Theatre Organ Society of San Diego (TOSSD)


The 4/24 Mighty Wurlitzer located in the Trinity Facilities
3902 Kenwood Ave. Spring Valley, CA
Specifications for
The Theatre Organ Society of San Diego's Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ
Unit Orchestra
4 Manual 24 Ranks

Ranks				Percussions		Toy Counter	

English Posthorn		Piano      		Bird Whistle
Tuba horn       		Marimba      		Siren
Brass Trumpet			Harp       		Klaxon
Style D Trumpet			Chrysoglott 		Train Whistle
Open Diapason			Glockenspiel		Chinese Block
Horn Diapason			Xylophone  		Chinese Gong
Solo Tibia Clausa		Sleighbells		Bass Drum
Main Tibia Clausa		Chimes      		Tympani
Clarinet        					Crash Cymbal
Orchestral Oboe 					Sizzle Cymbal
Brass Saxophone 					Triangle
Musette							Snare Drum
Kinura          					Tom-tom
Solo String     					Tambourine
Solo String Celeste					Castanets
Viol d'Orchestre					Horse's Hoofs
Viol Celeste     					Telephone Bell
Salicional       					Whoopee Whistle
Salicional Celeste
Oboe Horn
Concert Flute
Solo Vox Humana 
Main Vox Humana 

The Organ's History

Wurlitzer was clearly the maverick of theatre organ builders all through the roaring twenties. The factory in North Tonawanda, New York, had almost a thousand employees in 1926 and produced a complete instrument every day. Instruments were shipped daily in railroad boxcars all over the country, and were exported overseas. The 4/24 Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ owned by the Theatre Organ Society of San Diego (TOSSD) has a great history to match.

Our instrument is basically a combination of two organs: Wurlitzer Opus #1520, a 4 manual, 11 rank organ, originally installed in the Strand Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin on November 27, 1926; and Wurlitzer Opus #0564, a 3 manual special, 15 rank organ, originally installed in the Tiffin Theatre in Chicago, Illinois on August 18, 1922. It was very unusual for a 4 manual organ to have only 11 ranks; however, "show" was important when Strand had it built by Wurlitzer. The Strand Organ was moved to a church in Madison, WI, about 1942, and purchased by Fred Hermes, Racine, WI, about 1949.

Bill Huck, of Replica Records, Des Plaines, IL, purchased the Strand and the Tiffin organs about 1955 and combined them. The resultant 4 manual, 20 rank organ, known as the Replica Wurlitzer, became one of the first theatre pipe organs used in the early history of hi-fi recording. When Huck liquidated his record business in the late 50's, he sold the organ to Dr. Ray Lawson, who moved the organ to his home in Montreal, Canada.

In 1973 the organ was acquired by Bill and Kathy Breuer, owners of Arden Pizza & Pipes, Sacramento, CA. the pizza parlor fell into bankruptcy in 1996. TOSSD contacted Bob Maes, organ broker. In August of 1996, Maes purchased the organ, which was complete but in need of a rebuild, for TOSSD. On September 26, 1996, the truck full of organ arrived in Spring Valley. Since then, the organ has been fully restored and enlarged.

The Theatre Organ Society of San Diego announced the Premiere Presentation of its 4/24 Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, featuring the artistry of Chris Gorsuch at the console, on Saturday, September 11, 1999 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, September 12, 1999 at 4 p.m.

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