Salmon Glacier

Salmon Glacier
Salmon Glacier, BC, Canada

Friday, December 12, 2014

Organ Stop Pizza

Well, I have, indirectly, been told that my daughter(you know who you are) would like to see some scenery other than just desert hiking. So I thought I would post our trip to Organ Stop Pizza. This is a pizza restaurant with a twist. Organ Stop Pizza is the home of one of only a handful of Wurlitzer Theatre Organs. Organ Stop’s Wurlitzer theatre organ was built for the Denver Theatre and was installed in 1927.  The organ was used regularly until the early 1930s. In the theatre, the organ was a style 260, having a three-manual console and 15 ranks/sets of pipes. Organ Stop purchased the instrument in the early 1970s and undertook the mammoth task of rebuilding the instrument. Several additions were made to the instrument by acquiring parts from other ill-fated Wurlitzers. The resulting 23 rank organ was installed in the original facility in 1975.

 As of 2011, the organ boasts nearly 6000 pipes. The massive quantities of wind required for operation are provided by four huge turbine blowers (visible from the outside of the building in the blower complex). The resulting instrument is the largest Wurlitzer theatre organ in the world! Our RV park along with a few others in the area were given an opportunity attend a special presentation along with our pizza lunch. The event started at 1:30 pm on Monday. We paid our 8 dollars per person for a buffet of pizza(which by the way is very good), and entertainment. Once we were seated the manager came out and explained how the pizza would be served and a short intro of what we would be viewing. After we got our pizza and drinks, the lights dimmed(which is why some of the photos are blurry) and the organ began to play. The stage in front of us showed a man and the organ revolving around as it came up from under the stage area. Click on the photos to enlarge.

The gentleman playing the organ was Charlie Balough. Mr. Balough began his professional playing career at the Phoenix Organ Stop in 1973. In 1976, he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, performing at The Roaring 20’s restaurant (subsequently changed to Good Time Charley’s). His 14 year involvement there as a performer, musical director and owner was highly acclaimed. In 1991, he then returned home to Arizona with his family. In addition to performing at Organ Stop, Charlie is also a leading national concert artist, has many pipe organ recordings to his credit and was named “Organist of the Year” by the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS) in 2000. Mr. Balough took some requests and explained in great detail all the workings of the organ. You might want to follow the link, Organ Stop Pizza, at the top of the post to get more detailed information. The presentation was a lot of fun and entertaining. There are so many instruments associated with the organ and blend together to produce some incredible music.

I found this You Tube video of one of the organists that plays at Organ Stop. This is one of the songs that Mr. Balough played for us. The Phantom of the Opera.

Of course, our presentation included a number of Christmas theme songs. The entertainment ended after about a an hour presentation. We had a great time and would recommend this a stop if in the Phoenix, AZ area. So there you have it, I have been doing some other things besides hiking.

Tomorrow we pack and get ready to leave for IL, IN and some holiday cheer with family.

Until then....

1 comment:

  1. What a cool pizza place, hope you've made it back to IL safely, enjoy your family holiday.