Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

Walker Technical (202_)


Castro Theater
429 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA 94114 US
Organ ID: 67462

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Theatres, Cinemas, Movie Houses
  • The organ has been removed from this location and currently in storage.
  • The organ's condition is not playable.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Ian Scheil on February 04, 2021.

Technical Details:

  • Chests: EP unit, Information unknown or not applicable
  • 1,200 pipes. 7 manuals. 400 registers.
  • Chest Type(s): EP unit chests
  • Position: In side chambers at the front of the room. No visible pipes.
  • Built by Walker Technical
We received the most recent update for this division from Ian Scheil on January 28, 2021.

Hybrid Digital:
  • Position: Fully digital division, speakers not visible.
  • Built by Walker Technical
We received the most recent update for this division from Ian Scheil on January 28, 2021.
  • Built by Roger A. Colby, Inc.
  • Manuals: 7
  • Registers: 400
  • Position: Console on lift.
  • Manual Compass: 61
  • Pedal Compass: 32
  • Key Action: Electrical connection from key to chest.
  • Stop Action: Electric connection between stop control and chest.
  • Console Style: Horseshoe style console.
  • Stop Controls: Tilting/rocking tablets on angled jambs.
  • Combination Action: Computerized/Digital system.
  • Swell Control Type: Balanced swell shoes/pedals, AGO standard placement.
  • Pedalboard Type: Concave radiating pedalboard meeting AGO Standards.
  • Has Crescendo Pedal
  • Has Tutti Reversible Thumb Pistons
  • Has Tutti Reversible Toe Pistons
  • Has Combination Action Thumb Pistons
  • Has Combination Action Toe Pistons
  • Has a Piston Sequencer
We received the most recent update for this console from Ian Scheil on January 28, 2021.
Jim Stettner on January 29, 2021:

Walker Technical completed the digital voiced which will be installed nd made playable prior to the installation of the pipework. The console is by R.A. Colby.

We received the most recent update for this note from Jim Stettner on January 29, 2021.

Ian Scheil on January 28, 2021:

The Castro Symphonic Theater Organ is set to be the world's largest hybrid organ featuring pipe ranks and digital ranks for a total of 400 stops. These stops will be played over 7 manuals. The console has already been fully built by R.A. Colby and is now at the Walker Technical shops. It has successfully received its electronic internals and is now awaiting delivery arrangements to the theater.
Due to COVID-19, the full already begun installation has been met with a variety of hang-ups including some financial fundraising hang-ups. To solve this, the organization responsible for the creation of such a mammoth instrument unlike any other in the world has divided the installation into separate phases. Phase 1 will see the organ console and digital systems brought from Walker in Pennsylvania to San Francisco for the remaining portions of the installation process. From there Phase 2 will include the installation of the physical pipe ranks. This split approach will allow the Castro Theater to continue to host pre-screening organ performances utilizing the full digital ranks while the physical ones are completed and installed.

Famed Organ builder and pioneer of hybrid organ technology Allan Harrah was a driving force in the creation of this instrument. He volunteered his expertise and time at no charge to make the Castro instrument possible. Unfortunately Allan passed away on June 1, 2020. However, the instrument will carry a legacy beyond his years.

Resources: Castro Organ Devotees Association- CODA

We received the most recent update for this note from Ian Scheil on January 28, 2021.

Instrument Images:

Organ console by R.A, Colby courtesy CODA: Photograph by Castro Theater Organ Devotees Association (CODA), submitted by Ian Scheil. Taken approx. 2017

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