Owned by Chaminade High School
NEW - Documentary News segment about the Chaminade Organ - Click here to view Real Media
The story of the Chaminade organ begins in 1978 when Bob Atkins' son entered Chaminade as a freshman. Bob noted that the school's Darby Auditorium had no organ, and he came up with the idea that it would be the perfect venue for a theatre pipe organ.
Bob discovered that the Queens Village Theatre had a 3/11 Austin theatre pipe organ which would be a suitable instrument for Chaminade. Bob, Bro. Robert Lahey, and Ken Ladner removed the Queens Village instrument, cleaned it up, and configured it to fit into the new chambers constructed in the balcony by Brother Bob's fellow Marianists. At this time they installed a Peterson Diode Matrix relay and eventually a solid-state combination action.
The organ was first played at its dedication in June of 1980, which was also the fiftieth anniversary of the school. Shortly thereafter, the crew decided that the "straight" church console that Austin had used was not proper for a true theatre organ. We discovered the badly damaged remnants of a 3/13 Robert Morton theatre organ in the RKO Keiths Richmond Hill theatre. The console required major rebuilding in order to facilitate additional stop tabs and some missing pieces. Over the years a number of ranks were either replaced or added, including a Wurlitzer tibia clausa, a Morton post horn, a 16' Morton wood diaphone, and a solo scale Barton tibia clausa. A full battery of tuned and untuned percussions, as well as several additional tremulants, made the instrument much more complete. The most recent renovation included replacing the original 1927 Austin chests with new wind chests from Organ Supply Industries.
Friends and family have come to expect the sound of the Chaminade organ before practically every event held in Darby Auditorium. Additionally, NYTOS has had many concerts at Chaminade featuring a long list of both well-known and up-and-coming artists. Silent films are especially successful because the theatre is well equipped with state-of-the-art projectors, sound, and lighting.
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