Theater organist Jelani Eddington revives a bygone art form

Reviewed by Dave Schriber

Jelani Eddington visited Binghamton Oct. 23 to share his skills and the versatility of The Forum’s Robert Morton theater organ. Named the 2001 Theater Organist of the Year by the American Theater Organ Society, Eddington is the youngest person ever to receive that honor.

Eddington was personable as he introduced his own program. He put the Morton through its paces on a variety of popular and classical pieces, revealing a number of the unusual sounds possible in a theater organ (compared with a classical or church pipe organ): xylophone, celeste, rhythm sticks, bells, cymbal crash and vox humana (a stop which is supposed to sound like a human voice, but never does to me). In keeping with the approaching Halloween holiday, he performed a medley of tunes from Phantom of the Opera. Read the rest of this entry »

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Summer film fest opens with patriotic theme

Binghamton’s Summer Film Festival opened July 1 with a full evening of patriotic entertainment at The Forum in Binghamton, including an appearance by “President Thomas Jefferson”; concert briefs by the Carousel Harmony Chorus, Jill and Jake Gardner, and Claudia Kachmarik with the Robert Morton Theatre Organ; and a screening of the film version of the Broadway musical comedy 1776. Thanks to Broome County, the Binghamton City School District, the Downtown Binghamton Business Association, Newman Development Group, Security Mutual, Hinman Howard and Kattell, and others for providing this evening of entertainment. The Summer Film Festival replaces Pops in the Arena/on the Plaza, which was lost with the demise of Southern Tier Celebrates.

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Kachmarik offers Valentine nostalgia on Forum organ

Reviewed by David L. Schriber

I’m glad I read the e-mail from the Binghamton Philharmonic, so I knew which organist would present the Valentine’s Day pre-concert prelude Saturday on The Forum’s Robert Morton Theater organ. I would have been disappointed to miss hearing my fellow chorister and friend Claudia Kachmarik, a member of the Binghamton Theater Organ Society, the organization that maintains the instrument at the downtown Binghamton performing arts center.

Kachmarik always finds it a treat to play this nostalgic symbol of a bygone era. On Saturday, she offered a variety of popular songs with a love theme, mostly by lyricist Johnny Mercer, including “Blues in the Night” (1941) and “Days of Wine and Roses” (1962). Read the rest of this entry »

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