Park Performing Arts Center
560 32nd. St. Union City, NJ
The Park Performing Arts Center, Union City NJ was built in 1931 and has been dedicated to the Arts of the community ever since. The three manual twenty rank orchestral Möller pipe organ was installed in two pipe chambers containing 1,390 pipes plus a 25 note chime and a beautiful 61 note Deagan Harp. The console is of classical design with draw knobs. The organ speaks out of chamber openings that simulate doors of ancient houses painted on the walls of the semi-atmospheric style theatre. The organ interacts with the wonderful acoustics of the Park to create an excellent sonic experience.
This pipe organ created the perfect accompaniment for the long and still running famous Passion Play which is performed every Lenten season. It is the oldest Passion Play in America, having been presented in Union City, NJ since 1915.
Unfortunately, over the years the organ required care and was not used.
Even though it is not a Theatre Organ, in April of 1991 GSTOS signed a contract to maintain the Möller. A dedicated crew spent many hours on repairs. Special credit and thanks go to George Fenn, Eric Fahner, George Pasquaye, Jeff Barker, George Toth and Crew Chief Martin Boehling.
May, 2001: A delightful concert, “Showtime at the Park”, was presented with Martin Boehling at the Möller.
June, 2001: Crew report – Restoration continues on the 20 rank Möller. Three of the five primary actions have been releathered. The remaining two in the Great/Choir Chamber still need to be done. Since the organ’s components are in a relatively tight space, more than one person at a time in the chamber under the windchests is considerably difficult. The chest for the Tibia donated by Nelson Page, which is in the process of being added to the organ has to be greatly modified, as it was to be mounted on a Vox Humana Chest, and only a few of the Tibia’s 61 pipes will fit. Therefore, we are using the small parts (magnets, primary valves and other associated parts) in a new chest frame with the pipes properly spaced in a “diatonic” chest layout.
A discrete component Solid State relay has been built with Darlington Transistors to operate the chest magnets and diode matrices for the 19 different places it is used on the 3 manuals and pedal . A total of 3503 individual parts are incorporated in this relay board, all of which are “off the shelf”. A proposal has been submitted to the theatre owners for total unification of the windchests to make the instrument much more flexible and eliminate reliance on inter-manual couplers for correct registrations.
December, 2003: In recent years the two driving forces behind the improvement and maintenance of this instrument have been GSTOS members Martin Boehling and George Fenn. As of this date, Martin has moved away to the Carolinas, and George’s health prohibits him from further work. The project is now stalled.
September, 2016: George Fenn has passed away, and with few crew volunteers and many organs to address, GSTOS has had no contact with this organ’s owners for many years. The instrument’s status and whether it is played is currently unknown.