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Thread: Wicks Theatre Organ

  1. #1
    ff Fortissimo toodles's Avatar
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    Wicks Theatre Organ

    I noticed this ad on the Theatre Organ ad pages http://barton.theatreorgans.com/selectedad.asp?ID=23575

    If you go to the website you can find details of this small unit pipe organ built in 1982. http://stoicmedia.com/organ/

    I find small theatre pipe organs fascinating--it's quite impressive what can be done with a handful of ranks.

  2. #2
    ppp Pianississmo artkt's Avatar
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    Quite versatile.

    Quote Originally Posted by toodles View Post
    I find small theatre pipe organs fascinating--it's quite impressive what can be done with a handful of ranks.
    Indeed it is.

    I am the new owner of this instrument. We will be packing it up and bringing it up to Alaska later this summer.

    i have several small pipe organs I have rebuilt up here and of them all this one has the broadest range of tonal colors.

    it is not a true theatre organ as it designed to be dual purpose. It is on low(er) pressure and some ranks (like the Tibia) are un-nicked and not leathered on the upper lip.

    Here are some videos I made of it and posted on YouTube. PLEASE ignore the bad playing, I am not an organist and had just spent the entire day repairing rodent damage to the relay and trying to get it into some semblance of tune. The mice had really done a number on the relay and some of the reeds. Both number 1 and 2.

    https://youtu.be/s6X1qCgYRqc
    https://youtu.be/sS2NqqmCeSE
    https://youtu.be/DDPrrl-tg0o
    https://youtu.be/iaT2guK62SU



    Art.

  3. #3
    ff Fortissimo toodles's Avatar
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    Art,

    Thank you for sharing those with us.

    I suspect the lower pressure is because of the direct electric action--I think this sort of action doesn't take kindly to high pressure. And with lower pressure, I suspect chiff from the lack of nicking isn't objectionable. This is a very interesting and nice instrument--hope it gives you years of enjoyment.

    Toodles.

  4. #4
    p Piano Ben Madison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artkt View Post
    Indeed it is.

    I am the new owner of this instrument. We will be packing it up and bringing it up to Alaska later this summer.

    i have several small pipe organs I have rebuilt up here and of them all this one has the broadest range of tonal colors.

    it is not a true theatre organ as it designed to be dual purpose. It is on low(er) pressure and some ranks (like the Tibia) are un-nicked and not leathered on the upper lip.

    Here are some videos I made of it and posted on YouTube. PLEASE ignore the bad playing, I am not an organist and had just spent the entire day repairing rodent damage to the relay and trying to get it into some semblance of tune. The mice had really done a number on the relay and some of the reeds. Both number 1 and 2.

    https://youtu.be/s6X1qCgYRqc
    https://youtu.be/sS2NqqmCeSE
    https://youtu.be/DDPrrl-tg0o
    https://youtu.be/iaT2guK62SU



    Art.
    To me i really does not matter if their are some low pressure ranks, the combo organs as i call it have their uses I keep referring to the kimball at the ballroom at the boardwalk hall, because it is a proof of concept in that direction. But are you going to nick and leather the Tibia? I saw somewhere that people were modifying their Tibia's out of haste and not knowing what they were doing it and the commentator said that what they were doing was ruining the rank. He recounted some stories and it made me cringe, he said he had to go over and fix allot of the problems that these people were creating.

    Well what ever you are going to do good luck and post on your progress.

  5. #5
    ppp Pianississmo artkt's Avatar
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    Wicks Organ

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Madison View Post
    To me i really does not matter if their are some low pressure ranks, the combo organs as i call it have their uses I keep referring to the kimball at the ballroom at the boardwalk hall, because it is a proof of concept in that direction. But are you going to nick and leather the Tibia? I saw somewhere that people were modifying their Tibia's out of haste and not knowing what they were doing it and the commentator said that what they were doing was ruining the rank. He recounted some stories and it made me cringe, he said he had to go over and fix allot of the problems that these people were creating.

    Well what ever you are going to do good luck and post on your progress.
    Thanks.

    I don't plan to make any modifications to the instrument other than perhaps a couple of additions. The Tibia sounds fine as it is, although the 8' octave doesn't speak that well and will probably need some adjustments. The stoppers are sealing fine, so it may need a bit of nicking and/or beards to stabilize the speech. But the rest of the ranks sounds remarkably well.

    The voicing is typical John Sperling, it is somewhat like a 1973 Wicks "Pizza" Theatre organ I rebuilt a while back. This one is far more refined than that particular instrument though, as Wicks attempt to copy a Wurlitzer back in the 70's was not all that successful.

    That commentor would probably be Al Sefl. I too have seen my share of hackery on pipe organs, and not just theatre organs... At one time I would lower the cut up and install new languids and start over. Nowadays with so much good pipework available at next to nothing, it isn't worth messing something that someone has screwed over unless it it just one or two pipes.

  6. #6
    ppp Pianississmo Broadscot's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Really interesting Art. I was the other party who was very interested in buying the Wicks. The only problem was that I am located in Scotland. I had the funds passed etc but costs just went too high. I was so impressed with the instrument and it would have been perfect for our church. However, delighted that it has a good new home. I am currently installing a Hautpwerk custom in the church which is to be linked to our Ingram pipe organ making a very interesting hybrid. So far, things are working out very well. I have attached a picture. Hauptwerk Wyvern-01.jpgMy email address is (*) and I would love to hear from you with news of the Wicks. All very best - Charlie McGillivray-Davidson.

    * email address removed to prevent spam from the 'bots'. Anyone wishing to contact Charlie can do so by Private Message. Andy G - Moderator
    Last edited by andyg; 01-31-2018 at 07:19 PM.

  7. #7
    ppp Pianississmo artkt's Avatar
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    Thought I would give an update, the organ made it fine to Alaska.

    The logistics of packing the instrument to survive a 4000 mile overland trip from Wisconsin to Alaska were quite an ordeal.

    I have moved several organs to Alaska, but this one was too big for my box truck so I had to drive down in a car and rent a truck (and car carrier) back. In the event someone here has never moved a Theatre Organ before, they take up considerably more space than an equivalent sized (ranks) classical organ.

    I hear you about the cost of packing and transport Charlie, the $2,500 Organ turned into a $20,000 organ real fast.... Granted, some of that cost was fuel, food and lodging for my wife and I while driving down and during removal, but my previous experiences told me that if I wanted the instrument to arrive in anything close to usable condition I had to do it myself.

    So, right now it is hibernating in my shop at 50F waiting for spring (which doesn’t come to interior Alaska until May). I have replaced the defective console relay and transposer with a modern system. I am rebuilding the regulators and repairing some of the pipe work that was damaged in one of its previous moves. There will be the inevitable issues with windchest gaskets and Direct Electric units, but I will address these as it is installed.

    We are building a 150 seat auditorium, and plan to install the organ over the next winter if all goes well.


    8C581ECC-358D-4D6B-A534-91F337099E0D.jpg

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