OPEN CONSOLE BUSINESS MEETING

3/10 RAINBOW ROOM ORGAN

3pm Sunday, February 18, 2024

Rahway Senior Citizens Center

This is a member only event. This meeting will include the financial report for the 2023 fiscal year given by Treasurer, Lee Popick. This is one of four annual business meetings and pizza will be provided.

Directions: From the south: Take the Garden State Parkway to exit 135 (Clark and Rahway), stay right and turn onto Brandt Avenue. Follow directions below from *. From the north: Take the Garden State Parkway to exit 135 (Clark and Rahway), turn left under the Parkway, and exit at the first right onto Brant Avenue. *Continue on Brant until it ends and turn left at the traffic light onto Westfield Ave. Follow Westfield for three traffic lights. (The road changes name at St. Georges Ave. to West Grand Ave.) At the third light, turn right onto Irving Street. Go two blocks and turn right onto Central Avenue. (You will see the Union County Arts Center on the left corner as you turn.) Go two blocks on Central and turn left onto Esterbrook, The Senior Center is two blocks ahead on your right. Park in the free lot behind the center, or on the street.

“Girl Shy” at Atlantic City featuring Ian Fraser at the keyboard

The Historic Organ Restoration Committee announced another silent film show featuring organist, Ian Fraser- last year’s ATOS Young Organist Winner.  The movie is “Girl Shy” starring Harold Lloyd and will be performed on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 7:00 PM in the Adrian Philips Ballroom, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City.

Thanks to the ongoing relationship between GSTOS and HORC, we are offered a block of tickets at a discounted rate of $20 each.  This alleviates fees and is a $5.00 discount- a very generous offer.

Tickets must be purchased in advance.  Treasurer, Lee Popick is handling sales. 

If you are unable to make an advance reservation, full priced tickets can be purchased at the door up to performance time on February 7.

ANNUAL DONATION REQUEST

Members and Friends are asked once a year to offer a donation to our organ preservation and restoration mission.  This is part of our long-term financial plan that will be able to support our organ collection into the future.  There are a few reasons that I will present why this is important.  

We own five pipe organs.  This collection includes excellent examples of organ builders and styles.  It also presents an expense because of the rapidly increasing cost of materials and because these organs are all in the century-old range.

Our Crews have gotten smaller.  In this edition, alone, we post two Closing Chords and we lost another member a few months ago.  This has created a smaller number of workers to do the same, unending job.  We found it necessary to farm-out work to organ repair companies and they are not volunteers as are our crews.  Thus, we have incurred new expenses.

We offer many of our concerts and presentations open-door and free to the attendees as part of our mission to keep theatre organ music alive and current.  The artists are paid professionals and compensated for their expertise from years of study.  We must pay royalties and copywrites.  And we maintain a web-site that is a resource to the community to keep this musical art form in the public eye.

Membership dues do not cover the cost of operation, insurance, and associated costs of doing business.  We have an investment team that works to build our financial portfolio.  And we ask for financial support from those who have a preservation mind to support us as well.  Every member of our administrative team and crew is strictly volunteer.  All money and donations go directly to our projects and programs.

At this time of year, when organizations appeal for year-end donations, we hope that you find GSTOS to be privileged to receive your support.  And, as a preservationist of this art form, we hope you will take advantage of our musical offerings!  Remember, we are a 501.c.3, tax-exempt organization and all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.  

Donations will be recognized at the following levels:

    Post Horn- over $500

    Tibia- up to $500

    Concert Flute- up to $250

    Vox Humana- up to $100

    Kinura- up to $50

Once compiled, we will print an Honor Roll of Donors in the first edition of the 2024.

Thanks for your consideration,

Luke Staisiunas in concert at Rahway Senior Center

Luke Staisiunas at The Fargo Theatre, Fargo, ND

Luke Staisiunas earned his Master’s Degree in Organ Performance under Dr. Adam Pajan and Dr. Damin Spritzer. He also earned his Bachelor’s from OU under Dr. John Schwandt and Dr. Pajan. During his time at OU, he performed with the Symphony Band, OU Chorale, OU Percussion Ensemble, as well as playing continuo for the Vitam Musica Foundation’s orchestra. In addition, he is active as a transcriber of orchestral works for organ, as well as compiling scores for silent film accompaniment.  He is active as both a classical recitalist, theatre organist, and church musician. Highlighted concert appointments include the ATOS national convention (2019), Spreckels Rising Stars concert (2019), Guthrie Oklahoma Scottish Rite Cathedral Christmas Concert (2019),  and numerous other performances both in the Midwest and East Coast since then.

