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The Hanover Theatre Mighty Wurlitzer Progress Report
- in Pictures -

Since some say that a picture is worth a thousand words, the photo albums listed below report on the progress of transitioning the Mighty Wurlitzer in its original home in the Phipps Experience in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to its new home in The Hanover Theatre in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Using the albums is easy.  When you Click on the Link for an album, the album will appear in a new browser window. You may view a large image by clicking on a thumbnail on your left, or merely click on the large image to see the next image in sequence. When you are done with an album, just close the album browser window

New albums will be added as work proceeds.

Album

Link

Date
Modified

The Mighty Wurlitzer in its original home - the Phipps Experience in New Bedford, Massachusetts

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6/8/07

Repairing/rebuilding existing/new components prior to starting major disassembly at the Phipps Experience (ingredients: wood, leather, metal, glue, shellac,
wiring, dust, etc.,
and love of the theatre organ)

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6/8/07

Finale Concert at the Phipps Experience
on Sunday, June 10, 2007,
featuring world-renowned theatre organist,
Ron Rhode

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9/9/07

Things are starting to take shape with some
components ready to install in The Hanover!

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10/4/07

Phew!  Getting winded - Step 1.
Blower muffler box and windline flange
come together in New Bedford.

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11/13/07

Phew!  Getting winded - Step 2.
Tales from the Crypt
or
How the Mighty Wurlitzer Mighty Blower Muffler Box
Came to Be Installed in the Basement of
The Hanover Theatre!

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12/22/07

Phew!  Getting winded - Step 3.
Major Windline runs are installed in
The Hanover Theatre!

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1/31/08

First Pipes - Monday, January 28, 2008!
Because of the straight-line length (up to 16 feet) of some of the diaphone pipes destined for the main chamber, we needed to take advantage of the freight elevator before its ceiling was installed. So this is the tale of the first 18 out of 2,482 pipes to make it into The Hanover Theatre!

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1/31/08

The Hanover Becomes a Theatre!
Although the Hanover’s Mighty Wurlitzer will be installed someday (there is still very, very much to do), the Hanover Theatre is opening for business on March 14.  So, here are some pictures taken by organ crew member Bruce Hager of the nearly complete, beautiful Hanover Theatre’s auditorium.

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3/3/08

”Shuddering Shutters, Batman!
That organ crew is a bit shady!
But I bet the organ will sound just swell, anyway!”
The Main Chamber shutters (aka, swell shades) are in place. Opening and closing these shutters (from the organ console) constitutes the volume control for the Main Chamber.

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5/20/08

”That organ crew is not only a bit shady,
but some of them are even known chiselers,
and many are involved in a coverup!”
The Main Chamber walls are beautified. Old plaster covering the brick was chiseled off (not shown) and then covered with 3/4” plywood.  Eventually all will be painted. Participating in the coverup were Don Phipps (ring leader), Bruce Hager, Bob Evans, Dick Handverger and Ray Deshaies.

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for
Pix


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for
Video

6/2/08

“And here they are, doing a little more chiseling,
a little more coverup,
and then, finally, painting the town!
WHAT NERVE!”
The Main Chamber walls near final beautification with a little touch-up and the first sprays of paint (hopefully landing mostly on the walls and ceiling).

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for
Pix


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for
Video

6/19/08

Main Chamber Hijinks
Main Chamber beautification nears completion.

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6/24/08

Main Chamber - Thunderous 16’ Diaphones
The 80+ year old thunderous 16’ Diaphones get the distinction of being the First Pipes to be installed in the Hanover!

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6/27/08

Main Chamber
That’s Swell, a Dash of Color &
Thump Those Chests
The Main Chamber gets a little color and three pipe chests totally weighing in at about 700 lbs.

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7/24/08

Being Regular Is Good
Ray, Bruce and Don install the Main Chamber Regulators.

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8/1/08

Winding the Main Chamber
a Plumber’s Nightmare
Isn’t there an easier way to do this?

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8/18/08

The Main Chamber Starts to
Get a Little Crowded.
A few more offset chests and a glorious French Horn start to fill up the limited real estate.

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8/29/08

After All This Work,
We Need a Lift.
The organ (console) lift arrives at the Hanover.
Picture the 4-manual console on this baby!

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9/3/08

Bearing the Main Chamber’s Second Story
The Main Chamber’s 2nd story starts to take shape.

