David Wickerham - Version 2

Celebrate 10 years of glorious music making on Lincoln Hall’s treasured McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ!  Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts proudly presents the improvisational genius and world-class keyboard artistry of audience favorite David Wickerham on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 2:00 PM in Lincoln Hall, marking the tenth anniversary of its first theatre organ concert in October of 2006.

No one makes the Lincoln Hall’s McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre organ sound more glorious, and, with his brilliant theatre organ arrangements and improvisation of audience requests, no one entertains our appreciative and enthusiastic audience better than David Wickerham!  This is truly world class theatre organ artistry from one of the kindest, gentlest and most generous souls… evidenced by the glow you will feel having experienced his inspired, genius performance.

The concert will certainly sell out, so be sure to reserve your tickets early.  Adults $25, Members $20, Students $5.  You may purchase tickets online here or call to reserve:  724 659-3153

8-3 Lewis & DeWaltImmediately following the concert, join us for ARCA’s “Birthday party” reception in the Red Brick Gallery from 4:00 to 7:00 PM on Main Street in Foxburg coinciding with the last weekend of the featured exhibit of Jason Floyd Lewis and Mark DeWalt.  The musical group CATRO – a favorite of ARCA audiences – will be making music in the second floor gallery!  There will be Birthday cake, hot coffee, hot cider and wine on the first floor and wine, cold cider and hors d’oeuvres in the Red Brick second floor exhibition gallery and CATRO!

Dedication to Paul and Sally McKissick

ARCA’s Tenth Anniversary organ concert is dedicated to Paul and Sally McKissick.  ARCA is deeply grateful to Paul McKissick for his loving restoration of the Wurlitzer organ in Lincoln Hall which bears his name – the McKissick Might Wurlitzer.  Join us in celebrating Paul vision and genius in completely rebuilding the instrument, a treasure for ARCA and Lincoln Hall and one of the best examples of this class of theatre organ.

McKissicks

ARCA’s Wurlitzer contains seventeen ranks of pipes and is characterized by a balanced blend of unmistakeable Wurlitzer ‘sounds”.  Built in 1928 at the Wurlitzer Organ factory in North Tonawanda outside of Buffalo and numbered OPUS 1989, the organ originally was installed in Cleveland’s Uptown Theatre.  It was played for several years accompanying silent movies.  With the end of the silent film era it was subsequently purchased by Richard Wheeler, a Cleveland organist, and remained in his home until Wheeler passed.  Paul McKissick purchased it from the Haynes Company in North Canton, Ohio, where it had been in storage.

Paul lovingly and painstakingly rebuilt the instrument over eleven years and in 1999 the restored Wulrtlizer was installed in McKissick’s garage at their home in Lake Latonka near Mercer, PA.  The organ became known as the Latona Pipes, and was played in annual benefits concerts to raise money for the DeBence Museum in Franklin.  Dr. Arthur and Patricia Steffee attended one of the concerts.  When Paul decided to downsize and was seeking a place for the Wurtlizer for the next generation, Dr. Arthur and Patricia Steffee, ARCA’s founders, purchased it to enhance the newly restored Lincoln Hall, on the second floor of the Foxburg Free Library.

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McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ – www.denniskeyesphotography.com

Its seventeen ranks of pipes translate to 60 notes per voice or rank, more than 1200 pipes and 6,000 moving parts to make the Wurlitzer sound.  Only the relay and computer are not authentic or vintage parts on the organ.  The installation included one of Wurlitzer’s most unique features, the decorative ‘Toy Shelf’ of miniature instruments, which are displayed in a rear balcony in Lincoln Hall and are all powered by the organ. The marimba was added and all the associated drums, cymbals, bells and automatic piano produce a balanced blend of unmistakable Mighty Wurlitzer sounds.

ARCA audiences have enjoyed ten years of glorious music making on the McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer by some of the worlds greatest theatre organists – including David Wickerham, Martin Ellis, Walt Strony, Scott Foppiano, Donna Parker, Jelani Eddington and Ken Double.  Jason Wiles is ARCA’s organ technician, maintaining and tuning the organ for each concert.

In 2012, the McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer Legacy Fund was established in honor of Paul and Sally McKissick, to maintain the organ and insure the future of this extraordinary instrument for future audiences.  Anyone wishing to contribute to this fund may do so by contacting ARCA at info@alleghenyriverstone.org.

See more on the Paul McKissick Story and the McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer organ.

About the Artist

Unknown-1Dave Wickerham was born in Encino, California in 1962. He began playing the electronic organ at the age of four and had his first pipe organ experience at age10. His musical education started at age 7.  When he moved to Arizona in 1976, he became Associate Organist at the famous Organ Stop Pizza Restaurants in Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson. While in Arizona, he continued his musical studies with Roseamond Crowley, one of the few remaining descendants of the Louis Vierne line of organists. He attended the University of Arizona in Tucson on a full scholarship, pursuing classical organ studies for six years with Dr. Roy Johnson.  In 1984, Dave moved to the Chicago area to become Staff Organist at Pipes and Pizza in Lansing, Illinois. In addition to his performance there, he concertized frequently, as well as ministering musically and serving at various churches.

August of 1990 found the Wickerham family – Dave, his wife and two young children – moving to Wisconsin, where he was one of the featured Staff Organists at the Piper Music Palace in Greenfield, a position he held for 10 years.

In the spring of 2000, Dave ushered in the new millennium with a limited special engagement, as a featured organist at “Roxy’s Pipe Organ Pizzeria”, part of a $26,000,000 expansion phase at the FIESTA Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Wickerham’s, Dave, Rhonda, and now three great kids, spent a year and a half there before returning back home to Wisconsin in August of 2001… For the next three years, Dave resumed his position at the Piper Music Palace and was also the Principal Organist at Williams Bay Lutheran Church in Lake Geneva, WI.

UnknownHe enjoys concertizing frequently to many audiences including various chapters of the American Theatre Organ Society. In April of 1999, he took great pleasure being a feature artist in Melbourne, Australia for the convention of the Theatre Organ Society of Australia for which he received rave reviews. He returned “Down Under” for a six-week concert tour in Australia and New Zealand during the summer of 2003 and very recently has completed a similar tour concluding November of 2012.

Dave also enjoys recording and has recently “sold out” his fourth CD “Sounds of Music” recorded on the famous 5 Manual, 80 Rank Theatre Organ at the Sanfilippo Residence in Barrington, IL. There are two NEW recording projects that are soon to be completed and released.

After seven years as Organist – Curator with the legendary Milhous Collection in South Florida, Dave and his family currently enjoy living in Upper Michigan where he has accepted the position of Co-Manager and Organist in Residence at Crystal Theatre in Crystal Falls. This 1927 theatre is now a regional Performing Arts Center and houses a 3 manual, 21 rank Moller theatre organ that Dave also looks after. Additionaly, his wife Rhonda – at his side – works as Co-Manager of this beautiful and historic venue.

Click the Wurlitzer menu item above to learn about the history of the Mighty McKissick Wurlitzer and Paul McKissick. Then, reserve your seat for this special holiday Wurlitzer concert featuring an artist who delights audiences both young and old. Once you hear the majesty and capability of a Theatre Organ, you will be hooked!
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