at the Cleveland Grays Armory Museum
- Acquisition, restoration and ongoing installation of our own Wurlitzer in the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium and Performing Arts Center (PAC)
- Doubling of our treasury to begin funding of the new 4_28 installation
- Facilitation of cordial and meaningful relationships with area theatre organ venues
- Formation of a first-ever marketing committee
- Creation of a development committee, actively seeking fund raising projects
- Award of our first-ever grant
- Establishment of an all-professional board of directors
- Hosting the 2009 and 2016 ATOS conventions in Cleveland and NE Ohio

In connection with our tax-exempt status as an educational organization, we hope to enter into agreements with local music schools as well as private music teachers and public schools in order to offer learning opportunities for both youth and adult education curricula. While we intend to continue the traditional local chapter events and activities with our Wurlitzer organ as a center piece, we aspire to making a more indelible mark on the local musical arts and education scene by collaborating with the Masonic Auditorium’s host orchestra, area university music departments and high schools as well as other related organizations such as the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, and others. All public and private productions at the PAC will have the opportunity to use the Wurlitzer during their events, thus exposing the theatre pipe organ to a larger segment in Cleveland than since the 1920’s. This is truly a significant and historic goal.

Please tour our site to see the exciting and fun things we are up to. And don’t forget to visit our membership page and our How You Can Help link!  We hope to see you at one of our events. Come, join the fun and satisfaction in keeping this American musical art form alive and thriving!