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9/10/08

Chrysoglott & More Enter
Main Chamber’s Second Story
The Main Chamber’s 2nd story gets some residents.

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9/16/08

More Main Chamber Progress
We bet it’s going to start getting windy up here, eventually!

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10/12/08

Main Chamber Metal Wind Line
More winding - phew!

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10/17/08

THAR SHE BLOWS!
 The Mighty Spencer Organ Blower
makes it to The Hanover!
(Images are currently out of sequence - fix it later.)

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10/22/08

Doing the Marimba Carumba in the Main Chamber
Enter the Marimba/Harp - in the Main.
First wind to the Main!

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11/17/08

Wiring “the Beast’s” Main Chamber
The Wurlitzer’s Main Chamber nervous system is connected and the pipe population explodes.

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12/11/08

John Phipps busy in The Main

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12/21/08

The Main Before Christmas

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12/24/08

A Sweet End to 2008

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1/3/09

Strings and Safety

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1/23/09

The Mighty Console Arrives at the Hanover
The Mighty Wurlitzer’s Mighty Console arrived at the Hanover on a cold Sunday morning - February 1, 2009.

Participating were:
Don Phipps, John Phipps, Mark Duff, Kenny Duffie, Bruce Hager, Bob Evans, Dick Handverger and
Len Beyersdorfer.

The pix are select frames from a video shot that day by Bruce Hager.

More pix/video will be available in the near future.

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2/1/09

The Mighty Console
Is Mated with
The Mighty Organ Lift!

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2/11/09

All Work Makes Jack a Dull Boy!
Now that a little of The Main is playable from the console, it appears that the crew has lost work-focus as ably demonstrated by John Phipps, Ray Deshaies and Len Beyersdorfer.  Just that little bit of pipework sounds swell, so when it’s all done it will sound just great!

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2/20/09

Tubas & Diaphones in The Main
Here are two “ranks” that will raise the hair on the back of your neck!

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3/4/09

Happy 1st Birthday to The Hanover Theatre
and
Happy Debut to the
Mighty Hanover Wurlitzer
Although less than half complete, the Mighty Hanover Wurlitzer had its premiere at the Hanover Theatre’s Happy 1st Birthday Open House. There were quite a few pleased patrons who had never seen nor heard anything quite like it before. Don Phipps and Bruce Hager (pit elevator operator) explained a lot of the intricacies of this great instrument, and John Phipps and Len Beyersdorfer provided some swell music!

(Just added some excellent shots taken by Joshua Handverger, son of Dick Handverger, a member of the organ crew.)

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3/29/09

Main Almost Done?!?
Here are some pictures of recent second-story work in the Main Chamber.  When the 12-note chest on the left is filled, all pipes will be in the Main (well, except for a couple that are awaiting mitering).

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4/10/09

Solo Performance
Work begins in the Solo Chamber, in earnest!

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4/25/09

Solo Plywood & Plaster & Merrie Melodies
Solo Chamber: Plywood for the floor is loaded and installed, plaster is chipped, & there is a show & tell for a few select folks.

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5/3/09

Solo Shades & Bearers
Solo Chamber: Painted & clean (for now), swell shades  and bearers installed.

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6/2/09

Solo Chamber - a 2nd Story
Solo Chamber: We installed the 2nd story to house the many Hanover Wurlitzer percussion instruments and traps. What is not shown is the precarious process we used to load and install the three sheets of heavy plywood in their final resting places.

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6/8/09

Solo Chamber - Measuring Up
Solo Chamber: Putting all of the various components in their proper places is a tedious task requiring skill, smarts, care and patience. At various times, not all of these required attributes are present!

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6/24/09

Solo Chamber - Loading Up
Ron Rhode tries out the Wurly in its new home - and lots more “stuff” gets loaded into the Solo.

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7/18/09

Solo Chamber - Toys in the Attic
The Solo receives some noisemakers!

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8/18/09

Wiring & Chest Gaskets
The boys do the wiring to enable the organist to completely turn the organ on/off and raise/lower the console via a set of buttons on the swing-out tray located to the organist’s right. Also, three Solo manual chests receive a little TLC before being hoisted into the Solo chamber.

