the 1920s, movie and vaudeville palaces like the Embassy were
opening throughout the United States. One thing these theatres
could not do without was the theatre pipe organ, which, along
with orchestras, accompanied the silent films of the day.
in 1928, the Embassy's Grande Page Pipe Organ is one of three
of its size built, and the one of two still in its original
home. Built by the Page Organ Company of Lima, Ohio, the Grande
Page Pipe Organ is loved by organ enthusiasts and novices alike.
Over 1,100 pipes fill the Main Pipe Chamber
and Solo Pipe Chamber in the Embassy Theatre on either side
of the stage, ranging in
size from 16 feet to only 7 inches. Instruments include the
marimba, harp, piano, glockenspiel, xylophone and the "toy
snare and bass drums, cymbals, chinese gong, castanets, tambourines,
tom-toms, triangle, wood block, steamboat and train whistles,
sirens, fire gong, telephone, claxon, sleigh bells and chirping
The complete range of instruments and sound effects helped
organists convey the emotions, characters and story lines of
film to flicker across the screen.
Drapes in front of each organ
grill conceal the baffles that control the "volume" of
the organ from the blower motor located above the left organ
chamber. Chandeliers weighing over 500 pounds
adorn each side of the auditorium in front of the organ grills.
the years, this organ has had many guardian angels. For
many years, Buddy Nolan was its protector and the most
organist to preside at the keydesk. He was first associated
with the Emboyd Theatre in 1947. He left Fort Wayne in
to return in 1960, at which time he helped to recondition
Page. He started a series of midnight concerts, and brought
the theatre organ back to Fort Wayne.
The organ continued
process, despite efforts to prolong its life. With things
looking bleak for the theatre's continued existence,
a group of local
citizens formed the Embassy Theatre Foundation to preserve
for the Page. In 1978, a new Z-tronics relay was added
to replace the original pneumatic relay. 1988 brought a complete
of the console, with a new Trousdale microprocessor capture
action and all new electronic stop actions. A Trivo Bass
added to the specification in 1990, bringing the instrument
to 16 ranks.
In 1994 a Trousdale computer system was added to the
organ that allows artists' performances to be captured and
reproduced through the pipes exactly as the artist intended.
features a key transposer and many other conveniences
for the organist.
All of these improvements did not preclude
the need for new leather in the chests and regulators. Finally
10 rank Main
was completely removed, rebuilt, and reinstalled, and
the 6 rank Solo received the same treatment in 1996. After
loving care by the many professionals and volunteers
that have given hundreds
of hours, the result is a marvelous example of what
is almost an extinct variety of American Theatre Organ building.
the Grande Page Pipe Organ remains the gem of the
Embassy Theatre. The Page is featured in a solo organ
each season, played by the most talented organists
of today. The Page
also delights audiences young and old as it rises
from the organ pit and plays before each movie shown in
Festival of Trees each year.
- American Theatre Organ Society
National Registry of Historically Significant Instruments
designates this as an organ of
exceptional historic and musical merit, worthy
- American Theatre Organ Society National
Registry of Historically Significant Instruments awards
Vintage Award to the Embassy
Theatre Foundation in Fort Wayne, IN for restoration
and modernization of the 4 manual/16 rank Page
July 15, 1997.
- American Theatre Organ Society
inducts Embassy Theatre organist Buddy Nolan into the Hall
of Fame, July
League of Historic American Theatres.