As a technician, he has most recently worked for the Red River Pipe Organ Company and the former American Organ Institute shop, in Norman Oklahoma. During his time at the Red River firm, he was active as both a shop and field technician. During his time at the AOI, he oversaw the design and installation of a control system for the Schlicker studio organ as part of his Organ Technology coursework. 

He is quite versatile as a church musician, equally at home with traditional liturgy and more contemporary styles of worship as needed.  He is also an experienced substitute, serving a variety of denomination

Directions:  From the south: Take the Garden State Parkway to exit 135 (Clark and Rahway), stay right and turn onto Brandt Avenue. Follow directions below from *. From the north: Take the Garden State Parkway to exit 135 (Clark and Rahway), turn left under the Parkway, and exit at the first right onto Brant Avenue. *Continue on Brant until it ends and turn left at the traffic light onto Westfield Ave. Follow Westfield for three traffic lights. (The road changes name at St. Georges Ave. to West Grand Ave.) At the third light, turn right onto Irving Street. Go two blocks and turn right onto Central Avenue. (You will see the Union County Arts Center on the left corner as you turn.) Go two blocks on Central and turn left onto Esterbrook, The Senior Center is two blocks ahead on your right. Park in the free lot behind the center, or on the street.

The Balancing Act with Eric Fahner

@ Union County Arts Center

Erich Fahner at the UCPAC Wurlitzer

One of our members and staff organist for Union County Performing Arts Center, Eric Fahner, was called on recently to play the Wurlitzer for a television show. Montel Williams has a Lifetime show called “The Balancing Act.” The cable program features unique people and places. They were recording an upcoming segment at the Arts Center with Eric playing while an interview and taping took place

“Speedy” (1927) Silent Film in Atlantic City!

Garden State Theatre Organ Society is a platinum sponsor for an upcoming silent film show featuring Bernie Anderson at the 55 rank Kimball theatre pipe organ at the Adrian Phillips Auditorium, Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.  The date is Wednesday, September 27, at 6:30 PM.  Those of us who have been close to the restorations of the Boardwalk Hall organs can assure you that this organ is a sonic spectacular with remarkable clarity and power.

Parking is most convenient as there is ample underground parking that is barrier free to the Hall.

For tickets and venue information: Click HERE

For more information on the Kimball Organ: Click OHS Database and Boardwalk Organs

Don Kinnier returns to The Brook this Fall!

The Garden State Theatre Organ Society proudly presents the 1919 feature film, “When The Clouds Roll By” starring Douglas Fairbanks.

Doug Fairbanks stars as Daniel Boone Brown, a superstitious but ambitious young New Yorker who is the victim of a demented psychiatrist named Dr. Ulrich Metz, played by Herbert Grimwood.  Dr Metz, with the aid of numberless associates serving him in the interests of science, arranges circumstances intended to drive Daniel to suicide.  “When The Clouds Roll By” is the last of the romantic comedies that Fairbanks starred in before moving on to the bigger productions like Zorro and The Black Pirate for which he known for. At the time of filming When the Clouds Roll By, Fairbanks had just formed United Artists with Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith. This was the first time that a group of major stars broke their ties to the studios to make and distribute their own movies.

Charles Olge as The Monster in Edison’s Frankenstein (1910)

As an added feature, we are also presenting “Edison’s Frankenstein” (1910). The film is considered a loose adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein told in 16 minutes! The film was released towards the end of production for Edison’s Studios which would halt film production by 1918. The cast stars Mary Fuller as Elizabeth, Augustus Phillips as Frankenstein and Charles Stanton Ogle as The Monster and directed by Edison Studio regular, James Searle Dawley. Dawley direct over 300 short films and 56 full length pictures in his career. All his films were silent films with the exception of two experimental films made for Lee DeForrest.  Edison’s Frankenstein was filmed in 3 days in January 1910 at Edison’s Studio in the Bronx, New York City. The film is one of the earlier films to be associated with music cue sheets (published in Edison’s Kinetogram) and included pieces like “You’ll Remember Me” from the 1843 opera The Bohemian Girl, the 1852 “Melody in F”, “dramatic music” (presumably the “Wolf’s Glen” scene) from the 1821 opera Der Freischutz, the 1835 song “Annie Laurie”, and the Bridal Chorus from the 1850 opera Lohengrin.

