Starring theatre-organist Jelani Eddington,
and featuring rising stars Carmyn Howe and Seth Wallen
CINCINNATI, OH – Hollywood’s greatest musical moments will live again when the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (SPMH) presents Hooray for Hollywood with the Mighty Wurlitzer at Cincinnati’s Music Hall Ballroom on Thursday, May 10 at 10:30 AM and 7:00 PM. As part of SPMH’s popular annual theater organ series, the concert is being presented in cooperation with the Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Organ Society.
Tickets are currently on sale at www.CincinnatiArts.ORG, (513) 621-ARTS , and the Aronoff Center and Music Hall Ticket Offices. For groups of 10 or more, please call (513) 977-4157.
Feel surrounded by the sounds of cinematic memories, as the majestic Mighty Wurlitzer magically transports you to the golden age of Hollywood musicals. Revisit the grandeur of famous movie themes and enjoy the exuberant spirit of your favorite hit songs – starring the Mighty Wurlitzer and internationally-acclaimed theater-organist Jelani Eddington, and featuring rising new talents from Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Theatre and Dance, Carmyn Howe and Seth Wallen.
“Last May, we presented two sold-out performances of Broadway show stoppers, so it seems only fair to cross the continent and now feature the golden days of Hollywood’s best, brightest and most memorable musicals, as well as today’s ‘blockbuster’ movie themes,” said Don Siekmann, SPMH President. “The Mighty Wurlitzer is uniquely designed to stretch everyone’s imagination as they listen to the grandeur and power of adventurous movie themes, the playfulness of cartoon shorts’ merry melodies, or the tenderness of a romantic ballad. These unforgettable film scores will remind us all of the joy and wonder in the great movie music that we just can’t seem to get ‘out of our heads’.”
The Mighty Wurlitzer was installed in the ornate Albee Theater on Fountain Square in December 1927 – one of only 2,200 theatre-organs produced at that time to accompany silent feature films. When talkies took over in 1929, the theatre organ was mainly silenced. The Albee organ was donated to the Emery Theatre in 1969 (where it played for movies and other events) and was partially rebuilt by the Ohio Valley Organ Club. It was removed from the Emery in 1999, and put into storage.
The leadership at SPMH thought the historic Music Hall Ballroom would be an ideal location for the instrument, and in June 2007, Ronald F. Wehmeier, Inc., Pipe Organ Service in Cincinnati was contacted to completely rebuild and install the Wurlitzer. A donor foundation funded the entire project in the amount of $1,410,000.00. Only a small number of Wurlitzers of this size still exist, and Cincinnati (the home of the Wurlitzer Company) is one of the few cities in the country to have an instrument of this quality.
The Wurlitzer was expanded in tonal colors and effects, from 19 ranks of pipes to 31 ranks (a rank is made up of 61 pipes, and represents orchestral sounds, such as trumpets, flutes, tubas, strings, etc.). A full array of percussion effects is also present – xylophone, marimba, glockenspiel, chimes, and even a large Steinway grand – all playable from the giant three keyboard and pedal console, decorated in 22-karat gold leaf. Wind for the pipes is provided by a 15 HP high pressure turbine, the electrical switching is controlled by computer, and pipes range in size from 16 feet to the size of a pencil. In addition, the Wurlitzer is now fully computerized, so that it can be played without an organist through a digital input system.
Jelani Eddington is one of the most prominent and sought-after theatre-organists on the concert circuit today. During the course of his concert career, Jelani has been featured at numerous national and regional conventions of the American Theatre Organ Society, and has toured extensively throughout the world, including numerous concert appearances in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. He has also accompanied numerous silent films and appears regularly at film series. In 2007, Jelani accompanied the classic film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, for an international organ festival in Finland on the country’s largest pipe organ.
Jelani has also produced and marketed over 30 theatre organ albums on some of the best-known and most dynamic instruments in the country. In August 2001, the American Theatre Organ Society honored Jelani’s extensive career as a concert and recording organist by naming him the 2001 Theatre Organist of the Year. Jelani retains the distinction of being the youngest-ever recipient of this prestigious honor.
For a full bio, visit Jelani’s website at www.rjeproductions.com.
Carmyn is a proud 2012 graduate from Northern Kentucky University’s BFA Musical Theatre program! She is an honored recipient of the Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her work as Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie! Other favorite roles include the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Granbury Opera House; Irene Molloy in Hello, Dolly! at MCL Grand Theatre; Urleen in Footloose at The Riverstage; and the Queen in Cinderella, Meg in Little Women, and Madeleine Astor in Titanic at Northern Kentucky University.
Seth is very excited to be singing at Music Hall for the first time! He is a Senior Acting BFA candidate at Northern Kentucky University, where his credits include Alan Swann in My Favorite Year, Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra, Professor Baher in Little Women: The Musical, Dennis in Loot, and others. Locally, Seth has been seen as Bob Cratchit/Jacob Marley in Scrooge’s Christmas (Commonwealth Theatre Company) and an ensemble member in Pippin (Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center).
The Society for the Preservation of Music Hall
The Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (SPMH) is a non-profit organization that provides ongoing financial and volunteer support toward maintaining and improving Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall. SPMH members are volunteers from all walks of life who are dedicated to the continuing preservation of Music Hall as a national historic monument and promoting it as one of the world’s foremost performing arts, entertainment and rental facilities.