The Unification Church
Wurlitzer Opus 2133 left the factory in North Tonowanda, New York on September 19, 1930 bound for Trinity United Methodist Church in Clifton, New Jersey. A 2 manual instrument, it featured a horseshoe console, six ranks of pipes (flute, tibia, diapason, oboe, salicional, and dulciana) a set of chimes, and two tremulants. The instrument was purchased new for the church by a generous donor. A dedication plaque was affixed to the console, and the original purchase order is still stapled inside the case. The pipework was installed in two chambers on either side of the chancel. A Scheme 20 instrument (Wurlitzer’s terminology for style), it has a unique wiring schedule, indicating that the organ was customized specifically for the church building.
One of the later of the 2200+ instruments produced by Wurlitzer (only 105 more organs were built by the company), it has remained in place for over 82 years, virtually unchanged in configuration from when it was first installed. It joins the Biggest Little Wurlitzer at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ as one of the two remaining New Jersey Theatre Pipe Organs still playing in the venue for which it was designed. Since the organ was built for church use, it does not have the additional percussions and traps, or a toy counter that would normally be found in a theatre organ for use in accompanying silent films.
At one time the instrument was tuned and maintained by the Peragallo Organ Company of Paterson. In more recent years, GSTOS has assumed these responsibilities. GSTOS curators have included the late George Pasquaye, Dave Kopp, and most recently, Bob Martin. Bob says that the tremulants have had to be rebuilt several times due to squirrels in the attic gnawing on the leather!
The organ was featured by GSTOS in 1996 for our Fall Concert Spectacular produced by Bob Miloche. Five local artists presented a delightful afternoon of music: Al DeLuca, Scott Foppiano, Don Hansen, the late Ralph Ringstad, Jr., and the late Jinny Vanore. We last visited the instrument in January of 2000 for a business meeting and Open Console. Since that time, the Methodist congregation suffered from declining attendance and financial difficulties. The venue was sold to the HSA-UWC Family Church, who are now the owners of this little musical gem, this historic treasure.
In March of 2013, GSTOS presented “Theatre Organ Showcase” for the church members to introduce the organ to the new parish. Michael Cipolletti conducted an organ tour with Bernie Anderson, Jr. demonstrating. A concert was then presented featuring Ed Alstrom, Bernie Anderson, Jr. and Ed Baykowski.