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Biggs vs. Fox -- let's do it with the Theatre Organists

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  • Biggs vs. Fox -- let's do it with the Theatre Organists

    I have touched, in passing, on this subject before from the left handed position, but I would like to put it up front. If EVERY major Theatre Organ Concert held today had a price tag of $100.00 per ticket, which artists' programs would you attend and why and the other way around and why? Our most major post has been Biggs vs. Fox, classically speaking. We have been both nice and sometimes nasty about them. Let's give it a go-round with the current theatre organist bunch! Let's do this nicely!

  • #2
    Biggs vs. Fox -- let's do it with the Theatre Organists

    I have touched, in passing, on this subject before from the left handed position, but I would like to put it up front. If EVERY major Theatre Organ Concert held today had a price tag of $100.00 per ticket, which artists' programs would you attend and why and the other way around and why? Our most major post has been Biggs vs. Fox, classically speaking. We have been both nice and sometimes nasty about them. Let's give it a go-round with the current theatre organist bunch! Let's do this nicely!

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    • #3
      Re: Biggs vs. Fox -- let's do it with the Theatre Organists

      I would gladly pay $100 to hear a Walt Strony or Tom Hazleton concert. Two of the best in my opinion.
      I would pay even more to hear Stu Boyer play again. Probably those of you near Sacramento, CA have heard him.

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      • #4
        Re: Biggs vs. Fox -- let's do it with the Theatre Organists

        I also have attended several ATOS conventions and spent the associated travel and lodging. But for a single ticket, I don't think I would pay $100. Maybe if they were very rare events with a top notch organ and the hunger built over a long time. Possibly Hector Olivera doing some of the wild things he can on the FOX Moller in the Atlanta FOX, an upsurpassed instrument of power in this venue that is unique in tone and not considered pure TO by the brand W crowd, but a tremendous sound. However, Hector isn't playing much TO anymore. If anyone is capable of having ability to out resource the venue, it is him. I have seen him many times from his more prominent theatre organ days to a performance in Atlanta's Clayton college classical Spivey Hall, where he trotted out a Roland and managed to blow away a 79 rank Rufratti. As the college staff organist stated, after playing the Rufratti for the firt half of the venue: "I played what you're supposed to hear, now Hector will play what you want to hear."

        Theatre playing is a creative art dependent almost solely on interpretation and styling. The palette is wide open and blank to start with. Today's top artist in putting together top arrangements and especially excelling at well-constructed symphonic-style medleys is Simon Gledhill of England. Nobody sews together a sonic collection as well as him to make it exciting and new, and are somewhat best described as suites or fantasias. He redefines it as a structure. Anyone who attended the weekend bash at the FOX in Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend 2004 could attest, where Simon really put Mightly Mo through it's paces, with everything from a blazing Duke Ellington medley to Holst's Planets.

        Walt Strony is a top TO player and also is classically adept. Lynn Larson is unmatched at control and expression. But Simon gets the creativity vote.

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        • #5
          Re: Biggs vs. Fox -- let's do it with the Theatre Organists

          Unfortunately, few venture out even at $12 a ticket these days. Part of it is due to the clubby nature of ATOS and the resulting lack of general public marketing. But that's another subject. See other post on TO organists. There are also a few home-brew and regional theatre organists that are quite good but largely unknown if at all. Anyone care to mention someone they've snuck up on and been impressed?

          My ratings, if such has any real value in an art depending on styling more than anything. It's a matter of taste than being able to rate one better than the other, to a point. So it is more a matter of what tickles as much as pure ability. For the current praticing artists:

          1. Simon Gledhill of England (see other post) firmly at #1. Lynn Larson will even tell you so.
          2. Walt Strony
          3. Lynn Larson
          4. Jonas Nordwall (doesn't play too often, but top ability).
          5. Tom Hazelton
          6. Jelani Eddington (good technical ability).

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          • #6
            Re: Biggs vs. Fox -- let's do it with the Theatre Organists

            Come on gang! We just had nearly 400 attendees in Phoenix for 7 great theatre organists. Responses were terrific. Doesn't anyone out there have an opinion on the quality of the current theatre organsits performing today? dec

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            • #7
              Re: Biggs vs. Fox -- let's do it with the Theatre Organists

              I just found this forum TODAY and registered...

              I've been listening to theatre organ for over 30 years now, have heard LOTS of the top guys over the years...

              Let's see... Off the top of my head...

              Jelani Eddington over them all...

              Lew Williams, Jonas Nordwall, Ron Rhode, Walt Strony, Rob Richards are all great...

              I'm sure I'm leaving some out, but that's my take for now...

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              • #8
                Re: Biggs vs. Fox -- let's do it with the Theatre Organists

                Jim Riggs
                -nuff said.

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