Special/Signature Issues » 2013 Music Issue

1. Bob Gulledge, "Over the Rainbow" (Live)

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A University of Richmond graduate, organist Bob Gulledge says the Byrd Theatre became an important part of his life during his teenage years. He was a student of organist Eddie Weaver, who taught him to play the Byrd's Mighty Wurlitzer organ. Gulledge also worked as the organist at Loew's Theatres in the early '70s, returning to the Byrd in 1996 to become its house organist. The classic "Over the Rainbow" — soundtrack music performed by Judy Garland for "The Wizard of Oz" and covered by many others — works in this setting, Gulledge says: "The range of tonal color in the Byrd organ suits the song very well." He adds that he recorded himself playing this version last summer with a Zoom H4n handy recorder. Nothing he's done professionally has been as rewarding as playing the Byrd's Mighty Wurlitzer, he says, one of a handful of theater organs in the country that can be heard on a regular schedule. Gulledge plays every Saturday night as the overture to the 7:15 and 9:30 movies. — Brent Baldwin

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