Banner of the Music hall Ballroom with the Mighty Wurlitzer

Ron Rhode playing the Mighty Wurlitzer as over 600 attendees looked on.There's Music in the Air
10 years later

After sleeping in two warehouses, slowly waking up in a workshop and music studio in Price Hill, and assembled in a historic ballroom; the Albee Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ sang again in a dedication concert on November 28, 2009. Over 700 attendees heard professional theatre organist, Ron Rhode.

to hear a dedication speech by Joseph Hollmann, president of the Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society.

Mr. Rhode performed a two-in-a-half-hour concert on the refurbished Mighty Wurlitzer. Each song Ron played demonstrates the many musical qualities of this magnificent instrument. The concert was presented by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society (which owns the organ) and the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall.

Ron tuning pipes in one of the chambers.Who Did What?

On June 28, 2007, seven contracts were signed to allow the MightyWurlitzer to be installed in Music Hall's Ballroom.
The parties include the city of Cincinnati, which owns Music Hall; Cincinnati Arts Association, which manages Music Hall; the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (a volunteer arm), Norma Petersen, president; the Ohio Valley Chapter (owners of the organ) of the American Theatre Organ Society, Joseph Hollmann, president; Ronald F. Wehmeier Pipe Organ Service, Glaserworks, the architect for the project; and the construction company of Frank Messer and Sons.

When the Past becomes the Present

Ron Wehmeier (who was hired by the Ohio Valley Chapter to rebuild the organ) was the same individual 40 years ago who had portions of the Wurlitzer pipe organ playing when it was originally installed in the Albee Theatre. The entire project took approximately 30 months to complete. Within that period, the console was shipped to the Crome Organ Company in Reno, Nevada to be refinished to its original mahogany. The decorative gold trim was added to the console later. Lyn Larsen at the console while Ron is inside the pipe chamber.

The original relay system and combination action was replaced with a new computer controlled system. The Ohio Valley Chapter’s Albee Wurlitzer was connected to a Windows-based computer to expand its musical capability of recording and storing performance data.

Theatre Organ magazine from cover that is a hyperlink to a PDF.In September 2009, renowned theater organist Lyn Larsen conducts the final tonal finishing from the console while Ron was in the chamber tuning each pipe and percussion.

CLICK on the magazine cover to read the story that appeared in Theatre Organ Magazine, the official newsletter of the American Theatre Organ Society.

Link to Theatre organ online
CLICK HERE or the logo to read addition information about the organfrom Theatre Organ Magazine online.

CLICK HERE to see more pictures of the restoration and construction of the Ohio Valley Chapter’s Albee Mighty Wurlitzer organ from the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall’s web site.

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A view of the concert from the last row. Another picture of the attendees getting ready for the concert
LEFT: The last remaining seat (photo by Larry Klug).
RIGHT: The excitment builds up towards concert time
(photo by Larry Klug).

photo of inside the left organ chamber ——Photo of the grand lobby
LEFT: Joseph Hollmann delivers the dedication speech. CLICK HERE to hear it (photo by Larry Klug).
What a lovely couple! (photo by Larry Klug).

The first song in 10 years. Well worth the wait.

Ron Rhode performs Caprice Viennois. It was originally the theme song of the Moon River radio show.
You can read more about Ron Rhode HERE!.

Photo Credits:
First paragraph photo by Larry Klug

Pipe chamber and Lyn Larsen picture - Photo copyright 2009 Philip Groshong

Recording of dedication speech by Katie Baker.

The Slient Years (Coming Soon)
Music Hall Dedication

Updated on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 10:22 PM