Playing Rylander's "Old Lady" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Playing Rylander's "Old Lady"

^ Fred Boska ^ Fred Boska
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February 25, 2003

"There are aficionados of race cars, old theaters, old homes and people collect cut glass--we collect pipe organs!" Dr. Fred Boska is the House Organist at the Rylander Theater.

His passion for playing the "Old Lady"-- Rylander's historic theater organ--makes the drive from Americus to his home in Tallahassee worth it, "There is no theater organ in Tallahassee. It was the opportunity to have a key to theater and a real live old girl--one of the fine ones."

It is indeed one of the finest--a Molar organ that is likely the sister instrument to the "Mighty Mo" in Atlanta, "The big organ, "Mighty Mo", in the Fox theater in Atlanta is a Molar three times this size--its manufacture number is only eight numbers difference from this one--so the Molar at the Fox was on the manufacturing floor at the same time this was built."

Playing the "old lady" is not for the weak--it's a full body effort to tackle all the keys. And, never, ever, confuse the theater organ with the instruments played in church, "It's a hot jazzy little number, the old girl is just a lady of the evening--she doesn't do church work very well."

No, this instrument prefers the brassier side of organ music--and that suits Fred Boska just fine. Theater organs were originally built for Vaudeville but eventually were used for the back-drop music at silent movies. Fred Boska will revive that tradition March 8th at the Rylander, when he'll play for the silent picture "Golden Eaglet." There are two shows that day--at 1:00 and 3:00.

Posted at 6:00 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com