As broadcast on WVIA-FM - National Public Radio member station for Northeast Pennsylvania
Steve Markowitz, President of Allen Organ Company of Macungie, PA. speaking about the history of the organization founded by his father, Jerome Markowitz, in 1939. Allen Organ is marking the 50th anniversary in June 2021 of its introduction of digital sampling and Allen's bringing the first digital organ into the world in 1971.
ArtScene, with Erika Funke as the host/producer, is a daily short program which brings attention to the area's arts and cultural events. Join her weekdays at 11:00am for interviews, reviews and commentaries on films, books, jazz, and classical music.
Published June 24, 2021
GRIT DAILY - The Premier Startup News Hub
Article By Jordi Lippe-McGraw
Earlier this week marked World Music Day, and to honor the musical celebration, some of the biggest names in technology released their latest audio-based technology. Lava revealed new TWS earbuds, and Sony launched novel Bluetooth speakers. But, while we tend to focus on all the advances in the field, few know the secret history that made all of it possible: a church organ.
This book commemorates Allen's 50th Year of Digital Sound with the introduction of digital sampling and the first digital organ introduced to the world in 1971, plus is dedicated to Allen's founder, Jerome Markowitz and the thousands of employees and tens of thousands of customers that have been a part of Allen's family throughout eight decades. Take a ride down memory lane as we showcase the history and development of Allen Organ Company since its inception in 1939, to present day, in this historic pictorial book of the Company through the decades! 159 pages, hardcover.
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June 1, 2021 from THE MORNING CALL - Business Section
Photo by Ash Ballot/The Morning Call
May 12, 2021 from WFMZ-TV 69 website
Allen Organ celebrates 50 years since creating the first digital instrument. It all starts with the Space Race.
MACUNGIE, Pa. - Allen Organ in Macungie is celebrating 85 years in business in the Lehigh Valley. It was founded in 1937 by Jerome Markowitz, who created the first electronic analogue organ.
"Analogue sound basically came from the technologies of the 20's and 30's which was basically radio oscillators," said current president Steven Markowitz, Jerome's son.
"People like my father found ways to use this oscillator technology to create musical instruments," Markowitz said. "This technology advanced to a point by the mid-60's it really couldn't advance any further."
And 50 years ago this year, in 1971, the company hit another milestone - rolling out the Allen Digital Computer Organ, the first digital instrument. The advancement fundamentally changed the way we play, record, and listen to music. The instrument is the direct ancestor of digital keyboards, CD's and MP3 players.
Published in the July/August 2020 Theatre Organ Magazine - Article written by Doug Beacham. Used with permission.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE - article .pdf opens from ATOS website
First Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Allen Organ Company • Macungie, Pennsylvania
by Jeff Ayers
Copyright 2020, by the American Guild of Organists.
Used by permission of The American Organist magazine
While organ manufacturing in Macungie, PA has been delayed due to the government-mandated shutdown, Allen Organ Company is still hard at work producing life-sustaining medical equipment on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.
Due to Allen's unique electronics manufacturing capabilities, we have the opportunity to produce sub-assemblies for companies outside of the music industry, diversifying our production and capabilities. Allen Organ Company is thankful that we are able to support this important cause.
Please check these media links below regarding Allen's involvement in this cause:
Allen Organ Company would like to provide some general recommendations for materials and supplies used to clean/disinfect your instrument. Not following the recommendations below could void the warranty.
The following guidance is intended to help reduce the spread of disease while preserving the integrity of your Allen organ. For general cleaning and disinfecting guidance, please refer to CDC guidelines and other applicable guidelines.
Cleaning and Disinfecting:
Also, if you are using a hand sanitizer, make sure that your hands are completely dry before touching the keyboard. Hand sanitizer will damage the keys.
Allen Organ Company has honored one of its employees for obtaining the milestone event of 60-years of employment! LaRue Hoppes began her employment with Allen in January of 1960 as a Cable Assembler and has since been continuously employed by the Company. Her employment began just prior to the inauguration of John Kennedy as president of the United States.
With internal training, LaRue's skills have evolved with technology, enabling her to work in various capacities, beginning as an Assembler, later moving to Inspection in the Production Test/Repair Department, and currently, to the Quality Control Department as an Inspector/Tester.
Long-term partnerships between Allen Organ Company, its employees and customers are part of the Company's genetics. LaRue is the third employee to reach the 60-year employment anniversary. The Company is fortunate to have dedicated employees like LaRue Hoppes. These long-term relationships benefit employees, the Company, the local community, and customers. It is one reason why Allen Organs built prior to LaRue joining the Company, are still in service today.
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Allen Organ Company would like to thank the Sistine Chapel Choir for the opportunity to provide an Allen Organ to the Vatican. Two years ago, the Choir contacted our Company after having used an Allen Organ during their United States concert tour. The Choir informed Allen that they were so impressed with the organ's musical capabilities that they would like to acquire one for use at Papal events in St. Peter's Square.
The relatively small Allen Organ was delivered to the Vatican in December 2017. The organ impressed the key music people so much, including Titular Organist Juan Paradell Solé (pictured to the left), that they tested the instrument in St. Peter's Basilica itself. Allen was informed at that time that this test was required due to musical challenges in the Basilica. The size and acoustics of St. Peter's were problematic for the pipe organ, which was unable to optimally support either the Choir or congregational singing. As a result, the Allen was used during 2017's Christmas Eve Mass and many times since, allowing the organ to play a more prominent role at St. Peter's Basilica. Mass's that included the Allen Organ were televised and seen by millions worldwide.
While the Allen organ is not currently being used inside the Basilica, Allen Organ Company is humbled to have been a part of the music ministry at St. Peter's Basilica over the past two years.
