From: Joseph M Mccabe, January 1999

Last June, Shea's Buffalo Theatre began a milestone project which will allow them to bring in Major broadway shows from NYC.Everything from the proscenium arch arch backwards would be new including stage house, rigging, dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, offices, loading docks, etc.

As it stands a sight to see today, currently the last of the "major construction is being finished, the last items on the list will be done including a new stage floor, "box booms" being installed in the auditorium proper, and electrical. This new building essentially "enveloped the former stagehouse & dressing rooms and was demolished from the inside after the new structure was erected.

The organ has a long and interesting story.....

As expansion would allow a large (but limited) time in which the organ would not be used, it was determined that early on in planning, if financial plans permitted, the console would be re-finished. After funding was in place, the large 4 manual console was removed to the shop of Illos Piano Rebuilders & Music center. (for those interested: where it is currently being restored to a finish similar to its original mohagany finish. Working close with the shop, this will also allow for a connector to be installed on the pedal wiring cable which during the organ restoration of 1984, was overlooked. This will allow for ease of service.

During the construction over the last three months, vibrations and debris caused SEVERE damage to the CEILING of the brass chamber which inturn spilled plaster onto the chests causing MINOR damage. Also, directly across on the opposite side of the theater, plastered which had been damaged from water as far back as the 1950's was starting to come loose. At that time, I meet with the theater management and construction firm to determine what would be in the best interest of everyone involved. It was then determined that the contractor/theatre would repair/replace damaged and missing plaster in the two organ chambers which have suffered a great deal of damage over the years. In order to do this however, The contractor needed to have as much as possible removed from the chambers.

Shortly there after, an agreement was reached in which I (as well assistance from others) would remove everything from the chambers except large 16'offsets (example: tibia plena 16', very bottom of the diaphone, bombarde 16', etc.), regulators, major airlines, and large percussions (like the marimba harp). This meant that essentially everything else from chests to trems had to come out.

Over the past week, pipes have been packed safely in trays, and everything has been lowered down two stories to the balcony level of the theater. open ends on airlines are currently being sealed, and remaining organ components sealed in plastic. The english horn and tuba mirabilis are awaiting resonator repair.

Since the expansion project, awareness of the organ has increased 200%+ just with the consruction firms and theatre staff!!!!! Full cooperation has been given by the theatre to insure QUALITY RESTORATION to the complete instrument to keep it in prime ORIGINAL condition. The theatre has also insured that the organ is to be up and running before the re-opening of the theatre MAy 5th, 1999. It is currently predicted that organ re-installation will take place around April 1, 1999 in which everycomponent in the two chambers being re-plastered, will be cleaned and restored to working order. Additional work also needed includes cleaning of the blower room (adjacent to the new understage area) and console adjustments after it arrives back home to the theatre.

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