The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 27, 2012

Organist will present 'Voice of Silent Movies'

JOHNSTOWN — The music of a bygone era will come to life at an upcoming concert.

“The Voice of Silent Movies,” a part of the Grand Halle Performance Series, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at Grand Halle of Broad Street, formerly Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, 306 Broad St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

Doors will open at 6:30, and seating will be limited.

Wayne Zimmerman, president of the Delaware Valley Chapter, American Theater Organ Association, will present a program on the silent movie era.

“Our program will include silent films from the 1920s, including ‘Big Business’ a Laurel and Hardy comedy, and at least two others,” said Kim Rauch, music director of the performance series. “Wayne will introduce the films and tell about silent film entertainment and the organ’s role in accompanying the silent films.”

Zimmerman will play the hall’s resonate pipe organ, and the program should last about 90 minutes.

Food will be available from two vendors.

The Spirit of Johnstown Tea House & Cafe, which will be opening soon in the former Immaculate Conception rectory, 308 Broad St., will sell tea-style sandwiches, and Batter Bake Shop will sell cupcakes.

“Our first program in November was a re-introduction of the organ by Bryan Lohr,” Rauch said. “Our December Advent and holiday music concert, presented by Robert and Linda Lacovic, was a sell-out – standing room only.”

Zimmerman resides near West Chester, Chester County.

He became interested in the organ through his second piano instructor, Roderick DiNardo, one of the organists who used to play in Philadelphia’s motion picture theaters in the 1920s.

Zimmerman’s love of the theater pipe organ began in the early 1960s while he was a student at Drexel Institute and was introduced to the Moller theater pipe organ in the Sedgwick Theater in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia.

His experience expanded while playing the Wurlitzer in the Tower Theater and the Kimballs in the Lansdowne and Brookline theaters, all in suburban Philadelphia.

 Through the years, Zimmerman has played pipe and electronic organs in public and private venues from coast to coast.

His career highlights include playing the Wanamaker organ in Philadelphia, the largest operational pipe organ in the world, and the organ at John Dickinson High School in Wilmington, Del., the fourth largest theater pipe organ in the world.

This year, Zimmerman also has accompanied silent movies at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia.

If you go ...

What: “The Voice of Silent Movies.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4.

Where: Grand Halle of Broad Street, formerly Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, 306 Broad St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

Admission: $10 for adults and $5 for students. Preschool children will be admitted free.


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