ATOS: Our Mission
The American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS) is the international leader dedicated to pursuing a positive difference in conserving and promoting the theatre pipe organ and its music, preserving original instruments where possible. We provide support and guidance to all ATOS chapters and others, with promotional and educational opportunities to both those within the Society, and to the public worldwide through the Internet, publications, conventions, and personal contact. We are passionately devoted to providing professional leadership and resources so the theatre pipe organ will thrive in the 21st century.
Organized in 1955, ATOS has grown into an international society of more than 5,000 members. There are over 60 chapters in the United States and foreign countries. Members working at the chapter level are accomplishing the goals of ATOS to preserve, restore, maintain, and promote the theatre pipe organ. Presenting concerts, silent film programs and educational seminars for the general public are but a few of the regularly scheduled chapter activities. ATOS is formed and recognized as a non-profit organization under IRS guidelines 501(c)3.
Another goal of ATOS is to encourage young musicians to become proficient theatre organists. An annual Young Organist Competition is sponsored by ATOS. The winners receive cash awards and the opportunity to perform at the Annual ATOS Convention. In addition, ATOS provides annual scholarships to aspiring young organ students.
Members receive the acclaimed bimonthly journal, Theatre Organ, which contains articles of interest to all theatre pipe organ enthusiasts. This journal has become the almost exclusive source of information about new and reissued theatre pipe organ recordings.
In addition, ATOS maintains a comprehensive archives/library collection, which is available by appointment to members, music scholars, historians, and others. The ATOS radio program, Theatre Pipes, is available at no cost, to local radio stations for broadcast in their service area.
The heart of the American Theatre Organ Society is its chapters, where the goals of ATOS are accomplished by dedicated members. Many local chapters own theatre pipe organs or have access to at least one theatre pipe organ in their community. Click to locate a chapter in your general area.
Some of the many ATOS chapter activities
- Concerts and workshops, open to the public, featuring internationally recognized organists and technicians
- Hands-on experience in moving, rebuilding, installing, and maintaining theatre pipe organs
- Staging public programs and silent film presentations to enlighten the community about the theatre pipe organ and its music
- Social activities with people of similar interests
- The sheer pleasure of listening to great music performed on the "King of Instruments"
- THE MUSIC
- Whatever your taste in music, you will love the big sound of the theatre pipe organ. The sound is unmatched, and all who listen to the theatre pipe organ are fascinated by its great versatility. The instrument is well suited to playing popular as well as classical music.
- THE INSTRUMENT
- The theatre pipe organ is often referred to as a "unit orchestra." It is a unique American art form – a national treasure that must be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.
- THE PERFORMERS
- Outstanding organists from around the world preserve the heritage and expand the possibilities of theatre pipe organ music.
- THE THEATRES
- Many motion picture palaces are being returned to their opening night splendor as performing arts centers. Their restoration is often tied to the preservation of a theatre pipe organ.
- THE ORGANIZATION
- Members of the American Theatre Organ Society join together to present concerts, preserve fine organs, and enjoy the company of others who share our interests. Through our journal, we keep in touch with current information and reviews of recordings often available only through our listings. Anyone with an interest in these activities is invited to join the ATOS.
Individual members make the ATOS a successful organization.
In their own words, here is why they join.
- "Until recently, the thought of my attending an organ concert was very remote. I just didn't care to sit through an entire concert of such music – or so I thought. That was before I attended a concert performed on a majestic theatre pipe organ. The program included jazz, the classics, Broadway melodies, and more. My wife and I found it to be a spellbinding experience. It was a night to long remember."
- "The ATOS journal, Theatre Organ, has given me the chance to find recordings of organs and organists that I could never find before."
- Annual and Regional Conventions
- "Wonderful concerts, excellent technical seminars and lots of good fellowship with other organ lovers."
- Silent Films
- "I can't think of a better evening than the one we had watching Phantom of the Opera accompanied by the Paramount Wurlitzer."
- Trips and Special Events
- "Our recent trip to England included visits to many spectacular theatres, but it was most memorable for the good friends and the good times."
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