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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Theatre Organ In H-Fi - Leonard MacClain

Theatre Organ In Hi-Fi
Leonard MacClain
Epic LN 3273

From the back cover: Leonard MacClain, it is safe to say, is the best known organist in the Philadelphia area. For many years he has been heard on the air and in person playing the most notable theatre, concert, and church organs. Leonard first heard an organ when he was six years old, was captivated by the instrument and started studying organ when he was ten. His first theatre job was at the tender age of twelve, and he has been at it ever since. For nine years he played at the Commordore Theatre, adjacent to the University of Pennsylvania campus. He played the State Theatre, broadcast for seven years from the Uptown, and an even longer run of broadcasting over WIP (from the State) found him opening and closing that station morning and evening with organ recitals. At one time his program had the highest rating of any Philadelphia program, for he did a musical quiz that paid anyone who could submit a tune which would stump him. Very few persons got paid, because he had long since earned the name of "Melody Mac" for his repertoire of thousands of numbers which he could call forth in an instant.

Playing the theatre organ has not been MacClain's only musical experience. He had prepared his organist' career solidly, studying with several of the best teachers in Philadelphia, including Matthews and McCurdy. MacClain has been conductor of choral societies, church organist in some prominent churches such as the Chambers-Wylie Church, done some composing, and has played many fine programs on the great organ in the Wanamaker store, where, since 1944, he has been featured regularly in broadcasts and recitals.

Electronic organs have not escaped Leonard's attention. Indeed, it was Leonard MacClain who played the first electronic organ, in a nationwide broadcast. On April 6, 1935, the newly invented "Photona", built by Ivan Eremeef on the photoelectric cell principle, was first broadcast from station WCAU over the CBS network by the staff organist of that station, Leonard MacClain. Today, he is quite a specialist on the most popular of electronics, and has played many engagements on the electronic instrument, where no pipe organ is available. His current radio broadcasts daily are from a studio electronic, where he appears on the popular "Rise and Shine" program. In addition to being heard on the air continuously since 1923, Leonard MacClain has played more shows, dinners, conventions, and special programs in the halls, hotels and Convention Hall of Philadelphia than any other organist. His popularity is based squarely on his ability to play music people love – and he loves to play anything they want to hear. – Enos E. Shupp, Jr.

From Billboard - September 8, 1956: Label's "Hit Of The Month" LP is aimed at hi-fi fans. Using a theatre organ, MacClain plays a surefire collection of all-time favorites including "Tenderly," "My Romance," Serenade" (Student Prince), "Warsaw Concerto," "Charmain," "Intermezzo" and "Laura." Special dealer bonus deal makes this a good one to push.

Knightsbridge March
My Romance
Moonlight In Vermont
Warsaw Concerto
Moonlight On The Ganges
Beyond The Sea
When The Organ Played At Twilight

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