From: Bruce Hannover, May. 1998

In late March of this year, I flew to Yarmouth, Mass., with two others from South Florida and loaded Wurlitzer Opus 1623 onto a 24 ft. Budget truck, which two of us drove back here to Fort Lauderdale.

Brian Daggett and Gary Bergmark, formerly of Yarmouth, have donated the instrument to the South Florida Theatre Organ Society for intended installation in the 600 seat Amaturo theatre in the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft. Laud..

The organ is presently in storage at the theatre, with installation expected to commence in August of 1998.

Most restoration work was completed by Brian and Gary, however we are presently finishing up some of the work. Walt Strony has consulted on the design of the installation and Ed Zollman is expected to do the final installation work with Walt.

Bruce Hannover, head (stage) electrician, Amaturo theatre.


Posted to PIPORG-l March 1998........

Subject: 2/12 Wurlitzer going to Ft.Lauderdale

It is my extreme pleasure to advise all list subscribers that a two manual, twelve rank Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ is slated for installation in a theatre in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Wurlitzer, opus 1623, originally installed in 1927 in the Palace Theatre, Auburn, New York, has been donated to the theatre by Brian Daggett and Gary Bergmark. Brian and Gary have been longtime Allen organ dealers on Cape Cod and have been restoring the organ for many years with the intention of installing it in their home on the Cape.

The Allen company recently persuaded Brian and Gary to assume control of Dunne Music, the Allen dealership in Florida, based in Pompano Beach. Realizing that the Wurlitzer must find a new home, they approached yours truly regarding the possibility of installing it in the 600 seat Amaturo Theatre, one of two theatres in the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

With this incredible offer in hand, I approached Mike Kinerk, local theatre organ society chapter officer, and National ATOS office holder, and requested his assistance in putting the plan in action. It has been our goal, since inception, that this project will not cost the theatre one red cent. The theatre, only eight years old, is still reeling from a 9 million dollar construction debt, and I knew that no approval would be forthcoming if theatre funds were required.

After rushing this concept onto the agenda of the Performing Arts Center's board of directors' meeting last Thursday, I was elated to find out that the board had approved the project, at least in concept.

The Wurlitzer will be donated to the South Florida Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society, and will remain in their possession. It will be leased to the Broward Center, where it will be installed in chambers built specifically for it. The South Florida Chapter of the ATOS will be responsible for raising the approxiamately eighty thousand dollars necessary for the installation work. Obviously the more donations that are raised, the quicker this important installation can proceed.

We were fortunate to have been paid a visit, at the theatre, by Mr. Walt Strony, who has participated in the re-design and restoration of opus 1623. Mr. Strony was favorably impressed with the theatre and indicated that he felt that the organ will truly be in a world-class installation. The acoustics in the Amaturo Theatre are truly incredible. Kirkegaard and Associates were the acoustic consultants and have done a fine job.

The donation of this Wurlitzer was made possible by the expert appraisal done on the instrument by Mr. Lyn Larsen. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Larsen for his efforts to assist in our cause for the organ.

Mr. Joseph Amaturo, for whose family the theatre is named, has pledged the first ten thousand dollars towards the project. Co-incidentally, his immigrant father's first job in America, upon arrival from Italy, was as a pit piano player for silent films. Mr. and Mrs. Amaturo are very supportive and to them we are also indebted.

On a personal level, I am the Head Stage Electrician in the Amaturo Theatre. I was first exposed to theatre pipes in the early 70's at the Joliet (Illinois) Rialto Square Theatre. I opened the larger theatre at the Broward Center as Head Electrician, while the smaller theatre was being finished. As soon as it was ready, I moved into the Amaturo theatre. My first impression of the ungainly side box seats was that they would make perfect organ chambers. 8 years later that idea is becoming a reality.

We do need funds, obviously. Both the theatre and the S. Florida ATOS chapter are 501(C)3 tax exempt entities. Donations are, therefore tax deductible. For further information, please contact me directly at the theatre (954)522 5334 ext. 4032 or at . The mailing address of the theatre is 201 SW 5th Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. 33312

Thanks for your support, Bruce Hannover.

4th June 1999...... Today, by unanimous voice vote, the Performing Arts Center Authority of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, voted to approve the proposed installation of WurliTzer opus #1623 into the 600 seat Amaturo Theatre here. The Fort Lauderdale center houses two theatres, the 2800 seat Au-Rene Theatre and the smaller intimate 600 seat Amaturo Theatre. The motion to approve was made by Mrs. H. Wayne Huizenga and seconded by Mr. Joseph Amaturo. Opus 1623 was donated to the South Florida Theatre Organ Society in February of 1998 by Brian Daggett and Gary Bergmark, formerly of Cape Cod, Ma.. The instrument was moved to Ft. Lauderdale in March 1998 from Cape Cod, and put into secured storage at the theatre. Theatre management had requested a news blackout be in effect until such time that the project was formally approved by the Board of Directors, which was done today. More details gladly furnished upon request.

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