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The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays Again


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Received this in the Orpheum newsletter email (the Orpheum is Memphis' (TN) grand old theater) about the $500M restoration of their Wurlitzer organ.  I thought it might be of some interest here.  When I hear "Wurlitzer" I think of the outstanding electric pianos, but this is more substantial and of a different vintage.

_dsc0436.jpgwurlitzerreturn-01022020-81.jpg

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2 hours ago, velorush said:

Received this in the Orpheum newsletter email (the Orpheum is Memphis' (TN) grand old theater) about the $500M restoration of their Wurlitzer organ.  I thought it might be of some interest here.  When I hear "Wurlitzer" I think of the outstanding electric pianos, but this is more substantial and of a different vintage.

_dsc0436.jpgwurlitzerreturn-01022020-81.jpg

Great story. I about flipped at the cost of restoration. Then read the article and saw it was “$500k”... 😜

Given the history and rarity of the piece plus the amount of work needed to restore it, that made more sense to me...

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11 minutes ago, Travis said:

Great story. I about flipped at the cost of restoration. Then read the article and saw it was “$500k”... 😜

Given the history and rarity of the piece plus the amount of work needed to restore it, that made more sense to me...

A common mistake, including in many news articles by people who should know better: M = Milli = thousand.  MM = Thousand Thousand = Million. 

∴ "$500M" = Five Hundred Thousand; $500MM = Five Hundred Million.  That has been the case since Roman times.  😉

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Wonder how "Louie Louie" would sound if played on that instrument...and that, er, 'concept' is not unprecedented (Mothers of Inventions' 1969 album Uncle Meat  featured that song played on the Albert Hall pipe organ).

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4 hours ago, velorush said:

A common mistake, including in many news articles by people who should know better: M = Milli = thousand.  MM = Thousand Thousand = Million. 

∴ "$500M" = Five Hundred Thousand; $500MM = Five Hundred Million.  That has been the case since Roman times.  😉

Yeah, I took two years of Latin in high school so I’m familiar with the Roman numerals. 

However, I was using the Greek (and equally accepted) abbreviations of K for kilo (thousand) and M for mega (million). 😜
 

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What kinda school do you go to to play that thing!! That has to be like a house musician only key player kinda deal... no bangIn on that with your shoes in the heat of raising the roof rockin!!!

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Roman numerals aside, I also first thought "Half a billion?  Shee-bus, I'm in the wrong racket". 😅   Still, it boggles the mind once you get into actually restoring one of those things.  I paid for a couple of years of piano lessons by helping my teacher move, refurbish repair and rebuild a bigger organ than that.  But it didn't have the percussion section.  Man oh man, the stories around that thing.  This one here turned out gorgeous!

 

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DANG! That's awesome.  I wonder where in the theater they keep the pipes for that thing. From the pictures I have seen, they aren't the "decorative" type you see in some Churches and other places, so they are probably hidden in the walls or under the stage, for a true 'surround sound' type of setup.

I'm glad they were able to restore it once again, as they really don't make them like that anymore.

Maybe one of these decades they will have the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall Pipe organ FULLY functional. By the number of pipes, it is the largest pipe organ ever made.

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^^^^

Usually most of the pipes, blowers, wind chests, etc. are housed in a separate room, which can be quite large and complex.  Various pipe types need a certain amount of air above them to sound properly.  Many churches may have a  rank or two exposed as if to say "Hey, ain't we cool, we've got a pipe organ!".  But most of the actual works are behind the proverbial curtain.

 

 

Edited by tomteriffic
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