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
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 BruceH8552@AOL.com . 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.