Last year we were using a Rodgers organ to provide music for our
silent films but it was large and needed a truck to take it to our venues. I started to do research into a motre portable
alternative. I found the Walnut Hill Wurlitzer site and Virtual Theatre Organ Site and learned about the virtual organs available.
I started with the Miditzer and a Yamaha keyboard and practiced in its use and programming.
Then I found the Milan Digital Audio site and ordered the Virtual
Wurlitzer Samples off of the site. The samples are from an 8 rank style F Wurlitzer complete with sound effects and piano.
Next I ordered the Hauptwerk virtual organ program from Crumhorn
Labs. A computer was purchased especially for the playing of the organ with lots of RAM memory.
Robert Hoppe made a 2 manual with pedal MIDI set up using electronics
supplied by Classical Organ Works of Canada. It will have over 30 combination pistons and 10 toe pistons and a MIDI expression
Pedal. Now completed we have a total portable Wurlitzer experience for our public shows.
Update for August 2006: Since our last
show Martin Dyde of Crumhorn Labs has learned about how we are using his Hauptwerk program to control the sounds
of a Wurlitzer Pipe Organ, he has graciously offered and we accepted his donation of the concert version of this program which
wil enable us to voice the ranks note by note, have access to 500 channels of sound (if we need) and unlimited polyphony instead
of the 1200 note limit we had and only 2 channels of sound. We can now voice the organ, adjust the tremulants, and adjust
the volume of the 8 ranks plus percussions, just like a real pipe organ. With these capabilities we are going to be on par
with a top line Walker or Allen Digital instrument without any cost to us.
The keyboards with pistons and the pedalboard were completed and delivered. With the assistance
of Atilla at Classic Organ Works and Brett Milan of Milan Digital, the system is now up and playing. The next phase is to
upload some new samples from Brett Milan and debut the instrument at the September 9th silent movie show. We hope to do some
audio recording and videotape the show in parts. I highly recommend this type of project for those on a budget and do
not have room for pipes. The result is a very realistic organ with a lot of dynamic range and presence not found in the common
electronic organ. It can be made portable like our project or built into a console with multiple speakers for a living room
or practice room.
The updated software was loaded into the organ on Sept 7th and all programming was completed.
We completed our first show with the complete organ and it was a success.