Rob Richards, El Capitan Theatre's House Organist,
Named 2005 'Organist of the Year' by The American Theatre Organ Society
HOLLYWOOD, CA USA 08/11/2005
HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Rob Richards, the popular house organist at Hollywood's legendary El Capitan Theatre, has been named 2005 "Organist of the Year" by the American Theatre Organ Society, it was announced today (8/11) by Lylle Breier, senior vice president of worldwide special events for Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. Richards, who has played the "Mighty Wurlitzer" at the landmark Hollywood movie palace since its installation in 1999, received the award at a ceremony on July 5th. That ceremony also marked the 50th anniversary convention for this group that is dedicated to the preservation of this unique American art form -- the theatre pipe organ and its music.
Commenting on the award, Breier said, "We have been privileged to have Rob as our house organist at the El Capitan Theatre for the past six years, and we're thrilled that he has been recognized by his peers with their highest honor. Rob is a great musician and a great showman. His pre-movie concerts at the El Capitan -- with over 3500 performances to date -- have brought lots of joy and entertainment to moviegoers, and introduced them to a wonderful tradition. All of us at Buena Vista and the El Capitan Theatre salute his great accomplishments and latest milestone."
Gus L. Franklin, president of the American Theatre Organ Society, added, "Rob has been one of our world-class, outstanding theatre organ artists for many years. He has thrilled us with wonderful music; music that has penetrated our very beings at depths which nothing else could begin to reach. His love of the theatre organ is contagious, and his willingness to share that with others, particularly young people, has enabled him to devote both himself and his time to demonstrating the wonders of this instrument and its music to them. As house organist at Disney's El Capitan Theatre, Rob's outstanding artistry is being experienced regularly by thousands of people and is enabling them to enjoy the wonderful music and sounds that only a theatre organ can produce. The American Theatre Organ Society is truly honored by naming Rob Richards the 2005 Organist of the Year."
Richards is currently celebrating his 30th year of giving concerts. He has toured extensively across America, and has participated in six major international tours that have taken him to Japan, Australia, and England. Richards has also recorded numerous solo CDs, including "Now Playing" at the El Capitan, released in 2003.
The El Capitan's "Mighty Wurlitzer" is the last of only five magnificent "Fox Specials" built in the 1920s, and is considered the top of the line in theatre organs. It was designed with all the "bells and whistles" for movie palaces. Over 2500 pipes were installed in four chambers -- two on each side of the theatre -- to accommodate this magnificent musical instrument. The largest pipe is over 32-feet long. The El Capitan's organ was originally installed in 1929 at the San Francisco Fox Theatre.