Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 22

LARRY DAVIS

KEN DOUBLE

The pipe organ at Stephenson High School in Stone
Mountain was installed by volunteers, beginning
in 1996. Its prior homes included a Chicago radio
studio and a theater in Flint, Mich.

'When the owner
gave [the organ]
to us, we looked
around for a
place and found
the auditorium at
Stephenson High
School in Stone
Mountain was an
ideal big space.'

A student at Stephenson High School plays the
organ at the school. The Atlanta chapter of the
American Theatre Organ Society hopes to use that
instrument to train future organists.

an attraction in his eatery, but instead it was
sold to a sound engineer, who set it up in a
warehouse.
"That warehouse became the Saturday
night party room for our group," says Double,
-Ken Double
referring to the ATOS Atlanta chapter. "When
the owner gave [the organ] to us, we looked
John Tanner of the Schlueter Pipe Oraround for a place and found the auditorium
gan Co. in Lithonia tends to the organ at the
at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain was an ideal
Rylander Theatre, and his latest challenge has been repairing
big space."
water damage caused by Hurricane Michael last year.
The work to install the organ at the school began in 1996,
"Each organ is memorable; they're all individual, and each
with teams of volunteers spending their weekends assembling
has its own set of challenges," says Tanner, who worked on the
every pipe and key. Over the years, it has been featured on proRylander organ's installation when it was brought south from
grams with the school's choir and orchestra, but Double hopes
Scranton, Pa. "Sometimes they're relocated from an existing
one day to establish a teaching program there to train the next
facility, and if you're lucky, you can move it and set it back up
generation of organists.
quickly, but nine times out of 10 you have to reconfigure it or
"We would love to find some students who would like to
replace components."
learn to play the theater organ," he says. "Usually, it takes having
Tanner's job has given him an up-close look at organs
that 'wow' moment when your whole musical being goes, 'I
around the state and immersed him in their histories.
have to learn to play that!'"
"Many of the large churches in Atlanta have great instruMeanwhile, Double and his colleagues are finalizing details
ments," he says. "The oldest is at Trinity Methodist across from
to restore the original organ in Savannah's historic Lucas
City Hall that dates to about 1915. But back in the days before
Theatre for the Arts.
radio and television, many wealthy people had organs in their
"Our chapter owns the Wurlitzer first installed in [the
homes."
theater in] 1924, and we want to see it back in its original home,"
One of the state's largest pipe organs provided entertainhe says. "That's the reason for our organization's being: to save
ment for a Chicago radio station in 1927, moved to a Michithese instruments and make them play again. Getting them
gan theater and then took up residence in a private home in
back in use is very exciting."
the 1950s. Twenty years later, the owner of an Atlanta pizza
H.M. Cauley is an Atlanta-based freelance writer.
restaurant bought the instrument with an intention to make it
"They're not like the Hammond electric
organ in grandma's living room," Double says.
"And while some organs are now digital, these
three old ones are not."

Making house calls

22

Georgia Magazine

August 2019



Georgia Magazine - August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - August 2019

Contents
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 4
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 5
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 6
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 7
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 8
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 9
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 10
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 11
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 12
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 13
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 14
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 15
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 16
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 17
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 18
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 19
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 20
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 21
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 22
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 23
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 24
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 25
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 26
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 27
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 28
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 29
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 30
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 31
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 32
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 33
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - 34
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - August 2019 - Cover4
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