From: Scott Foppiano, August 2007
The row under the Solo on the left controls stops that are preset on them:
traps, piano, Glock on Solo, Marimba on Solo, Chimes on Solo, Xylophone on Solo, etc.
Another row, under the Bombarde on the left, controls 5 preset tremulant settings,
and are dedicated solely to trem settings.
Under the Great on the left is a row that controls settable traps and percussion combinations
(ex: piano on Acc, Gt and Ped or tap cymbal on Ped and Acc, etc).
To the right of each manual is a divisional cancel and, on the bottom at the far right of
the Accompaniment manual is a General Cancel.
I know the"purists" will bitch about originality, BUT- they installed pistons that are the same
exact size and shape as original Wurlitzer pistons, they are felted just like the original
Wurlitzer pistons and are damn useful to an organist!
From: John Lauter, September 2008
The percussion instruments are installed in the theatre's original organ chambers, rooms that once
housed a Robert Morton. In the Fisher the percussions were located in various pipe chambers along with the pipes.
Dave Brewer modified the vibraphone 's mechanism that holds the vanes open when it is being used as a
chrysoglott--the original gizmo stuck a prawl-like thing in a disc that rotated on the shaft,
when it was activated it made a loud "clunk" sound. He made a silent brake out of a Ford heater
motor armature, it rotates to a dead spot.
Dave also hooked up the piano's stages of expression, they were rigged out of the factory to be
soft or loud, when they had the goods to be expressive.
Several pistons were added to the left of the original Wurlitzer buttons on the keyslips,
these operate mechanical relays that engage groups of tremulant tabs, couplers per manual, traps, and (solo) percussion instruments, an attempt back when to help compensate for the wacky specification and lack of unification.
The inner stoprails were painted black, were natural finish from the factory,
and a 1950s Wurlitzer piano fallboard decal was added to the backrail, just cuz'.
From: John Lauter, December 2009
Today (6th) I attended the final scheduled performance at the Detroit Theatre Organ Society's
(nee Detroit Theatre Organ Club) Senate theater. The Fisher Wurlitzer sounded great under the hands of Lance Luce,
who played a program of Christmas favorites. The theatre was quite full; two large groups joined the DTOS audience,
as well as several people who read of this final program. With the room so full and the organ sounding so good it was
eerily reminiscent of the days in the 1970s when I went there as a teenager, the 900 seats were full for
many performances, a name like Lyn Larsen could have all the seats full and standing room at the back.
45 years at the Senate, 650 programs at the Senate and the Iris, before the Senate.
Every name artist who has become a distinguished name in the annals of theatre organ have played here--the
list of who hadn't is easier to recite--Oliver Wallace, Jesse Crawford and Buddy Cole are (about) the only
theatre organ greats who did not concertize for the group.
Founding member Dave Voydanoff and Glen Rank composed and printed a souvenir program listing the artists
who have played, and how many concerts they gave, a very impressive list.
There is going to be one last fling, a multi-player thing on January 3rd, I will be playing a little
bit for this. Lance's concert on Sunday was the last regularly scheduled concert at the Senate,
the program on the 3rd will be the last program.
The future right now is not known, the group is seeking a new home for the Fisher Wurlitzer in the Detroit area,
but nothing is solid yet. The group is presenting concerts at the Redford theatre, with the tacit help of the
Motor City chapter of ATOS, who is Hosting DTOS.
Fewer concerts, four are planned for next year, but this is essential to keep the group active while the
Fisher Wurlitzer is in limbo.
The Senate was purchsed by the DTOC in 1963 for $1,000 back taxes and refurbished into the club's home.
The Senate is closing, the building is for sale (not many lookers in this real estate market) and the group will
remove the organ some time in 2010 into safe storage, The group has funds to do this, the leaders elected to
stop the concert series and minimize expenses to keep from depleting the groups cash reserves,
which now have to be conserved to protect the future of the instrument.
There is no danger of the organ being parted out.
The Fisher Wurlitzer is a one-of-a-kind that will be preserved in metropolitian Detroit.