September 24 brought the opening of DTOS’s 47th season, with an outstanding performance by Dave Wickerham on the Mighty Kimball. The concert started with a bright and brilliant version of Get Happy, as Dave at the main console ascended from below stage level. Dave, a DTOS favorite, told the audience that he was thrilled to be back to DTOS and how impressed he was with the master console’s “inner brains” (combination action), which had been completely replaced.
Dave then switched to one of his favorite styles of music, playing Joplin’s 1904 Chrysanthemum Rag, in honor of the fall season and featuring the percussion section of the organ, including the grand piano, which was on the right side of the stage.
Dave highlighted the full variety of the Mighty Kimball in his Rodgers and Hammerstein Medley, which included the Theme Song from the Sound of Music, My Favorite Things, Edelweiss, Something Good, Do-Re-Mi, Maria, and Climb Ev’ry Mountain from “The Sound of Music” and Some Enchanted Evening from “South Pacific.” Afterwards, Dave told the audience that there’s no other organ like this one and spoke about how much he loved the Dickinson Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ.
Blue Moon, Unchained Melody, Can’t Help Falling in Love, and Rock Around the Clock were his next selections, once again demonstrating the great diversity within the pipe chambers. His fingers and hands moved continuously – not just on the keys, but also on the stop tabs as he engaged the full ensemble of the organ.
Dave changed to a spiritual mode as he performed Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling and Great is Thy Faithfulness. We could hear the audience humming along.
We learned a little known fact about the Mighty Kimball – that it has a “Disney Channel” on it. Dave broke into a wonderfully entertaining trip down memory lane with his Disney medley featuring Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo (Cinderella), When You Wish Upon a Star (Pinocchio), Arabian Night and Prince Ali (Aladdin), Feed the Birds (Mary Poppins), and Spoon Full of Sugar (Mary Poppins). He closed out with some audience participation in the performance of the M-I-C-(See you real soon) K-E-Y (Why? Because we like you) M-O-U-S-E Song.
He ended the first set with the Bells of St. Mary’s, featuring the bells within the organ, and ending with the Westminster Chimes.
After Intermission, Dave opened with There’s No Business Like Show Business by request, followed by a rendition of Henry Lodge’s 1909 Temptation Rag.
Dave then treated us to a fabulous John Williams fantasy featuring many movie greats, such as the Indiana Jones Theme Song, and the themes from ET, Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, and Star Wars, ending with the Olympic Fanfare and Theme. Dave commented that he has three favorite instruments on the globe – and the DTOS’s Kimball is one of them!
He then transitioned to a very energetic version of The Girl from Ipanema.
During intermission, audience members were able to request some of their favorites. The list of requests exceeded 4 pages! Amazingly, Dave was able to play a medley that included nearly all of those requests, including pieces like Mendelsohn’s Wedding March, Take Five, Bye Bye Blackbird, Entrance of the Gladiators (Circus Theme), In the Garden (Hymn), Somewhere My Love, The Happy Wanderer, Johnny Cash’s Ghost Riders in the Sky, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Phantom of the Opera (with Toccata and Fugue in D Minor mixed in), Sinatra’s New York New York, Chopsticks, How Great Thou Art, and God Bless America.
The concert ended with a standing ovation, to which a teary-eyed Wickerham graciously offered an Americana-themed encore, featuring the bagpipes introducing Yankee Doodle Dandy, and a bright and exuberant Stars and Stripes Forever, with the audience clapping along. Dave’s performance throughout the evening fully entertained and engaged the audience. It was a great start to the 47th season, with a fantastic performance by a great musician and performer on a magnificent instrument.
David A. Ruth, Ph.D., of West Chester, PA is a former church organist, an avid organ fan, and a member of the Dickenson Theatre Organ Society and Friends of the Wanamaker Organ. firstname.lastname@example.org