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8/25/09

The Bombarde Trolley and The Big Lift
The boys install a trolley to handle the 16’ Solo Bombarde pipes - and it’s all hands on deck to hoist three large pipe chests and the six largest Bombarde pipes into the Solo via the side exterior door using a scissors lift.

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for
Pix


Click
for
Video

9/24/09

Welcome to The Mighty Solo Bombardes
At a brief, informal ceremony held in the Solo
Chamber, Troy Siebels, Executive Director of The Hanover Theatre, risks life and limb as he affixes his signature to Big Bertha, thereby officially welcoming Big Bertha and her sisters into
The Hanover Theatre Family.

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9/30/09

This Horizontal Trumpet Is Not Lazy
Pizzazz arrives in the Solo in the form of a Horizontal Trumpet - which may just part the hairdoos of some patrons seated in the front row of the balcony!

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11/30/09

SOLO = REED CITY
More pizzazz arrives in the Solo in the form of the English Post Horn - down to 16 feet, already!  Hang on to your hat!

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12/4/09

Just in Tune for Christmas
Jonathan Ortloff, a great organist and pipe organ techie, to boot, is enlisted to tune and tweak The Hanover Mighty Wurlitzer in preparation for its public debut at A Christmas Carol, starting December 18.

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12/9/09

The Hanover Mighty Wurlitzer Debuts
The Hanover Mighty Wurlitzer made its public debut at the Hanover’s production of Dickens’ A Christmas
Carol
in mid-December, 2009. Musical Director, Tim Evans, was at the console and he accompanied the entire production as well as provided overtures and exit music with great talent and gusto!

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1/22/10

A Piano and Yet More Pipes!
The addition of a Yamaha Disklavier (console piano) is welcome, indeed. It will be able to do at least double duty:  in the lobby for live or “recorded” music, and in the theatre playable from the organ console. Also the last pipes in the Main were installed (16’ Tibia), and offset diaphones in the Solo.

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2/16/10

Solo - Plumbing, Wiring, Cleaning and Bats!
All with a Trumpet Fanfare!
Yet more plumbing and wiring in the Solo as the Brass Trumpet gets the scrub-down - and a visit by an ancient and forgotten friend of the organ

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3/23/10

The Mighty Gets Still Mightier!
With the final installation of the high-pressure wind line to the Solo, the 16-foot Bombarde now emits a Mighty Growl!

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4/9/10

More Solo Chamber Pipes
More pipes are added to the Solo - it won’t be long now. We are getting close!  This is really getting exciting - we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

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5/18/10

More Solo Chamber Work

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6/3/10

Showtime, Regulators & More Pipes
Jonathan Ortloff performed a great mini-concert on The Hanover Mighty Wurlitzer for EMCATOS members and Hanover friends on June 20, 2010.  Shortly thereafter, five new regulators were installed (these are the last ones).  These regulators were built by Allen Miller, John and Don Phipps, and Kenny Duffie with some help from the peanut gallery.  Finally, some of the last pipes were added to the Solo.  You may be tempted to ask, “Is it soup yet?”  Well, let’s say, “Almost!”

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7/28/10

T. M. I. About The T. M.
& Rising To The Occasion
The long awaited Solo Chamber’s Tuba Mirabilis is installed and Always, Patsy Cline gets some special treatment.

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8/12/10

Off-Strings, Gold Leaf & Re-Stopping
This title is a little strange, but the one thing anyone will notice is that the console now has Gold Leaf!

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10/10/10

WISE Gets a Peek of the Hanover Mighty Wurlitzer
Members of the Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE) were treated to a seminar about the Hanover Mighty Wurlitzer on Oct. 13, 2010. The seminar took place on-stage with the console turned around with the back facing the house. Don Phipps told The Story, Bruce Hager & John Phipps gave main chamber and blower room tours, and Len Beyersdorfer finished up with a sonic sampler.  The organ sounds just great on-stage and the view is spectacular.

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10/19/10

An Evening of Majestic Proportions
November 5, 2010
What a show!
There were three great singers,
stand-up comedy from the solo chamber,
a Laurel & Hardy silent movie short,
a little sing-along,
and, of course, the Hanover Theatre Mighty Wurlitzer
so ably attended to by none other than
Jonathan Ortloff.
And, of course, there were
Don Phipps and his hard-working organ crew
who all received special recognition.
Just a few pix for now - more to be added to be sure!

