Organ music will ring out again at PCT
event at California Theatre
There are plenty of reasons to attend Pittsburg Community Theatre’s ‘Home for Christmas’ songfest at the California Theatre (351 Railroad Ave.) on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.
You’ll hear familiar and popular holiday music from old favorites to standards to contemporary songs performed by the Good Shepherd Church Choir as well as PCT singers and dancers during the holiday musical revue.
But there’s an even better – and historic – reason to attend the event. For the first time in well over one-half century, live organ music will ring out during the performance.
Due to diligent work by the city of Pittsburg and a score of volunteers, headed by Tom LaFleur, the Robert-Morton organ that was built in 1928 especially for the California Theatre has been discovered, purchased and restored.
While a second restored 60-year-old ‘Red Devil’ theatre organ will be featured at the concert, it will give concert goers a preview of what is to come when the bigger organ, which has been restored, is brought from the Pacific Community Services building next door to the California Theatre to its old home in the California Theatre.
The Robert-Morton organ, which was the third to be used at the California Theatre which opened in 1920, will be installed in the California Theatre after an organ lift under the orchestra to house the console is constructed. The organ is too big to be stored in the California Theatre currently.
LaFleur has been instrumental in working to preserve some of Pittsburg’s older buildings from the first half of the 20th Century that represent the city’s history.
He was an early and strong advocate of restoring the California Theatre, one of seven similar theatres created by architect A.W. Cornelius throughout Northern California from 1917 through the 1920s. Only three are still used as theatres today, including one in Salinas, the Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton and the California Theatre. Cornelius was also the architect for the old Wells Fargo Bank, the Buchanan Building that now houses La Veranda and the beautiful old library on 9th Street and the Marina Primary School on 8th Street which were razed.
When an organization to restore the California Theatre was formed, a member of the Northern California Theatre Organists Society told LaFleur that the California Theatre organ was currently being used in a church in Castro Valley. LaFleur went to the church and heard the organ and realized it was such an important part of the history of the California Theatre that it should come home.
Before coming to Pittsburg, the organ was sold by the church to a winery, which decided the organ was too large for its plans and put it in storage.
In December 2012, the City of Pittsburg purchased the organ, which was stored briefly in an old fire station and later the old Enean Theatre. Many of the fragile pipes and pieces of the organ were stored at Pacific Community Services for climate-control reasons. The sale price of the organ was $15,000.
A group of organ enthusiasts, the Pittsburg Historical Society and dedicated volunteers have worked since then in restoring the organ, raising over $70,000 through donations and grants from the Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund.
“We received at least $100,000 worth or work through donated labor,” said LaFleur.
Dave Moreno, an accomplished theatre organist who will perform at ‘Home for Christmas,’ rebuilt the organ. Julie Porter volunteered to do much of the electronic work, and Freddy Cruz, an electrician, also faithfully worked on the project, which includes a large blower to pump air through the various ranks and pipes, and installation of 11 ranks plus percussion and “toys,” which can create a variety of instrumental sounds, inside the California Theatre.
“If it hadn’t been for the work of the dedicated volunteers, this probably would have been a 10-year project,” said LaFleur.
Tickets for the show are available at the California Theatre box office or online at www.PittsburgCaliforniaTheatre.com. Prices are $10 for children 11 and under, $18 for seniors and $25 for adults.
Pete Escovedo is
coming home for
New Year’s Eve
with a special
a member of the
Arts Hall of
in his career by
Tito Puente. He
Santana. He has
enjoyed a long
career and has
his family band
E and sons,
and Juan. He has
issued 11 albums
of his own work.
He is known for
his mentoring of
and is also an
The concert with
begins at 9 p.m.
are $59 with VIP
are $99. Tickets
are available at
from noon-5 p.m.
Sam Wesley Jr. (Sam-One) nominated again
Blues Artist of
the Year award
Sam Wesley Jr., known professionally as Sam-One, was nominated for the second year in a row as the Northern California Entertainers Music Awards as Male Blues Artist of the Year. The awards will be announced at a May 27, 2017 ceremony at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento.
bad boy of the
nominated in the
this year. He
also served as a
presenter at the
Artist of the
Year are Roharpo,
Holiday events highlight December calendar
Ballet, a group
dancers from the
ballet at the
School St.) on
Dec. 10 at 7
p.m. and Dec. 11
at 2 p.m.
This will be
and, once again,
in addition to
will perform an
$10 and $20 and
can be ordered
revue ‘Home for
Dec. 17 at 2
p.m. at the
also host ‘An
magical show of
singing with a
Ireland on Dec.
20 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $40
for adults, $35
for seniors and
Be Part of the Legacy of
Historic Creative Arts
Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to become a part of Pittsburg’s
history by adopting a seat in the historic
Creative Arts Building on the Pittsburg High
School campus. Take pride in knowing that your
gift will benefit future generations.
The Creative Arts Building’s
history includes performances by legendary
artists including: Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles,
Stevie Wonder, James Brown and the San Francisco
Exciting changes have
taken place in Contra Costa County’s largest
theatre which opened in 1959. A $9 million
renovation project has brought the building up
to state-of-the-art standards allowing for
quality productions. Make a tax-deductible
donation to ensure maintenance of seats and
support for youth mentoring programs in the
It’s so easy!!
Choose one of the options below,
complete the form with your details and return
with cash, check, money order made payable to
the Pittsburg Entertainment & Arts Hall of Fame
or use PayPal ...
JUST CLICK HERE...
You may mail your tax-deductible donation to
PEAHOF, 4476 St. John Lane, Pittsburg, CA 94565.
Adopting a seat is a perfect remembrance for
your children, grandchildren, spouse, parent,
grandparent or special friend or loved one. It
is a perfect way to honor birthdays,
anniversaries, graduations, dedications,
holidays and special events.