A Great Day for Pipe Organs in Chattanooga

Combine the mighty Austin pipe organ at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium with the grand Wurlitzer theatre organ at the historic Tivoli Theatre, with the free 7th Annual Patriotic Organ Concert Spectacular and an international group of organ enthusiasts visiting Chattanooga, July 1st will indeed be a distinctive day for the pipe organ in Chattanooga. ATOS conventioneers, CMC members anddowntown workers will be greeted by LIVE organ music being played on the roof top of the Downtown Public Library from 7:30am-8:30am on July the 1st to set the mood for the days festivities. Many thanks to Summitt Pianos and the electronic pipe organ they will supply.

Since the million dollar rebuild of the Austin organ, the Chattanooga Music Club has played host to a special Patriotic Concert each year around Independence Day, and this year will feature international concert artist, Walt Strony of Sacramento, California, performing at the event.

The American Theater Organ Society (ATOS), an international organization dedicated to preserving and presenting the great "theatre pipe organs," like the vintage 1924 Wurlitzer organ in the Tivoli Theatre, will hold its 58th annual convention, headquartered in Atlanta, beginning July 1. A group of 300 will travel and spend that day in Chattanooga, attending a private afternoon concert at the Tivoli Theatre, having dinner at Rock City, and then will attend the free & open to the public Patriotic concert at the Memorial Auditorium. Both organs are examples of the finest in the art of pipe organ building of the early 20th century, and Chattanooga is privileged to have outstanding examples of both in its midst.

The evening program will begin with a welcome by emcee Jim Bailiff of the Chattanooga Music Club and the Honorable Andy Berke, Mayor of Chattanooga, followed by an impressive salute to all veterans and members of the military. Representing the branches of service will be Veterans John Dorsey, Glen Fleming, Elgin Smith, Jim Calloway, Don Byrd, and Dr. Paul Shurtz. Deceased Service men and women will be remembered during the playing of the "Taps" by trumpeter David Nall. Guest soloist Margaret Abernathy will sing the National Anthem and "God Bless America".

As part of Mr. Strony's exciting program, he will play improvisational to two movies from the silent film era, "Two Tars" starring Laurel and Hardy, and "Tars and Stripes" starring Buster Keaton.

Walt Strony, one of America's premier concert organists, made his public debut in 1974 at the age of 17. He has become one of the few organists equally at home playing both theatre and classical organ music. Born in Chicago, he now resides in Sacramento, California. He began music lessons at the age of 7. His theatre organ teacher was the famous Chicago organist Al Melgard, who for many years was the staff organist at the Chicago Stadium. His classical organ studies were with Herbert L. White at Sherwood Conservatory of Music and Karel Paukert at Northwestern University. He studied piano with Giulio Favrio.

Walt has performed hundreds of concerts from coast to coast, as well as in Japan, Australia, England, and Canada. He has performed with Calgary (Canada) Philharmonic, Allentown (Pennsylvania) Symphony, El Paso (Texas) Symphony, and Symphony Silicon Valley. He is the only living organist to have been twice voted "Organist of the Year" by the ATOS and in 2011 was inducted into the ATOS Hall of Fame, the youngest person currently in it.

His wealth of experience at the organ console has brought Walt the reputation of being one of America's most original and interesting sounding organist. He is well known for his recordings, with over 30 to his credit. As an author, his book, "The Secrets of Theatre Organ Registration," has become the standard reference book of this subject. He is also a pipe and digital organ consultant/tonal finisher.

Contact: Buddy Shirk, 2nd Vice President, Chattanooga Music Club (423) 499-0600