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11/12/10

Recognition, Carols and Voicing
A recognition plaque, a rehearsal and pipe voicing - November 2010 to January 2011

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1/12/11

Tonal Finishing
Making it all sound just right!
Two of the top names in the business, Clark Wilson & Carlton Smith, were contracted to do the tonal finishing of The Hanover Mighty Wurlitzer during January, 2011. After they were done, they and others commented that this is a most notable instrument,
a real gem.

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2/14/11

Mighty Blower Intake Manifold (MBIM)
Just when you think you are done you discover other potential problems that require an ounce of prevention (well, more than an ounce).  Dirty and dry air can wreak havoc in the chambers. MBIM to the rescue!

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3/16/11

Solo 16-foot Gamba Joins the Crowd
Here are a few photos of the last 12 pipes to be installed, the Solo Chamber 16-ft Gamba, after receiving some TLC from Dan Kingman, Master Flue Voicer, and Bill Harper.

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4/27/11

Solo SkyTrem, Chute, Gong & Glock
And you thought the Hanover Mighty Wurlitzer was all done!  Guess again!

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9/27/11

The Big Trumpet Swap!
Here’s what happened.  At the suggestion of Simon Gledhill and Clark Wilson, changes were made to some of the trumpet ranks.  The Dennison trumpet was removed from the Main. The Wurlitzer brass trumpet was moved from the Solo to the Main to replace the Dennison.  Then a Gottfried French trumpet was brought in to replace the brass trumpet in the Solo. Needless to say, these changes were NOT made to make the Mighty Wurlitzer sound less mighty.

Au contraire!
 

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1/16/12

A Hummer of a Humidity System Is Installed!
As you know, keeping things warm in the winter can dry stuff out if you don’t have a humidifier.  Drying out a pipe organ is a bad idea.  So we added a humidifier at the intake to the blower. However, it must be intelligently controlled.  Enter the Mighty Humidity Control System to save the day.  With sensors in the Solo and smarts in the sub-basement hooked up to the sensors and humidifier, we can pretty much keep things safe and cozy in both chambers. Oh, yes, there are thermostatically controlled heaters in the chambers, too.

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2/13/12

The Mechanics and 21st Century Technology:
Inside the Mighty Wurlitzer
Saturday, February 18, 2012
The Hanover Theatre’s Mighty Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ is a wonderful blend of traditional building techniques and modern day technology.  Hosted by The Hanover’s Technical Director and Production Manager, Jon Rossbrook, curator Don Phipps and his team explained the mechanics that control the instrument’s 2,400 pipes and how digital/computer technology now affords greater flexibility and simplifies much of the control system.  Sample components of the organ were on display and there were tours of the Main organ chamber.  Resident organist Len Beyersdorfer played a mini-concert following the presentation.

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2/22/12

Double Doors of Opportunity
Opportunity knocked,
and The Hanover Theatre answered
with a new hole and double doors!
The orchestra pit consists of a center section which is the organ hydraulic lift/elevator, and two side sections which consist of staging.  To set the orchestra pit to the proper level to meet a show’s requirements, the side staged sections must be manually configured (which is time consuming and expensive), while the organ lift can be set by simply pressing a button. You know that this part is easy since even the organist can do it solo, while madly playing away, in real time.  The problem has been, for one example, that when a show required that the organ console not be on the lift, say for a pit orchestra, the right pit section had to be at the lowest level to allow the console to be rolled between the lift and the UWSR (Understage Warmup & Storage Room) through an access opening on the right side of the pit. This created a situation that at times prevented the organ from being used for one show if the console were removed for a previous show and the right pit was not at the lowest level (without expensive reconfiguration costs).  Phew! So the answer was to create an access port immediately behind the organ lift so the console can be moved between the lift and the UWSR without consideration of the level of the staged areas of the pit. This also allows the lift to easily be used to move other equipment between the UWSR and stage.  As a point of interest, it takes 3-4 men & boys to move the organ console between the lift and UWSR. To move the console to the lift takes about 15 minutes, but to remove the console from the lift and roll it into the UWSR takes less than five minutes. In fact, on two occasions in September, 2012, the organ was moved from the lift to the UWSR between the end of pre-show organ music and the start of the show to meet show requirements. This is known as the disappearing console trick. Hence, more opportunities for organ pre-show music and other interesting stuff!
There must be a more succinct way
of describing this!

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10/2/12

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