Historic Organ Restoration Committee
Historic Organ Restoration Committee

About Us

     Historic Organ Restoration Committee is a 501c3 chartered by the state of New Jersey for the restoration and preservation of the two pipe organs of Historic Boardwalk Hall. In addition to the actual physical restoration of the instruments, HORC seeks to educate and increase awareness of the unique importance of these instruments as irreplaceable national treasures through programming and tours throughout the year. The large organ (main auditorium) is the world’s largest musical instrument, the smaller instrument (Adrian Phillips Theater) is one uniquely suited to the interpretation of silent film.

     HORC was formed by the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority on February 13, 2004 for the solicitation of funds for the restoration of the pipe organ(s) of Atlantic City Convention Hall (now Boardwalk Hall).

HORC seeks to demonstrate the singular capabilities of the unique musical treasures of Boardwalk Hall and raise awareness for the need for additional funds to complete the project of the restoration of both organs to their original musical capabilities. 16 million dollars is needed over the next 10 years to return both organs to fully functional.

     Currently, the past several years of work have allowed the first 75% of the Ballroom organ and approximately 25% of the Main Auditorium organ to return to functionality.  The use of these instruments for programming such as outlined above, allows us to make people aware of the presence of the instruments within the building. The instruments otherwise are not necessarily visually obvious to guests of Boardwalk Hall as they are enclosed within the walls and ceilings of the building.

     The long-range plan of HORC is to complete the restoration of these two instruments and return them to full functionality. At our current rate of funding, we anticipate this to be 2023, but this may change. These instruments are slowly, but surely returning to the daily operations of the building and can be heard in numerous concerts and shows at Boardwalk Hall. HORC will continue to promote an increase of tourist interest and awareness of what has recently best been described as “The Sonic Mt. Rushmore”.

Staff

Staff members with extensions may be reached by calling 609 402-9584 609 402-9584 .

Dr. Steven Ball

Director of Outreach Staff Organist

 

Steven occupies a rather unique place in the musical world of the organ. In addition to being a Fulbright Scholar, he is part of a small number of artists proficient in the genre of the theater organ ever to have achieved a doctoral degree in music, and the first to have ever done so with a degree in organ performance. Widely recognized for his scholarship both with classical improvisation as well as the art of silent film composition and accompaniment, he has traveled and performed extensively in both the United States and abroad including concerts in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Portugal, Ireland, England and Switzerland. Some important firsts include the world premiere of the first concerto for theater organ and orchestra ("Once Upon a Castle" 2003 by Michael Daugherty) and the first silent film accompanied by a carillon.

     

     Originally from a small farm near Wright Michigan, Dr. Ball began playing the organ at a very young age. By the time he was 6, he was both studying piano and attempting to complete a single stop pipe organ which his father and he had begun engineering together in the basement of their family home. He began accompanying church services on a regular basis by the age of 9, and started formal organ studies not long after with Dr. John Hammersma of Calvin College. By the age of 16 he was accepted as an undergraduate in the studio of Dr. Marilyn Mason of the University of Michigan. His undergraduate studies in organ performance were followed by several years of study abroad which included work at l'Institute de Touraine in Tours (France), the University of Utrecht and Royal Dutch Carillon School of Amersfoort (The Netherlands) as well as the Royal Carillon School of Mechelen (Belgium). He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship by the United States Government in 2002. 

     

     Previous to his appointment as Director of Outreach and Staff Organist at Historic Boardwalk Hall, he was University Carillonneur at the University of Michigan as well as a member of the Faculty of the Organ Department in addition to being Director of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.

Nathan Bryson

Curator of Organs

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     Nathan L. Bryson is Curator of Organs at Boardwalk Hall, a position he began September 1, 2015.  Mr. Bryson, a native of Brevard, NC, in his previous position as Project Manager with Cornel Zimmer Organ Builders, brings his project management skills along with working skills to assist HORC in the daily onsite rebuilding activities of the organs.

     Mr. Bryson has previously been involved with multiple Wanamaker Organ Symposium’s focusing on the restoration and relocation of the Orchestral division and also has been involved with the Wurlitzer installation in the Greek Hall.  Other notable projects worked on by Mr. Bryson include the 4/83 Aeolian-­‐Skinner at Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte, NC, 5/85 Austin/Cornel Zimmer at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA and 3/38 Aeolian-­‐Skinner at Neely’s Creek A.R.P., Rock Hill, NC.

