ESTMIM Annual Christmas Concert featuring Luke Staisiunas

Back for our annual Christmas Concert, the Empire State Theatre & Musical Instrument Museum is pleased to announce Luke Staisiunas is coming to Central New York for his debut performance at the Syracuse Wurlitzer. The doors open at 2:30pm and concert starts at 3:00. Admission: $15/adult and Children 16/under $5.00. Tickets are general admission and please bring cash. (credit cards are not accepted). There will be free refreshments and free tours of the pipe organ chambers will follow the program.

Luke Staisiunas earned his Master’s Degree in Organ Performance from the University of Oklahoma under Dr. Adam Pajan and Dr. Damin Spritzer. He also earned his Bachelor’s there under Dr. John Schwandt and Dr. Pajan. During his time in Oklahoma, he performed with the Symphony Band, OU Chorale, OU Percussion Ensemble, as well as playing continuo for the Vitam Musica Foundation’s orchestra. He is active as a transcriber of orchestral works for organ, as well as compiling scores for silent film accompaniment. His undergraduate training also included coursework in Pipe Organ Technology, Harpsichord, and Improvisation.

Mr. Staisiunas currently serves as Organist-Director at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Roxborough, in Philadelphia. He is on the roster of Assistant Organists on the famed Wanamaker Organ in Macy’s Center City, and is regularly featured on the Midmer-Losh organ in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall–the largest instrument in the world. He is actively involved with the American Theatre Organ Society, serving as a Director on the Board and Secretary. At the local level, he is involved with the Garden State Theatre Organ Society as a performer, technician, and technical advisor.

The Empire State Theatre and Musical Instrument Museum (ESTMIM) was established in 1966, chartered by the New York State Board of Regents as a non-profit educational organization. It was started by a group determined to rescue the 1925 Wurlitzer theatre organ from the closed RKO Keith’s Theatre in downtown Syracuse before the building was demolished. The theatre organ was placed in the Empire Theatre of the Art & Home Center building on the New York State Fairgrounds. This Wurlitzer theatre organ still operates the same way as when it was built in 1925 by the Wurlitzer Company of North Tonawanda, NY. In other words, it has not been modified with modern-day electronic or digital technology. It is the only known theatre pipe organ located on a fairgrounds in the nation. In 2018 it was recognized by the Organ Historical Society as a theatre organ of distinct historical importance, worthy of preservation. The organ received a similar recognition by the American Theatre Organ Society in 2016. Maintaining this wonderful 1925 theatre organ requires constant attention, consisting of weekly humidification and frequent tuning and attention to the mechanical and electrical systems.

Since its beginnings in 1966, ESTMIM has acquired various kinds of musical instruments, including phonographs, and reed organs as well as theatre artifacts, especially those from the former RKO Keith’s Theatre in downtown Syracuse. The Museum also has a 1913 Kohler & Campbell player piano that visitors to the New York State Fair get to play. The museum, located on the 3rd floor of the Art & Home Center is open regularly each day of the annual state fair and at other times by special arrangement.

ESTMIM provides 6 public programs each year featuring professional theatre organists playing the 1925 Wurlitzer theatre organ in the Empire Theatre. Some of these public programs include live theatre organ accompaniment to a silent movie. The theatre organ is also played by guest musicians several times during the annual state fair. Membership and/or donations are most welcomed. ESTMIM is a 501c(3) tax-exempt organization.

More information is available by visiting our Facebook page at facebook.com/SyracuseWurlitzer