Lisa Condit spoke with Don Phipps, The Hanover Theatre’s organ expert, resident organ curator and so much more. Don celebrates his 85th birthday this month with a special, free concert. Read on for highlights from his September 30 WCRN interview, or listen to the entire interview below!
Don: I do not play the organ. I’m strictly a mechanical guy. I love to listen, and I love to work on instruments that people with talent do play.
Lisa: The precision that it takes for the music to come out is one thing, but to have that vision and to make it possible for other people to make that beautiful music, and for it to be such an important part of so many of our productions… the organ was a big part of American theater.
Don: The theater pipe organ was conceived and designed for the accompaniment of silent motion pictures.
Lisa: I really want to cover your birthday party. Sunday, October 22.
Don: We have had a number of exceptional silent films, but we’ve only had one or two organ concerts. I decided it was time for another one. We’re featuring Dave Wickerham, one of the top three organ recitalists in the United States. I’ve also hired the White Heat Swing Quartet, a well known organization in Boston – a little something new. At the end, I expect all five talented musicians to really get together and blow the back out of the auditorium. This is a completely different kind of music. If you don’t walk out with a smile on your face, you can complain personally and I’d be glad to apologize.
Lisa: And Don is only asking for a donation for this event. It would be really great if we could raise some money for the Wurlitzer fund so its maitenance is guaranteed for the future.
Do you play an instrument? What is your favorite instrument?