Alabama Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society

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The American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS) is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the organs of the grand movie palaces and the music played on them. The Alabama Chapter of ATOS was founded in February 1973. The chapter makes its home at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham, where it has maintained the building's Wurlitzer organ since its founding. As the name says, it is the only ATOS chapter in the state.

Members of what was then the Southeastern Chapter, based in Atlanta, first began repairs on the Alabama's Wurlitzer in the mid 1960s. The chapter later turned maintenance of the organ over to Jay Mitchell, an organ instructor at Forbes Piano Company, who brought together a crew of students and family to work on the organ. This organ crew would go on to found the Alabama Chapter.

In 1986 Alabama Theatre owner Costa and Head filed for bankruptcy. The Alabama Chapter, concerned about the future of the organ and the Alabama, began a fund-raising campaign to buy the Alabama. The group was successful and assumed the mortgage on the Alabama in 1987. It was later decided to form a special corporation to maintain the Alabama, so Birmingham Landmarks was founded, largely made up of ATOS members, and assumed the mortgage.

Today, the Alabama Chapter continues to work closely with Birmingham Landmarks to maintain the Alabama Theatre's Wurlitzer.


  • Whitmire, Cecil and Jeannie Hanks. (2002). The Alabama Theatre: Showplace of the South. Birmingham Landmarks. ISBN 0310975124.
  • Ron Rhode concert flyer. (June 30, 1991). Alabama Chapter of ATOS.

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