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King City Rockers revisit wonderful Wurlitzer Manor

Lunch, private concert is so worth the trip


by: BARBARA SHERMAN - ENJOYING THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS - Some of the members of the King City Rockers Red Hat Club sit in the music room of Wurlitzer Manor and listen to show tunes previously recorded on the organTen members of the King City Rockers Red Hat Club, led by Queen Al Tabor, made a return trip to Gig Harbor, Wash., on Nov. 8, to revisit Wurlitzer Manor, a gorgeous home on Puget Sound built around a 1928 Wurlitzer organ.

The home, which is now for sale, is owned by Raymond Lavine and Barbara Hammerman, and their daughter Amanda Gresham recently moved in to help them prepare for the future move.

This was the fourth trip to the manor for some of the club members, thanks to one of their own - Sue Cam - being a longtime friend of the Washington couple who visits them frequently.

Amtrak provides a convenient connection between Portland and Tacoma, with the manor located only a 15-minute drive from the train station.

The ladies had several hours to enjoy a catered lunch, wander around the huge music room and decks overlooking Puget Sound, and listen to a variety of music previously recorded on the organ, which is completely computerized so all the parts move as if someone is playing it.

The four-manual, 48-rank theater pipe organ sounds as good as it did on day one, after it was originally built to accompany silent movies in a Brooklyn, N.Y., movie theater. It survived decades in storage after the "talkies" came into vogue and then a stint in the Cardinal Music Palace restaurant in Fort Wayne, Ind., until Richard Wilcox had the manor house designed and built around the organ in the 1980s.