A message from the WRTOS President
It’s 1925, you venture into a magnificent movie palace to see the new silent feature by Buster Keaton… You take your seat, the theatre darkens and then from the darkness, you hear the rumble of the mighty theatre pipe organ as it rises from the orchestra pit. Your heart races as the organist makes the organ sing!! The movie begins and the organist keeps pace with the on screen antics of the silent film!
This was the movie experience of a by gone era. The days when films were silent…just moving pictures, and orchestra, piano, pipe organ, or a combination of the three were used to provide the sound. The musician enhanced the laughter, or tears, happy or sad, keeping pace with the prat falls, and car chases.
There were over 7000 theatre organs installed between 1915 and 1933, but fewer than 40 remain in their original homes. The Western Reserve Theatre Organ Society was formed to help preserve and maintain a few of these amazing instruments.
As President of the Board of Trustees, I’d like to welcome you to our new and improved website!
We have developed this site as a portal into the world of the theatre organ, to allow future generations to become familiar with how they work, how they sound and mostly to encourage a love of these giants of the cinema.
WRTOS is a chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society and was started in 1962 with 29 charter members. Within our region of about 18 counties in Northeast Ohio, we have available 9 theatre organs in performing venues. Three of those are instruments in their original movie palace homes! WRTOS is primarily responsible for two of these organs, Cleveland Gray’s Armory Wurlitzer, and the Cleveland Temple Live Wurlitzer, while our interest and promotion extends to all in our region, and beyond! Several other instruments are in private homes throughout the state!
It is our mission to educate, and enhance knowledge of the Theatre Pipe Organ, and promote their use, maintenance and performance.
We hope that you enjoy our new website, and I would encourage you to become a member! Membership is easy and fun, and helps support the expensive care and restoration of this incredible truly American art form. We offer concerts, films, day trips, social gatherings, and learning experiences for our members. Please consider getting involved, or just becoming a member. I believe once you experience the rumble of the bass, and the myriad of sounds coming from the pipe chambers, you will be hooked!