     At age eight Mr. Bryson began studying piano with Rachel Kahl of Brevard, NC. He continued his study with Jane Dill at Southern Wesleyan University, graduating in May of 2004 with degrees in music as well as Internet Computing. During his four years at SWU he was active in the Concert Choir, Chamber singers, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band. He began studying organ while at Southern Wesleyan under Jane Dill as well as studying Carillon with Clemson University Carilloneur, Dr. Linda Dzuris.

     Mr. Bryson graduated Southern Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Internet Computing and Bachelor of Arts in Music. Mr. Bryson has participated in continuing education credits with the American Institute of Organ Building and is currently Organist/Choirmaster for the Robinson Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

Scott D. Banks

Membership & Events Coordinator 

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     Scott is a classically trained vocalist and conductor having studied at Montclair State University, he has been operating in retail for the past eight years. He was able to successfully lead his stores to profitability and look for new and creative ways to make work not only productive but also enjoyable. All along he has been in search of a way to bring music back as his livelihood. He has been involved with numerous non-profits over the years and is looking forward to bringing his expertise in marketing and outreach to the Historic Organ Restoration Committee.

Carl Hersom

Shop Apprentice

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     Carl Hersom graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from the Schwob School of Music of Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, where he studied horn under Jason Eklund and Anna Dodd, music theory and aural skills under Kristen Hansen, and organ under Joseph Golden. He was an active member of the CSU Wind Ensemble and CSU Philharmonic Orchestra, playing principal parts on multiple occasions. He also had a semester-long independent study and lecture on pipe organ building.
     Carl's love and interest for the organ began at a very young age, spending most of his time in church services being enthralled with the organist and her playing. After taking up the French horn in elementary school, and ultimately majoring in the horn in college, it wasn't until then that he formally started organ lessons. Through this, combined with hundreds of hours of learning about carpentry, electricity, and mechanical movement from his father at home, started his fascination of the pipe organ's functionality and history, which lead to his serious dedication to pipe organ building and restoration.
     During his independent study, he had many shadowing hours of organ maintenance with Robert Coulter of Robert I. Coulter Organbuilders of Atlanta, Georgia, and went on to do a full-time apprenticeship and employment with GHP Associates of Attleboro, Massachusetts, where he learned fine wood-working and leathering skills under the direction of Gary Phillips. Prior to his full-time appointment with the Historic Organ Restoration Committee, he was employed part-time with both HORC and the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

James W. Martin

Shop Apprentice

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     Mr. James Martin's volunteer work with the Organs of Boardwalk Hall began in September of 2015. He was thrilled to find an outlet for his lifelong love of music. James is gifted with an understanding of chords and harmonics, and his music major at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College further prepared him in this area.  A classically trained vocalist and pianist, James is a member of the choir at Calvary Baptist Church in Elkins Park, PA, where he also serves as an accompanist and sings in a select men's group.  James' previous employment involved working with the deaf. He hopes to help deaf friends understand and appreciate the music of the organs at Boardwalk Hall.

Chuck Gibson

Professional Assistant to the Curator

 

     Charles (Chuck) Gibson became interested in the sound of the pipe organ listening to the 4 manual 106 rank E.M. Skinner pipe organ at his school, Girard College in Philadelphia, PA.  He began studying piano at the age of 10 with the hope of someday playing the organ.  After a single organ lesson, he wanted to know how the sound was produced.  Being naturally interested in all things mechanical, the workings of the pipe organ were very interesting to him.

     Upon graduation from Girard in 1973, Chuck already had been hired as an apprentice pipe organ technician by Burger and Shafer Organ Co. of Findlay, Ohio who were associates of M.P. Moller Organ Co., Hagerstown, MD.  One year later, M.P. Moller hired Chuck into the factory team where he learned many areas of the trade.  In 1976 Chuck moved back to New Jersey accepting a position with Mangam Organ Co. of Philadelphia.  In 1978, Chuck was recommended for the position of Assistant Curator of the Wanamaker organ in Philadelphia where he remained for 11 years.

     Chuck began his own service company while still at Wanamaker’s as many people were asking for his expertise at their churches.  The company grew quickly and was incorporated in 1987.  Today the company known as C.W. Gibson, Inc., Pipe Organ Specialties, is responsible for the care and tuning of 125 church pipe organs.  In 1996, C.W. Gibson, Inc. purchased the Mangam Organ Co. and merged its customers into the company.  C.W. Gibson, Inc. has also been involved with the beginning stages of restoration of the world’s largest organ at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ.

Donna Sleight

Editor - The Grand Ophicleide

 

     Originally from Georgia, Donna grew up in the Schenectady, NY area where she spent most of her time riding horses and had the pleasure of owning her own wild Mustang.

