DAVE WICKERHAM – Wurlitzer Wonders & Improvisation Requests

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo as world acclaimed DAVE WICKERHAM “pulls out all the stops”on the McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer  on Sunday, May 5 at 2 PM in Foxburg’s Lincoln Hall.

Performing some “musical salsa” and his famous improvisations on audience requests in the concert’s second half, this will be the only Wurlitzer concert of 2024 prior to a year-long hiatus during ARCA’s Wurlitzer Organ Restoration Project.

Look for an announcement this spring about how you can contribute to preserve the McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer for future generations in a special fundraising effort. At intermission and after Dave’s concert, you will have an opportunity to purchase a “Key, Pedal, Stop, Pipe or Rank” to support the Wurlitzer Organ Restoration Project – and, as a result,  have your name put on a plaque to be unveiled at the time of the debut of the newly renovated organ in the spring of 2025.

Plan to continue the Cinco de Mayo celebration after the concert at the Red Brick Gallery from 4 to 6 PM, where you can Meet the Artist at a wine & cheese reception for the opening of the exhibit of RBG Artistic Director, painter, Jason Floyd Lewis, and RBG Cooperative Artist, wood artisan, Mark DeWalt.

Performing his signature “Tico Tico” and arrangements of popular organ favorites from a wide range of repertoire in the first half and in the second half, this improvisational genius phenom will take a request list from the audience during intermission and weave an uninterrupted musical tapestry of tunes for the duration of the program. There isn’t a melody that this artist doesn’t know!  

One of the preeminent theatre organists acclaimed internationally, no one makes Lincoln Hall’s McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre organ sound more glorious or entertains our appreciative  audience better than Dave Wickerham!  And does he make the McKissick Mighty Wulrtlizer percussion shelf ring! Here in Chattanooga Choo Choo from October 19, 2019

This is world class theatre organ artistry from one of the kindest, gentlest and most generous souls... evidenced by the glow you feel having experienced his inspired, genius performance. http://www.davewickerham.com

Post-COVID, open theatre style seating has returned to 100% capacity.  There is neither a mask nor vaccine passport requirement. Please refrain from attending if you are ill or if you have been exposed to anyone with COVID.

Tickets are Adults $25, Members $20, Students $5.  Call to Reserve at 724-659-3153 and pay by cash or check at the door.  Doors open at 1:30 PM.


Plan to Make a Day of it in beautiful Foxburg and visit the Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop to view the exhibit before the concert – AND after the concert at the post-concert Opening Wine & Cheese Reception from 4 to 6 PM for the exhibit of  JASON FLOYD LEWIS, painter and MARK DeWALT, wood artisan.

Responding to the natural landscape of western Pennsylvania, Jason Floyd Lewis’ paintings & drawings of places near his home are complemented by fourth- generation woodworker Mark DeWalt’s crafting of found wood from local forests.

While Mark DeWalt enjoys “blending materials from diverse origins to create something new”, Jason Floyd Lewis is interested in “the various effects of light, air and humidity that can transform the mood of the landscape.”

Before or after Dave Wickerham’s 2 PM concert enjoy Foxburg –
 take a brisk walk in the refreshing Spring air along the Allegheny River trail or rent bicycles with Foxburg Tours in the morning or early afternoon!

Have lunch at the Allegheny Grille with seating overlooking the Allegheny River.

Or for more casual fare, at Foxburg Pizza with salads, sandwiches and pizza.

Save time to enjoy wine tasting at the elegantly remodeled Foxburg Wine Cellars

Savor a gourmet coffee and hand made chocolate at Divani Chocolatier and Barrista.

Make a weekend of out and spend Saturday night in Foxburg in rustically elegant Foxburg Inn

or up the river at Emlenton’s bed and breakfast,  The Barnard House.

About the Artist

Dave 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, 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.

He 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 completed similar tours in November of 2012 and October/November of 2015.

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 currently lives 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 a regional Performing Arts Center and houses a 3 manual, 21 rank Moller theatre organ that Dave also looks after. Until the passing of his beloved wife Rhonda in November, 2020 she worked at his side as Co-Manager of this beautiful and historic venue.

Dave has three grown kids, two married with children of their own.  So, with three grandchildren and concertizing, there have been many opportunities for travel – and which he does regularly to perform for his fans and friends in Foxburg – where his December 2022 ARCA Educational ArtReach performances delighted students from the Allegheny-Clarion Valley School.


The McKissick Mighty Wurtlitzer

The Wurlitzer organ in Lincoln Hall is one of the best examples of this class of theatre organ. 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.

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 seventeen 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.

McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ – www.denniskeyesphotography.com