Phipps Center for the Performing Arts

109 Locust Street
Hudson, WI 54016

Builder: Rudolph Wurlitzer, Opus 1404 (1926)
Manuals: 2
Ranks: 16
Action: Electro-pneumatic

 The organ at the Phipps Center today is a 19-rank installation with seven tuned percussions. It originated in 1926 as Wurlitzer Opus 1404, a Style 260 Special with 16-ranks, built for the Capitol/Paramount Theatre in Saint Paul, MN. In 1957, the organ was reinstalled in the KSTP Television Studios, also in Saint Paul, and in 1983 moved again to the Phipps Center in Hudson, WI, a gift from Hubbard Broadcasting and the Stanley Hubbard Family.

While in Saint Paul, the organ was enlarged by two ranks (French Horn and Post Horn), but at present only the Post Horn is connected. After the move to its present location, the organ received further alterations, mainly in the form of additional unifications, a new Uniflex relay and combination action system, and the replacement of the original Dulciana with a Salicional Celeste. The Concert Flute, Tibia, and diaphonic portion of the Diapason are of wood; the Trumpet and Saxophone are of brass; and the remaining ranks are of varying flavors of pipe metal.

The Glockenspiel and Xylophone, originally reiterating, now play on single-stroke actions. Both the Great and Accompaniment manuals have second-touch.

The Traps are available in the Accompaniment (first and second touch) and also in the Pedal. The effects, such as Bird Whistle, Doorbell, and Auto Horn, are controlledby thumb pistons or toe studs placed at several strategic locations.

The present 3-manual console, a one-of-a-kind art deco model, was built in 1930 for Wurlitzer Opus 2131 at the Oriental Theatre in Boston. It was donated to the Phipps Center in 2008 by Terry Hochmuth in memory of Dan Stanke. The console came equipped for the organ’s new computer-based relay control system.

Also in 2008, the Center acquired a 7-foot Wurlitzer grand piano which replaced a Chickering grand that had been substituted for the organ’s original upright pressure piano. In addition to being playable through the organ console, this piano has been equipped with a digital MIDI-controlled record/playback system.

All the primary valves in the manual chests have been replaced, as have all magnet cap gaskets and magnet armatures for the entire organ. The Saxophone rank was moved closer to the swell-shade openings in the Solo chamber, allowing it a more prominent voice. The 16-foot Pedal Tibia pipes were moved from the Solo chamber to an exposed position in the balcony, again for better tonal presence. The Marimba Harp and Toy Counter (traps) now occupy a newly-created platform above the stage.

Future plans include installation of a rebuilt 4-rank Wurlitzer chest, to be placed where the Pedal Tibia pipes formerly stood in the Solo chamber. This will hold several additional ranks…an 8-foot Gamba and Celeste, a second Vox Humana, and a Krumet.

The instrument has been maintained for the past 20 years by Terry Klevin and Bob Swaney of Century Pipe Organs.
--Information from the Organ Historical Society, Terry Klevin, Michael Barone
Last Update: 3/2017

* = entirely digital/synthetic voice
** = these pipe ranks include 12-note MIDI-controlled synthetic 16’ pedal extensions

Main Chamber (left)
16’ Diaphonic Diapason (85 pipes)
8’ Clarinet (73)**
8’ Viole d’Orchestre (85)
8’ Viole Celeste (73)
8’ Salicional (85)**
8’ Salicional Celeste (85)**
8’ Spitz Flute (73)*
8’ Spitz Flute Celeste (73)*
16’ Concert Flute (109)**
8’ Vox Humana (61)
Marimba/Harp (49)
Chrysoglott (49)

Piano (85)

Solo Chamber (right)
8’ Post Horn (61)
8’ Brass Trumpet (61)
16’ Harmonic Tuba (85)
16’ Tibia Clausa (97)
8’ Orchestral Oboe (61)
8’ Kinura (61)
8’ Saxophone (61)
8’ Oboe Horn (73)**
8’ Quintadena (61)
Xylophone (37)
Glockenspiel (37)
Chimes (25)
Sleigh Bells (25)

Traps and Effects
Bass Drum (pedal only)
Crash Cymbal (pedal only)
Tap Cymbal
Snare Drum
Chinese Block
Bell (button)
Bird (button)
Auto Horn (button)
Train Whistle
Fire Gong