Lance Luce - Santa Monica, California
Barnum Hall, Santa Monica High School Dedication
The Concert
Barnum Hall
A Concert to celebrate
Barnum Hall's restoration,
renovation and installation
of the newer Wurlitzer
theatre organ donated by
Gordon Belt.

The date was Monday,
March 8, 2010 at 7:00pm.

I started the program with a
"console riser" even
though that particular
evening the orchestra pit
lift was not cooperating.  
Then came a student
organist named Jared
Hammer, who played
Prelude in G minor by
Bach.  Jared's father had
been the last person to
play the old organ prior to
the earthquake that
damaged the building and
the original organ.

Next, Lyn Larsen played
two songs dedicated to
Gordon Belt, the
gentleman that donated his
Wurlitzer to Barnum Hall.  
Lyn is very familiar with this
organ as he assembled it
in Gordon Belt's home
many years ago, and
consulted on its installation
in Barnum Hall recently.

Henry Hunt of the Los
Angeles Theatre Organ
Society and Church
Organs Inc. of Pasadena
was responsible for
coordinating the donation
of the organ to the hall.  
Henry "orchestrated" all
aspects of this huge
undertaking, including
bringing all of the
necessary people into the
project to make sure it was
done and done properly.

There were some welcome
speeches and lots of thank
yous by various dignitaries.
The Principal of the High
School spoke as did the
Superintendent of the
school district.  The list of
donors in the program was
long.  The project to rebuild
the hall after it suffered
damage from an
earthquake was both time
consuming and expensive.

Next I played some organ
solos, a sing-along and a
short Laurel and Hardy
comedy.  The organ
sounds very nice in the hall
and it's fun to play.  The
audience was very
receptive.  We were trying
to show the students and
the alumni that were in
attendance some of the
different things this organ
is capable of doing.

Ken Crome of the Crome
Organ Company was hired
to do the installation of the
organ into the existing
organ chambers.  As you
can see from the pictures
on the left, he did an
impeccable job.  The dark
red windlines are all
custom cut out of PVC and
glued together with great
accuracy.  The wiring is
neat and clean.  The floor
of the organ chamber and
all of the support members,
etc. were built and
assembled in Ken's shop.  
Everything was stamped
and labeled, then
disassembled and moved
to the school where it was

Ken Crome is known for
his meticulous
craftsmanship, and you
can see by these pictures
some of his fine work.

Some pipes from the old
organ were used in the
lobby of Barnum Hall as a
display to the donors,
who's generous
contributions made the
renovation of the hall
possible, as well as the
installation of the organ
donated by Gordon Belt.

The Concert continued with
the Samohi Wind
Ensemble under the
direction of Terry Sakow.  
Mr. Sakow has been the
Director of Bands at Santa
Monica High School since
1990.  The band has won
numerous awards and are
considered one of the
finest High School bands
in California.

The Band joined the organ
in the playing of "Polka and
Fugue" from the opera
Swanda the Bagpiper with
student organist Thomas
Nagata.  Next the band
played Sousa's "Stars and
Stripes Forever" with yours
truly again at the console.  
The sound of the organ
and the orchestra together
is amazing.

The closing piece of the
evening was the school
song "Hymn of Praise."

The evening was most
enjoyable for everyone
involved.  The school has a
beautiful Wurlitzer that the
students will be able to
learn on, and the
auditorium will be able to
host events with a theatre
pipe organ for generations
to come.

OK, now that the concert
was over, it was time for
me to play tourist.  I've read
about the famous "pier" so,
I had to go see it.  My
guide was none other than
Lyn Larsen.
Lyn knew I wanted my
picture under the famous
sign for the pier, so he took
the picture, thank you.

Lyn grew up in the Los
Angeles area, so he gave
me the grand tour.  He
showed me the Rialto
Theatre where George
Wright played, and many
other landmarks in the L.A.
area.  I'm glad he was
driving too, they have a
different style of driving
there :)

I can't thank Henry and Lyn
enough for all they did to
make me feel at home
during my trip.
Lyn Larsen, Henry Hunt, Gordon Belt, Lance Luce
Lyn Larsen, Lance Luce
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