     She and her husband Mike who is a volunteer organ technician at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ, raised their three sons in Dumont, NJ and now live in Galloway, NJ.

     Her interests lie in many different fields and throughout her life she has managed to pursue and combine most of them.

     She completed undergraduate studies in Marine Biology at Fairleigh Dickenson University, and has credits in Avian Biology from Cornell University, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. She also holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Parapsychic Sciences and was asked to write a textbook for Princeton University's Paranormal Engineering Anomaly Research project (PEAR).

     In addition to her contributions to several environmental magazines including the American Federation of Aviculture, and Birds and Blooms, she is an accomplished layout and design artist. She created program cover designs for the productions of "Once Upon a Planet" and "The Crucible" for an Army theater group in Fort Gordon, GA.

     She has been an editor for multiple venues including an avian organization in Paramus, NJ, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, NJ, Career Opportunity Development, Inc. in Egg Harbor City, NJ, and the Atlantic Audubon Society of NJ. She is currently the editor for the Historic Organ Restoration Committee's official journal, the Grand Ophicleide.

     

Board of Trustees

L. Curt Mangel III

President

 

     L. Curt Mangel III grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania. At an early age, he became enamored with the pipe organ at the Shea Theater in Buffalo, NY and set out to rescue it from the hall. After seeing the hall, he realized that it too needed saving. He took a job near Buffalo, NY and applied his natural aptitude for mechanics and engineering, eventually becoming the Shea Theater's head of maintenance. He spearheaded a campaign to save the hall, turning it into a venue for organ concerts and off-Broadway productions.

 

     After moving to Chicago, IL, he saved several movie palaces, which became popular venues for the Second City's active role in live theater. About this time, Jasper Sanfilippo put together his astonishing collection of mechanical musical instruments and built the largest theater organ in the world for his Place de la Musique in Barrington, IL, and Curt became curator. A trip to the historic Wanamaker store in the late 1990s led to Curt offering his help to bring the struggling Wanamaker organ back to regular playability and musicality. With the help of the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ, Curt organized a week-long yearly session of volunteer restoration, resulting in great strides for that organ. During the Lord & Taylor years at the store, he was named curator and brought the organ back to total playability.

 

     Mr. Mangel is actively engaged in a number of pipe organ projects, including humidity systems for clients such as Yale and Princeton Universities, and an organ for Bryn Athyn Cathedral. In 2014, Curt was elected President of the Historic Organ Restoration Committee in Atlantic City that is tasked with the restoration of the gigantic Midmer-Losh and Kimball organs at Boardwalk Hall.

Adrian Phillips III

Vice-President

 

Adrian Phillips III has been involved in the greater Atlantic City community and in the world of the pipe organ since his childhood. His father’s passion for the instrument led him to purchase the Midmer-Losh pipe organ from the Atlantic City High School and the younger Phillips oversaw the restoration and installation of that instrument at his father’s home in Phoenix, AZ. Active as both and organ technician and a trustee on the board of the Historic Organ Restoration Committee his passion for the instrument continues to this day.

 

Larry Sieg

Treasurer

 

     Mr. Sieg has over 30 years of “hands-on” management experience in all areas of the tourism and hospitality industry.  A comprehensive knowledge of tourism related attractions, businesses, and industries of the Greater Atlantic City region. In addition, he has extensive experience in the hiring, training, supervision, and reporting of staff to execute the specific requests and or desires of each distinct groups or individuals.    

     Sieg serves as director of marketing for the Casino Reinvestment Devlopment Authority, leading the CRDA’s marketing, graphic communications, visitor services, marketing partnership, digital marketing and events management initiatives.  In addition he oversaw the planning, execution and participation in trade shows, conventions and sales missions, as well as sales office representation in the United Kingdom and Canada.

     Sieg has held positions as a board of director as well as officer for many local organizations including the Historic Organ Restoration Committee, the Greater Atlantic City Chamber Commerce, The South Jersey AIDS Alliance and The Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance.

     Sieg obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Edinburgh and holds many certifications and credentials the tourism and hospitality industry as well as the graphic design field.

