From the moment he sat down at the console, organist Ron Rhode had the rapt attention of the sell-out crowd in Music Hall's Ballroom!

The date: Saturday, November 28, 2009

The occasion: The Dedication Concert of the Albee Mighty Wurlitzer Organ in its new home in Music Hall

Organist Ron Rhode

While a classically-trained organist, his repertoire of old favorites from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s—with a few ''newer'' selections, including an Elvis Presley hit and a number from the Broadway hit Wicked—showed off the organ's range and depth.

Other crowd favorites included the Latin beat of ''See You in C-U-B-A,'' ''Mystics of the Noble Shrine,'' the playful tune ''The Jack in the Box,'' and ''Caprice Viennois,'' Fritz Kriesler's old WLW ''Moon River'' theme.

"It was an honor to be here," he said, adding that this concert was one of the highlights of his 36-year career.

A Great Celebration

Steve Loftin, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Arts Association which manages Music Hall, read a proclamation from Mayor Mark Mallory declaring November 28 as ''Mighty Wurlitzer Organ Day'' in Cincinnati.

Not only were all the original concert tickets sold, but the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall decided to add another 100 seats to the ballroom—tickets which were sold within a day! Despite the sunny weather and other holiday attractions, every seat was filled, and some people were standing.

Song List for the Dedication

  • Santa Claus Rides Again
  • Nobles of the Mystics Shrine (Sousa)
  • I'm Confessin'
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight
  • When My Cutie's Due at Two-to-Two
  • Medley:
    • Deep Purple
    • Lilacs in the Rain
  • Vera Lynn Medley:
    • We'll Meet Again
    • White Cliffs of Dover
    • Cinderella, Stay in My Arms
    • Be Like the Kettle and Sing

  • You Don't Know Me
  • See You in C-U-B-A
  • Young At Heart
  • Fanfare - Lemmens
  • Pietro's Return
  • Cosi Cosa
  • I Don't Know Why
  • Hello, Baby
  • Caprice Viennois
  • The Jack in the Box
  • For Good (from "Wicked")
  • Silver Sleigh Bells (E.T. Paull)
  • March and Procession of Bacchus from the ballet "Sylvia"
  • Encore: Whispering

Organist Ron Rhode

Organist Ron Rhode

A sell-out crowd in Music Hall's Ballroom

A sell-out crowd in Music Hall's Ballroom

Organist Ron Rhode, SPMH President Norma Petersen, and Ron Wehmeier, expert who restored the Wurlitzer

Organist Ron Rhode, SPMH President Norma Petersen, and Ron Wehmeier, expert who restored the Wurlitzer