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July 2, 2015

July 2, 2015

For more information,
Contact: Amanda Shell Jennings
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 255-0661

Tennessee Theatre house organist Bill Snyder sits at the Mighty Wurlitzer organ before a free Mighty Musical Monday organ concert at the historic venue.

Tennessee Theatre house organist Bill Snyder sits at the Mighty Wurlitzer organ before a free Mighty Musical Monday organ concert at the historic venue.

The Arts Fund for East Tennessee has awarded the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation a $10,000 grant to support Mighty Musical Monday, a free monthly organ concert on the Mighty Wurlitzer. The East Tennessee Foundation grant will fund the continuation of the event through 2017.

“The Tennessee Theatre has a storied history of bringing fantastic artists and programs to East Tennessee and continues to raise the bar on excellent entertainment,” said Jan Elston, director of competitive grant programs for the East Tennessee Foundation, which established the Arts Fund. “The East Tennessee Foundation is delighted to help the theater continue to present concerts on the Mighty Wurlitzer free of charge to the community.”

The East Tennessee Foundation will be recognized from the stage at the next Mighty Musical Monday, featuring the O’Connor Senior Singers, on July 6 at noon. Becky Hancock, executive director of the Tennessee Theatre, will thank them for their support in her opening remarks.

“Mighty Musical Monday is all about opening the theater to the community,” Hancock said. “We are very grateful to the East Tennessee Foundation for supporting this event that preserves the memory of a bygone era and provides the opportunity for new generations to experience this important piece of Knoxville history.”

The East Tennessee Foundation distributes more than $9 million in grants to hundreds of nonprofit organizations in its 25-county service area each year.

The Tennessee Theatre’s Mighty Musical Monday was created by house organist and theater historian Bill Snyder and Hancock, then the theater’s general manager, in December 2001 immediately after the Mighty Wurlitzer was restored. The intent was to open the theater for free to the community once a month and keep the organ in working order through regular use.

“Hearing a Mighty Wurlitzer organ in its original 1920s era movie palace is a special experience,” Snyder said. “Only a few dozen of these theater organs exist in the country, and even fewer in their original locations. At Mighty Musical Mondays, our guests are transported back to exactly as they would have experienced it in 1928.”

Since that first concert in December 2001, people have flocked to the Tennessee Theatre on the first Monday of each month to enjoy hearing Snyder or other house organist Freddie Babson.  Mighty Musical Monday also features entertainers from the community, including vocalists, jazz groups, high school or college choirs and even visiting professional artists.

About the Tennessee Theatre

Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee Theatre opened in 1928 as a movie palace. The Tennessee Theatre is the Official State Theatre of Tennessee and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Tennessee Theatre is the region’s leading performing arts facility with advanced technology, staging and lighting that draws top entertainment to the Knoxville area. The Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation is a nonprofit organization tasked with maintaining and preserving the historic theater and ensuring diverse arts and cultural entertainment remains in downtown Knoxville.