Review: 2016-1 Tedde Gibson & Don Kinnier

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! The free event on May 21 was entitled “The Lemonade Concert” for that very reason! The 2016 concert season had to be cancelled due to renovations of the auditorium at John Dickinson High School. Suddenly the renovations were completed well ahead of schedule, so the DTOS planned a free concert to celebrate the re- opening of the auditorium, featuring Tedde Gibson and Don Kinnier on The Mighty Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ. The concert also featured a special presentation of the 1921 silent film “The Goat” starring Buster Keaton, with live organ accompaniment. It was a wonderful opportunity for current DTOS members to bring their friends – and after having such a great time at the concert, they, too, will want to become DTOS members!

Due to some work still being completed on the main console, the original console from the Boyd Theater was used this night – the 279th concert at DTOS. The Boyd Console allows for about two-thirds of the capacity of the Mighty Kimball.

Tedde Gibson, in his debut appearance at DTOS, opened the show with Danish composer Jacob Gade’s Jalousie. Tedde proclaimed that he was “spoiled with the resources of this instrument.” He then played Mama Mia (Abba), featuring the piano in center stage.

Tedde said “There’s not much you can’t do with this instrument!” as he then performed Let It Go from the Disney animated film “Frozen.”

He dedicated his next selection, Bring Them Home from “Les Misérables,” as a tribute to those who served in the military.

Being a church organist at the Capitol Hill 7th Day Adventist Church (DC), the First Baptist Church of Highland Park (Landover, MD), and Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Roman Catholic Church (DC), Tedde’s quipped that his next selection was one of the “great hymns” – 1929 Fats Waller, Harry Brooks (music) and Andy Razaf (lyrics) Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Tedde’s “Somewhere Medley” included Somewhere from West Side Story and the title track from the 1980 film “Somewhere in Time, highlighting the orchestral stops of the organ. He then went off his original set list to play a beautiful medley from “Phantom of the Opera” dedicated to a lady from Lancaster, PA: The Phantom of the Opera and The Music of the Night.

Tedde is uniquely trained to play theatre pipe organ, jazz, and gospel organ and piano. He integrated all of these throughout his performance. His final selection demonstrated his classical pipe organ training as he performed Louis Vierne’s Carillon de Westminster.

After the concert, I asked Tedde for his thoughts after his first performance on the Mighty Kimball. “There’s nothing that sounds like it, with the most refined tones and sounds of a magnificent theatre organ.”

After Intermission, the audience was treated to a musical tour of the year 1921 with Don Kinnier at the console. Don started with a musical mix of When Big Profundo Sang Low C (George Botsford) and the original US Army Song, The Caisson Song. He then played a medley of 4 pieces from the musical Shuffle Along, which debuted on Broadway in 1921 and just re- opened in April: the title track (Shuffle Along), Love Will Find a Way, I’m Just Wild About Harry, and Baltimore Buzz.

Robledo’s waltz Three O’Clock in the Morning featured the Westminster Chimes, although a very different version from what Tedde played earlier in the evening.

Using the Mighty Kimball’s ability to create an authentic train whistle, we were “All Aboard” as Don took the audience on a trip to the west coast with Al Jolson’s California, Here I Come.

All of this leads us up to the 1921 silent film “The Goat” starring Buster Keaton. The room was filled with laughter and enjoyment as Don demonstrated his

true forte accompanying this comedic film using the ooga horn and numerous other sounds and voices of the Mighty Kimball. It was truly amazing to watch Don “watch” the film from the console and provide accompaniment. He is truly gifted!

Don ended the evening with German composer Léon Jessel’s 1921 Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.

After the concert, Don told me that he incorporated the traditional theatre organ sound in his pieces and used registrations that would fully portray the magnificence of the Mighty Kimball organ.

This was a wonderful evening with two wonderfully talented artists, unique in their own style.

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.