'Discovering the Unit Orchestra' performance with Valliant on tap

Brett Valliant will be the featured artist for the Oct. 26 Kilgen Organ performance entitled “Discovering the Unit Orchestra!”

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma History Center has announced internationally renowned organist Brett Valliant as the featured artist for its October Kilgen Organ performance titled “Discovering the Unit Orchestra!”

The performance is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 26, 7-8:30 p.m., and will take place in the Devon Great Hall of the OHC, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and seating is first come, first served.

Tickets are $10 for Oklahoma Historical Society members, and $20 for nonmembers, and may be reserved by calling 405-522-0765. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the OHC will limit ticket sales to 100 seats and will require that each attendee wear a mask.

The title of the performance, “Discovering the Unit Orchestra!,” refers to what theater organs were called when they were first introduced to the public in the early 20th century. By replacing theater orchestras with theater organs as the accompaniment for silent movies and plays, all of the orchestra was included in one “unit.”

Whether at an organ in a concert hall, a majestic church organ or in a theater, Valliant is right at home. Valliant was inspired by the organ at church when he was just 3 years old. At age 4, he began piano instruction, and soon after was studying organ, as well. By the age of 12, Valliant was employed as a church organist and performed his first international concert tour at age 19. For 29 years he was the organist and music director of First United Methodist Church of Wichita, Kansas, where he played a large pipe organ and was seen and heard by thousands on the church's television program. His recordings have been featured on National Public Radio's “Pipe Dreams,” as well as the National Bible Broadcasting Network.

Today, Valliant is one of two resident organists at the iconic Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, Arizona. Organ Stop Pizza houses the world's largest theater organ and entertains thousands of patrons each year. In addition to his playing at Organ Stop, Valliant is known for accompanying and scoring silent films and appears annually at several film festivals. In addition to regular appearances at American Theatre Organ Society and American Guild of Organists conventions, he has toured extensively as a concert artist throughout the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. For more information about the OHS, visit www.okhistory.org.

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