Seems Like a Million Miles

Wednesday, October 28th 2015

October 22, 2015
Greetings from Home Base in Atlanta!

The “!” at the end of that opening greeting is well-deserved. I got home Monday night after a stretch of 30 days in which 25 were spent on the road. Whew!


ATOS director John Ledwon heads up the Endowment Fund Board of Trustees who oversee that activity, and the grants program the Endowment Fund provides. John, ATOS Treasurer Lee Lanier, and the trustees have made some important changes and upgrades to the ATOS Endowment Fund grants process.

For chapters which might be looking for financial assistance for organs they own, the Endowment Fund application process has changed considerably. There are many important changes to the process and procedures – the most critical is the new application deadline – which is now February 1, 2016.

New guidelines; more specific background information; a new and earlier deadline date – all important information for you to hve should you seek financial assistance for your chapter-owned theatre organ project from the Endowment Fund. If your chapter or organization is seeking a grant, check out the updated information on the ATOS website.
The link:

Meanwhile, this upcoming November-December issue of the Journal will also have the announcement for those who might wish to nominate someone to run for the ATOS Board of Directors. There are some slight adjustments in this year’s procedures as well. More importantly, we hope you will look over this information, and if you bring the skills and background to the table that can assist ATOS in the future, we hope you will consider running for the board. You’ll find the announcement prominently displayed on the inside front cover.


Through the efforts of Greg Bellamy and others in IT, our website has a decidedly different look and feel after several changes were implemented. It’s easier to navigate and there’s good, basic information on who we are and what a theatre organ is. More importantly, that is face front for the brand new visitor to the site.

This is good, and there is more to come. Greg, Steve Worthington and a host of others will continue to upgrade, revise, add new functions and implement step-by-step improvements to make the website visit a much more pleasant and informative experience for members and others interested in ATOS activities.


In late July and again in late August, ATOS staged the first-ever chapter conference calls, an invitation for chapter leaders to join in an online forum to discuss major topics affecting ATOS and answer major questions that the chapters have for ATOS. Those first two discussions were a successful experiment and thus, the program now continues.

The next ATOS chapter conference call will be Wednesday, November 4, 2015, and it will begin at 8:30pm Eastern time. Chapter officers, look for your email invitation to join the meeting, coming to you in the next week or so.


What a 30-day run! Los Angeles and San Diego twice; Tampa, Sarasota, Jacksonville and Lakeland in Florida; Cleveland; Erie; Toronto; North Tonawanda and Buffalo in NY; Kingston, Ontario; a lot of flying, driving, hotels, and wonderful people and productive meetings.

I discovered that the Balboa Theatre’s new management in San Diego is VERY organ friendly and using the Wonder Morton for a lot of events. Tony Conte in Buffalo is the talented 15-year major domo at Shea’s Buffalo, and LOVES the Wurlitzer and makes sure it is heard before Broadway shows and more. Cleveland and the Western Reserve chapter is gearing up for this upcoming convention; Central Florida chapter members are working hard for Tampa in 2017; and Mark Herman and crew are making initial plans for Los Angeles in 2018. And we have still-secret interested groups for 2019 AND 2020!!! Terrific convention interest in ATOS right now!

I met young pianists and organists at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda who are going to get their first opportunities to play a Wurlitzer. How did they happen upon my Wednesday night concert? IT WAS ON THE INTERNET!!! THEY READ ABOUT IT ON THEIR CELL PHONES!!!! HINT HINT!!! Note—that is free advertising!

I met the most dynamic and energetic people in San Diego, all excited about how the Robert-Morton organ at the Balboa Theatre can be used more often. And Russ Peck is right there (along with Rosemary Bailey and others) to help make the Morton sing.

And a “Thank you” to Dr. Carol Williams and her husband Kerry, who were most gracious hosts for dinner and a website interview for their ongoing series focused at Balboa Park and the Spreckels organ.

Will holler again very soon. It’s good to be home. And there continues to be a LOT of exciting activity within ATOS, and a LOT of good people doing good work: thank you Richard Neidich, Lee Lanier, John Ledwon, Mark Renwick, Donna Parker, and the boss, Michael Fellenzer, and a host of others. Thanks all!