From: Steve Stendebach, March 2006
We are pleased to report that this organ is fully restored and in full operational condition at the
Aztec Theatre in San Antonio, Texas.
It is played several times daily.
The console is a 3 manual Waterfall originally installed at the Boston Paramount Theatre.
For more information, visit www.aztecontheriver.com
Aztec On The River
From: John Lauter, November 2007
The Palms/State organ, at the time of its removal (1974) was only 14-1/2 ranks of the original 20 AFA pipework
is concerned. The Wurlitzer pressure piano is still in the Palms/State (now KA the "Fillmore") but that
instrument is so high up in the theatre it is doubtful that anyone ever went up there to tune it.
Greg Bellamy climbed up there once, pronounced it a very scary place to get to.
The State organ was declared the most disappointing large Wurlitzer in the city by the old timers,
mostly due to the design of the building and its speaking area.
From: Grahame Davis, November 2007
A few interesting points about the San Antonio installation....
The chests and some of the pipes are from the State (Palms) Theatre in Detroit but not all of the
pipework from the Detroit State Publix found its way to San Antonio. The Quintadena is missing having
been replaced by a standard 10" Wurlitzer Open Diapason from some other organ.
The Sax and Brass Trumpet are also not from the original State Theatre organ.
Other ranks are suspect as well.
There is the obligatory Post Horn which makes the rank count 22 actual speaking ranks.
The organ is installed behind non-Wurlitzer shutters which don't open quite as far as Wurlitzer
shutters...this means that the organ is slightly attenuated in the room....perfect for movie work.
From: Grahame Davis, October 2009
The Aztec organ was last played in public by Walt Strony......a typical Halloween gig.....the shortened version of Chaney's Phantom.
I was in El Paso at the time so jumped on a Southwest flight and met Walt at the theatre Friday afternoon.
We had to spend 5 hours working on the organ before he could set any pistons....a most interesting experience.
Some local tuner had touched up the tuning.....even down to tuning the Solo Tibia which was running on static wind due to a fallen pallet valve in the regulator!
The stoppers were all up at the top of the pipes just barely hanging on........
I won't go into the details but that poor organ has suffered a lot for various reasons which are fairly complex....as others have suggested.
I went back there in 2008 and removed the percussions from the theatre where they had been installed
in two towers on each side of the theatre down on the main floor. Those percussions have been taken to storage and are safe.
The theatre has been turned into a sort-of "grand ole Opry of the south"......the organ is not part of the business plan.
Bob Maes removed the console from the balcony and it too is safely stored in a room off the balcony.
The blower was exhumed from under the stalls on the main floor and has been taken to storage.
The orchestra pit has been completely covered over with the new stage.
We prevailed on the owners to get the blower out of that area so it could be sold with the organ in the future.
Otherwise it would have been entombed there forever.
Several offers on the organ have been refused by the owners....A European family with business interests in the southwest.
The money spent on the organ totals a figure most people would not believe given a cursory inspection of the
chambers...and the present owners have expectations of getting their money back in a sale.
They have been very disappointed with the offers to date.
Due to many factors surrounding the instrument and its past....the offers they are getting are all
less than 1/4 of the total amount of money spent on the instrument to date.
Interestingly....the organ is presently installed backwards from what we consider normal.
The Solo is on the left...Main on the right.
In a Publix...this is not too bad....both chambers have Solo scale Tibias.