Dennis Cook

Secretary

 

     Dennis Cook lived in Central Pennsylvania and Canada and educated both the United States and Canada.  He holds degrees in Sacred Music and was appointed Organist/Director of Music and Cultural Events at the Historic Church of the Ascension in Atlantic City for 30 years.  Dennis has been appointed Interim Organist/Director of Music with St. Andrew Lutheran Church of Atlantic City, St Mary’s Episcopal Church in Stone Harbor, NJ.  During his early college years, Dennis worked with several small organ builders in the summer months. Following his college years, he was employed with the late M. P. Moller Pipe Organ Company of Hagerstown, Maryland.
     In 1978 he moved to Atlantic City, still keeping a business relationship with the Moller Company until it’s closing in 1992.  Dennis worked part time as a helper, with William Rosser, Organ Curator of the Boardwalk Hall in his early years living in Atlantic City working with both Midmer-Losh and Kimball Organs of the Hall.  He is owner of Pipe Organ Consultant and Service and maintains and has designed organs in the area, along with consulting with several Insurance companies for appraisal. He spear-headed and handed the restoration of the 1916 M.P. Moller 55 rank pipe organ in the Historic Church of the Ascension.
     Dennis is a long standing member of the American Guild of Organists and past Dean of the South East Jersey Chapter. He is member of the Historic Organ Society, the American Theatre Organ Society to state a few. A long standing member and worked very closely with the former Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ Society until they dissolved. He is a member of the American Institute of Organ Builders. Dennis is a founding member of the Historic Organ Restoration Committee, Inc., a member of the Technical Committee and Secretary of the Corporation.

Joseph Fusco

Trustee

 

 

Fred Haas

Trustee

 

     Fred Haas began organ studies with Robert Plimpton at 15 and David Boe at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, B. Music (1983) with minors in voice and harpsichord.   Additional teachers include Fenner Douglas, David Craighead, William Porter and Harald Vogel.  Before retiring from a career in church music, Fred also worked as assistant organist with Jeffrey Brillhart at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in the early 1980s. At that time, Fred also studied with Keith Chapman and served as one of his Assistant Grand Court organists on the Wanamaker Organ.  After a hiatus (following the death of Keith Chapman) Fred was invited to return to the roster of Assistant Grand Court Organists by Peter Richard Conte.

     Fred’s passion for the pipe organ is evident in the many philanthropic projects in which he as been involved.  In the early 2000’s, Fred was the lead donor via the Haas Charitable trusts of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ (Dobson, Op 76) in Verizon Hall in Philadelphia.  Fred is also the lead donor of the Wanamaker Organ (Philadelphia) and the Midmer-Losh and Kimball organs of Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City.  Recently, Fred founded the Historic Organ Trust (HOT) which funds the restoration and preservation of important historic pipe organs, with funding from the Wyncote Foundation.  HOT has already restored several pipe organs in the Philadelphia area, placing them in Bryn Athyn Cathedral, St. Paul’s Church and St. Patrick’s Church.  In addition to pipe organ projects, Fred is a major patron of opera companies across the country, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Opera Philadelphia, and the Santa Fe Opera, of which he is a trustee.

     Recently, Fred was honored by Macy’s with a plaque dedicating the restored mahogany grill surrounding the Wanamaker Grand Court organ console in recognition of his years of support of the care of the organ.  In October 2015, the Haas Family was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in a ceremony at New York Public Library, recognizing the family’s dedication to philanthropy over four generations.

Vicki Gold Levi

Truste

 

     Vicki Gold Levi is an author and photo editor.  She co-wrote "Atlantic City: 125 Years of Ocean Madness," co-founded the Atlantic City Historical Museum and produced the documentary "Boardwalk Ballyhoo: The Magic of Atlantic City."  She served as an historical consultant on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and co-authored "Cuba Style" and "Times Square Style."  

Thomas Sykes

Trustee

 

     Tom Sykes has over 30 years of experience in hospitality design. In 1979, he founded the firm that has since grown into SOSH Architects, and his vision has taken the firm from a solo practice to an award-winning Architectural, Interior Design and Planning firm. With offices in Atlantic City and New York City, SOSH has extensive experience in hospitality and gaming design and has served major hospitality companies worldwide including Caesars/ Harrahs, Trump, MGM, Seneca Nation, Revel Entertainment, Hard Rock, Disney ESPN, Sofitel, Novotel, Storm International, Mohegan Sun, Isle of Capri, Foxwoods, Fantasy Springs and Tropicana, to name a few. Regarded as an expert in the field of hospitality and casino design, Sykes has lectured at many professional associations including Hospitality Design Conference, London Gaming Conference, Princeton University, Cornell School of Hotel Administration and Stockton University; as well as contributed the casino design chapter for John Wiley and Sons, "Building Type Basics for Hospitality Facilities." Sykes received his Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1974 and currently resides in Atlantic City.

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