Allegheny Center for the Arts presents its first Wurlitzer Theater Organ concert of its 2012 Season, Saturday May 19th at 7:00 PM at Lincoln Hall, with Mr. Ken Double playing the ARCA’s Mckissick Wurlitzer Theater Organ .
Mr. Double also comes as his double President and CEO of the American Theater Organ Society, to lead the tribute in honoring ARCA’s own Paul McKissick. The Lincoln Hall Wurlitzer has been restored to it’s playing condition, through thousands of hours of diligent and painstaking effort by Paul Mckissick. The organ built in 1929, often played in the Uptown Theater in Cleveland was found by Paul in 1988 in a warehouse in Canton Ohio.
Eleven years later Paul debuted his organ in his garage at Lake Latonka near Mercer. The word spread and when Paul sought a long term home for his organ, Lincoln Hall was under renovation through the efforts of Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts. As the saying goes “a deal was struck” and the Wurlitzer Organ was moved to Foxburg.
ARCA on behalf of its members and all the friends of the McKissicks wish to say thank you to Paul for all his efforts in bringing the Lincoln Hall organ to life. His good nature and willingness to share the organ by playing numerous impromptu concerts for audiences of one to fifty have become a hallmark of the Wurlitzer organ experience in Foxburg.
It is hoped theater organ supporters far and wide will join ARCA Saturday evening at Lincoln Hall to both hear Ken Double play and to say well done to Mr. Organ, Paul McKissick here in Foxburg.
Mr. Double is well suited for the concert dual role. Until recently, music was always for Mr. Double “the second…..
Tickets for Saturdays concert are Adults $15, Members $12, and Students $ 10. To reserve tickets for this special concert and tribute call 412-867-1816. Also visit www.alleghenvriverstone.org and www.gofoxburg.com.
It is not often that one gets paid to have fun for a living. It is rarer still when having fun and getting paid for it professionally happens twice in life. Such has been the good professional fortune of Ken Double, the President and CEO of the American Theatre Organ Society.
Until recently, music was always, form Mr. Double, the “second career,” almost an afterthought due to his 32 years in broadcasting. The Chicago-native grew up with five brothers in a sports loving family, but Ken was more enamored of the play-by-play announcers than he was the athletes, and as early as age six, was mouthing the words sitting in front of the television, “practice” broadcasting the games he watched.
He parlayed that interest into a Degree in Radio-TV from Butler University in Indianapolis, and began his broadcast career that included NBA and Big Ten basketball, NHL, IHL and AHL hockey.
Ken started organ lessons starting at age eight. About the time he was getting bored with that, and a high school radio station was providing broadcast opportunities, a school field trip took him to the Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge, IL and a chance to play the Wurlitzer theatre organ, and it was for him as it is for so many, that “WOW!” moment.
Several weeks later, the same teacher who guided students on the field trip took a group to hear Gaylord Carter at Chicago’s famed Oriental Theatre and Ken was truly hooked. He steered lessons in the theatre organ direction, including one year of studies with legendary organist Al Melgard, where Ken took his lessons on Wednesday afternoons at the Melgard studio, and then met his teacher later that night for the Blackhawks hockey game at the old Chicago Stadium. Talk about careers coming full circle.
While Ken pursued his broadcast career, he continued playing the organ. As a college senior, he provided music for sporting events at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis; worked summers as the organist at the famed Tommy Bartlett Water Show in Wisconsin Dells; later, had a stint subbing at the Paramount Music Palace in Indianapolis.
He accepted the top post at ATOS in the summer of 2007, and a year later, the Board of Directors asked Ken to accept the newly created position of President and CEO. He has been working diligently to raise funds, raise awareness, create new and exciting programs, and help steer the 56-year-old organization in a new direction to ensure its growth and existence for another 50 years and more.