pasadena college

Pasadena City College

1570 East Colorado Blvd
Pasadena 91106

The J. Ross Reed Wurlitzer is a composite of select parts from other organs, and was originally assembled by organ builder Ken Crome, for his own use.  Instead, in 1979, he sold it to a Lansing, Michigan pizza parlor, where it played for three years, until the establishment closed.

With financial gifts from Marian Cook, Avery Johnson and Robert Power, LATOS purchased the organ in 1984.  It was brought back to Los Angeles and stored in a La Mirada warehouse owned by J. Ross Reed.  Subsequently Ross agreed to have LATOS install the organ in the warehouse where it would be available for LATOS concerts and practice by organ students.

LATOS began installation of the organ in 1985 but, partially due to lack of funds, work was progressing slowly.  In his enthusiasm to have it playing as soon as possible, Ross offered to buy the organ and finish the installation himself.

The inaugural warehouse concert was performed December 15, 1985.  Unfortunately, Ross was able to play the Wurlitzer only a few times before suffering a fatal heart attack.  After his death, in memory of Ross, the Reed family gave the organ back to LATOS, with the request that it be installed in Sexson Auditorium at Pasadena City College.

Under direction of organist Lyn Larsen, some changes were made to transform the organ from a ‘pizza parlor’ organ to a more polished concert instrument. Lack of space required substitution of a modern electronic relay system in place of the original mechanical relay.  The organ was refurbished by Ken Crome, with the assistance of several LATOS volunteers, and was installed in Sexson Auditorium in October of 1989.

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