About
Wurlitzer Pops

PERFORMANCES WITHOUT EQUAL IN NEW ENGLAND

Wurlitzer Pops is the programming series of the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society (EMCATOS). Founded in 1956, EMCATOS has produced hundreds of programs, including concerts and silent films, in the greater Boston metropolitan area.

THE WURLITZER STORY

In the golden age of silent film (1915-1928), movies required live musical accompaniment, in the form of a pianist, an ensemble of musicians, or by a single musician conjuring all the sounds of a full symphony orchestra and dance band at the theatre organ. Ten thousand theatre organs were installed in everything from the neighborhood Bijou to the largest movie palace seating 5,000+ people. The Wurlitzer organ, produced outside Buffalo, New York, was the gold standard of theatre organ - nearly 2,500 were built.

Once talking pictures premiered in 1927, the theatre organ, now largely purposeless, was mostly forgotten about. By mid-century, when populations fled city centers for the suburbs, the opulent movie palaces that housed them were razed; oftentimes, theatre organs were discarded or destroyed along with the theatre around them. Today, just over 300 remain; a half-dozen throughout New England.

THE CONCERT EXPERIENCE

You can expect music of all kinds at a Wurlitzer Pops performance, from the Great American Songbook, to Broadway scores, to orchestral transcriptions and beyond; the Mighty Wurlitzer can do it all. Each concert lasts approximately two hours with an intermission that includes refreshments.

Through spectacular lighting effects, and live-projected up-close views of the organist's hands and feet, Wurlitzer Pops performances are more than just purely music listening.

At a silent film presentation, our artist performs music live to accompany the action on the screen, authentically recreating the experience moviegoers would have had in the 1920s.