The summer music drought is over, and the Schwob School of Music kicked off its concert season Sunday with Dueling Organs.
We enjoyed the classical opening session featuring Naples, Florida organist Dr. James Cochran at the Jordan Concert Organ playing duets with five local organists at the Allen Classic Organ. But, to be honest, we enjoyed the closing pop section with Professor Golden at the Allen Theater Organ even more. I mean, how are you going to beat “Over the Rainbow,” “Embraceable You,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” Cabaret,” and “I Got Rhythm?”
The Allen electric digital organ which is both a classic and theater organ, depending, I guess, on which button the organist presses. It was trucked in from Atlanta and set up on the stage of Legacy Hall. The million-dollar Jordan Pipe Organ is permanently installed.
The Allen, with its many speakers, sounds very much like a pipe organ. The theatrical mode really stood out when it was used to provide the music for Charlie Chaplin’s 1916 silent comedy “The Rink.” The big movie theaters of the silent movie era all had theater organs to supply the music and sound effects for the films.
Professor Golden improvised the score. His performance was truly impressive.
The Fox Theater in Atlanta still has its huge theater pipe organ, as does the Rylander Theater in Americus. Those organs are almost a hundred years old, and they sound great. Of course, they have had a little maintenance over the years.