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Debut of Trinity English Theatre Organ

The following statement was issued Friday by Trinity English Lutheran Church:

The Wurlitzer-composite Theatre Organ is now completely installed in Wagenhals Hall at Trinity English and ready to play! It came from the home of Dr. John and Betty Polsley, Urbana, Ohio. Following the deaths of Dr. Polsley and Mrs. Polsley, their son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Steve and Mrs. Barbara Polsley donated the instrument to the church. The instrument has 3 manuals (keyboards), 12 ranks (sets) of pipes, and fun bells, drums, and whistles.

The guiding force behind the inclusion of a theatre organ at Trinity English is Trinity English member, Bob Nickerson, who also played a significant role in the restoration of the Embassy Theatre’s Grand Page organ. Bob’s leadership has included oversight of mechanical details and the solicitation of private funding and volunteer help (including members of the Trinity English Property Committee) – making this a reality without cost to Trinity English. Scott Smith Pipe Organs of Lansing, Michigan, was engaged to move and reinstall the organ at the church.

The installation was delayed and challenged due to a major leak caused by a broken pipe in the hot water line, drenching much of the pipes and parts in Trinity English’s basement, where they were being stored. Some of the instrument was lost, including some of the pipes. Yet, in time, replacement pipes and parts were identified and incorporated. Among the “newer” additions is a set of pipes that were installed originally at Olympia Stadium in Detroit in or around 1934.

We look forward to having many entertaining opportunities with this new addition to Trinity English, beginning with the “inaugural” concert on June 7th, at 7:00 p.m., at 405 West Wayne Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana. The event is free and open to the public.

We are excited to announce that Fort Wayne native and internationally renowned concert theatre organist, Mark Herman, will be presenting the first program of our theatre organ. Born in 1987, Mark Herman is one of America’s busiest young theatre organists, performing over 30 concerts and silent film presentations each year across the US and abroad. In July of 2012, he was named the American Theatre Organ Society’s Organist of the Year and is the youngest person ever to receive the prestigious honor.

He studied theatre organ with John Ferguson of Indianapolis, who is recognized worldwide for his skills as a teacher. His classical piano studies were with Christine Freeman of Fort Wayne, Indiana. After graduating with a degree in Theatre Arts/Management from DePaul University in Chicago. Mark currently resides in Los Angeles, where he is President and Tonal Director of the Los Angeles Organ Company, the Allen Organ dealer for the Greater Los Angeles Area. He is in demand as a voicing specialist and tonal consultant for Allen Organs and is proud to be an Allen Artist, showcasing new Allen Organs in the US and beyond. For more information, visit and

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