Renowned organist to play at Hurricane church this month

April 13, 2009

PipeSounds, A Community Festival of Organ Concerts Organization has announced an upcoming performance of the silent movie, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," with organist Clark Wilson, a nationally acclaimed performer, providing the musical score.

The event, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, at Forrest Burdette United Methodist Church, 2848 Putnam Ave. in Hurricane, will conclude with a reception honoring Wilson.

All tickets are $10 and are available at the church office or at Hurricane Floral on Main Street in Hurricane.

A native of Ohio, Wilson began his musical training at age 9. While growing up, he accompanied numerous stage musicals and was organist at several churches. At this time, he was listed in "Who's Who in the Midwest" and "Men of Achievement." He also holds Life Member status in the International Tri-M Music Honor Society and is listed in "Who's Who in Executives and Professionals."

Following several years with the Schantz Organ Company as a reed voicer and tonal finisher, Wilson's professional playing career began with his appointment to the featured organist post at Pipe Organ Pizza in Milwaukee.

He has since been on the playing staffs at the Paramount Music Palace in Indianapolis and Pipes and Pizza in Lansing, Ill., and is currently associated with Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, Ariz., where he is on the organ staff as well as having assisted with the planning and installation of the world's largest Wurlitzer organ.

Wilson's recording credits include seven albums.

He has given all-transcription recitals for the AGO, played for the 1990 Organ Historical Society convention and performed at numerous national and regional conventions of the ATOS, as well as giving a series of highly lauded workshops for young people's Pipe Organ Encounters.

He has also been a visiting lecturer on theater organ and silent picture accompaniment for the Indiana University organ department, a great step in the advancement of these art forms.

He has concertized in the United States, Canada, Australia and England, and done extensive silent film accompaniment, including at the Chautauqua Institution in New York, the Packard Foundation's Stanford Theatre, UCLA and the Fox Theatre for the Atlanta premiere of the restored Metropolis.

He has scored for Kino International for commercial release and has performed at both the Cinequest and San Francisco Silent Film Festivals, as well as for the Los Angeles Conservancy.

Wilson is the resident organist and organ conservator at the Ohio Theatre in Columbus, Ohio, for the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts and was chosen by them to re-premiere the renowned Chicago Theatre Organ on a bill that included Michael Feinstein. He also headed the professional crew that began restoration on the landmark Wurlitzer.

Along with a busy concert schedule, Wilson runs his own pipe organ business and is heavily in demand as a tonal consultant and finisher of both theater and classical pipe organs; he has been given the honor of being brought to England multiple times for tonal finishing and consulting.

He has received both the Technician of the Year and Organist of the Year awards from the American Theatre Organ Society, the only person to have done so, and his time is now nearly equally divided between concert and technical work.

He has been professionally involved with more than 100 organ installations throughout North America and England and has provided consulting and voicing expertise for several different organ companies. If you have questions, call Don Gatewood at 304-562-5903 or go to

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