History

The Los Angeles Theatre Organ Society’s “roots” go back to the American Theatre Organ Society (first named the American Association of Theatre Organ Enthusiasts, ATOE) which was formed on February 8, 1955 at the home of Richard Simonton in Toluca Lake, a suburb of Los Angeles, California.

On November 26, 1956 an organizational meeting of Los Angeles Area ATOE members (the first local chapter) was held in the Lorin Whitney Studio in Glendale, California.  The featured artist was George Wright who played the 4 manual/24 rank Robert Morton theatre pipe organ. Many attended this historic event, including organists Gordon Kibbee, Ramona Gerhard, Jesse Crawford and Eddie Dunstedter (to name a few).  This very first “iteration” of a local Los Angeles Chapter of the ATOS (ATOE at the time) was formed on that day.  In subsequent years, the local chapter separated from, and reconnected with the national organization (now ATOS), and went through a few name and organizational changes itself. Finally, the Los Angeles Theatre Organ Society (as it is known today) was formed on August 28, 1961.

Over fifty years later, the Los Angeles Theatre Organ Society (LATOS) owns three theatre pipe organs that are installed in Los Angeles venues and regularly played by featured artists LATOS members.  It also has access to many other instruments for its events in the southern California area.  In addition to its Mission Statement, its key focus today is membership growth, expansion of member activities, promoting the theatre pipe organ to local youth, and encouraging active involvement in the organization.