John Vanderlee, Nov. 1998
The Bardavon was originally an opera house built
in 1869, it was redone in 1923 as a movie house and obtaineed the II-7
Wurli EX you mentioned.
The organ was sold in the 60's to a private party's home in Scarsdale NY,
and subsequently resold to an entrepeneur who stored it in HIS house back in
The theater fell on hard times and was due to be raized in the late '70s
for (you guessed it) a parking lot. A group of concerned citizens saved it
to form the Bardavon 1869 Opera House Inc. THe theater was declared a
landmark and since then has made a marvellous come back as the premier
Performing Art Center for the Hudson Valley.
The organ was uncovered by the New York Theatre Organ Society in 1983, and
the theater then could not afford to re-install it. Hence NYTOS bought it,
restored it and it played again in 1993. The theater uses it actively for
various functions, although NYTOS has a rocky relationship with the
The organ has been modified, we like to say improved, as it now has a solid
state relay with Syndynes. All ofsets are now on their own wind, and the
organ has gained a 16ft Tuba, a Clarinet, an Orch. Oboe, and is being
prepped for a Kinura, and a 16' Tibia extension. A piano was desired, but
precluded by lack of space. A Yamaha "box" running off our MIDI out
provides a very convincing substitute.
The organ works extremely well with the accoustics of the theater, and
those playing it generally praise it for its "grand sound combined with
intimacy." It sounds bigger than it actually is.
Beyond a possible Post Horn addition we envision the organ as completed.