Wurlitzer Opus 501 was sold to the late Ernest Boda, an accomplished keyboardist and theatre organ enthusiast. Mr. Boda played piano in local Big Bands during his late teens and early twenties, and also worked as an arranger for off-Broadway shows in the late 1940’s. With the help of many dedicated friends and Connecticut Valley Theatre Organ Society (CVTOS) members, the organ was moved to the Boda residence in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1975, and installation commenced in 1976. The Lafayette WurliTzer awoke from a long rest in the Boda’s music studio early in 1978, but it would be two more years and countless hours of labor before the organ would be fully operational. Finally, in June 1980, the organ was officially rededicated at a CVTOS chapter meeting, with the great Ashley Miller of Radio City Music Hall fame at the console, and over 120 chapter members and friends present. Over the years the WurliTzer was played by Everett Basset, John Cook, Searle Wright, and many other organists. In 1988 the organ was featured on a Rosa Rio special televised on PBS. Sadly, Mr. Boda passed away of natural causes in 1995. In his memory, his wife Beth worked to continue preserving the organ, with the much-appreciated help of CVTOS chapter members John Angevine and the late Norman Turner. (This information was taken from 98, Vol. 2 of “The Diaphone,” the Official Journal of Connecticut Valley Chapter ATOS.)
The late Ernie Boda and Opus 501
You are listening to Ashley Miller playing Opus 501 at the Ernie and Beth Boda residence
during the dedication of the organ on June 14, 1980.