 Tickets may be purchased at the door or by visiting the website https://www.brookarts.org/  

Our accompanist for the screening is no stranger to GSTOS. A Philadelphia area native, Don Kinnier began his organ studies at age 9. His teachers were David Ulrich and Harry Greer. He accompanied his first silent film, The Phantom of the Opera, while a student at Drexel Institute. Though trained in classical music, Don became enamored with the theatre organ, and ultimately decided not to go for Baroque. During the 1960’s he served as house organist at the Lansdowne Theatre in suburban Philadelphia. During the 1970’s he toured the US, Canada, Argentina, and Taiwan performing concerts. Concurrently he was a technical representative for the Baldwin Organ Company. From 1979 to 1995 Don served as house organist at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and as musical director for the Chester County Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to his work with the Betzwood Film Festival, Don accompanies classic silent films at the Philadelphia Film Festival, the Secret Cinema’s showings at Moore College of Art and the University of Pennsylvania. He has maintained a long and fruitful relationship with Longwood Gardens, playing recently at the Fanfare Weekend rededication of the large Aeolian organ there. He also plays at The Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center, and the Allen Theatre. Most recently, Don was named musical director of the New Reading Theatre Orchestra. He has completed a DVD , accompanying the 1925 Rudolph Valentino silent film “The Eagle”.

2023 ATOS Young Organists Competition Winner – Ian Fraser

(from Left to Right) – Declan Poole, Jared Goldinger, Ian Fraser, Luke Staisiunas

I

an Fraser can be added to the ranks of big names in theatre organ. Congratulations! The recent ATOS Convention was in July located in the greater Chicago area. One of the events of the annual gathering is the ‘Young Theatre Organist Competition’.

It was Independence Day at the Tivoli Theatre in Downer’s Grove that Ian was finalist and competed with Jared Goldringer and Declan Poole. All three young artists have risen to the top of their still-youthful craft and all three put on superior performances with some of the characteristics that signify experience beyond their years. The judges had the difficult task of selecting the best among them.

Ian’s performance included: an opener featuring Cole Porter’s ‘Let’s Misbehave’, followed by ‘Love of My Life’ a Queen ballad, then a ‘Wizard of Oz’ medley, and ending with ‘Sunrise’ from the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Groffe’. Ian is largely self-taught and his arrangements were refreshing, different, and unlike anyone else’s style. The total performance brought him the Win !

GSTOS has been presenting winners and runners-up with prize money for the past 10 years and he received a $1000 check through the generosity of our members. The runners-up each received $500. Ian also was offered a concert date to perform for GSTOS with all expenses paid ‘to New Jersey’ said President Michael Cipolletti, playfully. The award has already offered Ian concert dates in other venues and for other Chapters showcasing that his talent and efforts are being recognized.

It is very hard to describe a theatre organ convention because it is like fireworks and ocean waves. You appreciate it at the moment but you can’t put it into words. It was a week-long experience. For starters, it was a chance to visit with people, some international friends, who we may see once a year. We shared stories, sometimes repetitions and reminiscence, about our quests to save theatre organs. It was an opportunity to learn more about technology to manage these tremendous instruments. Additionally, it was an opportunity to hear some of the finest talent on some of the finest organs in the world.

If we look back at the heyday of theatre organs, it is clear that there are only a small percentage of the original organs still playing. There are only a small number of movie palaces that house these organs. The upside is that the instruments have never been better. We have valued them and taken care of them. We’ve upgraded the operational systems but the true sound has not changed. There is nothing like the sound of air coming out of a pipe!

Today’s organists are wizards. Their skills outperform almost all of the old-time organists and they command the unit orchestra in such a way that it is not a piece of century-old music but a modern-day musical instrument.

We may obtain a highlights CD of the Convention and that will capture some of the listening ‘choices’ of the editor. Yet, only full immersion at the live experience in the stunning halls these instruments inhabit can provide the full experience.

As times move forward, we hope the annual event will continue as it provides musical respite though the glorious musical experience that an ATOS Convention can provide.