July 17, 2019
Allen Organ Company recently honored one of their employees for obtaining the milestone event of 60-years of employment. Betty Fenstermaker started with Allen in July, 1959 and has been continuously employed by the Company since.
In 1959, when Ms. Fenstermaker joined Allen, Dwight Eisenhower was President of the United States, the average price of gasoline was $0.31 per gallon, Jackie Robinson recently retired from baseball, and the Space Race was on with the Soviet Union's Sputnik program.
At Allen, Betty has worked in various capacities, beginning as an Assembler, later becoming a Group Leader, and then the Supervisor of the Final Assembly Department, a position she currently holds. Throughout this time period, sound producing technology has dramatically changed, beginning with vacuum tubes, morphing into transistors, and then digital technology that Allen Organ Company pioneered. Manufacturing technology has also morphed from hand assembly through to computer automation.
Long-term partnerships between employees and Allen Organ Company are not unique. Fifteen employees have reached the 50-year employment tenure, with four still employed at Allen. However, Ms. Fenstermaker is only the second to reach the 60-year employment anniversary. In addition, Betty's late husband David worked at Allen for 40-years prior to his retirement, giving the couple a combined 100 years of service to the Company. Such long-term relationships benefit not only employees, but also the Company and its customers who receive better quality products from a dedicated workforce.
Allen Organ Company began production over 70 years ago and is the world's largest organ manufacturer with instruments installed worldwide, including St. Peter's Cathedral, The Vatican. The Company co-developed the world's first digital musical instrument. Allen's subcontract manufacturing division, Allen Integrated Assemblies (AIA), provides contract assembly services to other companies.
December 19, 2017
Re: Allen Organ to Provide Music for Christmas Eve Mass at Vatican
Vatican officials have confirmed that the Allen organ recently installed in St. Peter's Basilica will be used for the Christmas Eve Mass celebrated there on December 24th at 9:30 PM Rome time (3:30 EST). The service will be broadcast live, worldwide, on EWTN.
Allen is thrilled and humbled by this opportunity to support the music ministry of the Vatican.
Installed and ready for use indoors within the Basilica, or outdoors in St. Peter's Square. (Click to enlarge)
Allen President Steven Markowitz and VP Barry Holben at the Vatican preparing the installation. (Click to enlarge)
Organist Juan Paradell-Solé at Allen Organ in St. Peter's. (Click to enlarge)
Maestro Palombella at Allen Organ in Basilica and Allen's Steve Markowitz and Barry Holben. (Click to enlarge)
December 12, 2017
Dear Friends and Associates,
Last month we announced that Allen Organ Company was chosen to be the exclusive organ of the Sistine Chapel Choir for papal celebrations in St. Peter's Square. I have since traveled to the Vatican with Allen Vice President Barry Holben and Jean-Philippe Le Trevou (Allen's French representative) to install the three-manual Allen GeniSys Organ. I would like to share details about this unique experience, as well as some exciting news about the increased significance the Allen organ will play at the Vatican.
We were initially informed that the organ would be used by the Sistine Chapel Choir. During our visit we learned that the Vatican wanted the organ to also be used for musical requirements at St. Peter's Basilica itself. What an exciting turn of events. Fortunately we designed the organ with a flexible audio system that could allow for the expanded requirement.
Upon arrival we were met at a gate to the Vatican and taken directly to the Basilica. We were pleasantly surprised to find the organ crates near where the Basilica's Choir is located. After uncrating the organ we spent hours setting it up. Late in the morning Monsignor Massimo Palombella, Maestro of the Sistine Chapel Choir and responsible for the Basilica's overall music, came to preview the organ. His positive response led to a remarkable tum of events. We were informed that on the following day the organ would be tested in the Basilica for broader usage.
It was fortuitous that the organ's audio system included external speaker cabinets and Audio Outs with the ability to connect the instrument to the Basilica's PA system, something we prepared for as we initially understood the organ was to be used in St. Peter's Square.
Thursday morning we started preparing the organ for the test. The instrument's speaker cabinets were moved on their custom dollies behind the Choir in a way that would allow the organ's sound to reflect up into the Basilica. We then connected the Audio Outs to the Basilica's PA system and waited for 3:00.
During this time period Juan Paradell-Sole, organist of the Pope, came for his introduction to the organ. His response was positive. We spent part of the two-hour Basilica lunch period, 12:00 to 2:00PM, working with Juan Paradell-Sole and were nearly alone in St. Peter's. This was a remarkable and once-in-a-lifetime experience!
At 3:00PM, Maestro Palombella, organist Juan Paradell-Solé, and the Basilica's sound manager arrived. We connected the sound system to the organ and did additional voicing. The organ was then heard throughout the Basilica and it did not take long to see smiles from the three "judges". Maestro Palombella then informed us that the Allen organ would first be used in the Basilica during the following week. It is not possible to put into words our excitement at that moment.
There were many side-discussions that occurred during these amazing two days. One related to the Basilica's pipe organ, an instrument with pipe's speaking on both sides of the Nave. It was evident that this organ is not well received and does not adequately serve the Basilica's music ministry. Issues include tuning, as well as an inability to properly mix and coordinate the organ's sound throughout the Basilica.
We were also privileged to be invited by Maestro Palombella for a full rehearsal of the Sistine Chapel Choir at the Sistine Chapel itself. We were treated to not only a tremendous musical event, but also able to view the works of Michelangelo and others.
Allen organs have been installed in many prestigious institutions over the years. Now, being able to place the Vatican at the top of this list is amazing and humbling. On a more personal note, the first Allen church organ installed by my father was in a small parish church in Allentown. The church grew and ultimately became the Cathedral of the Allentown Diocese that now houses a large Allen organ. The Company has come a long way.
As I reflect on the amazing story of how an Allen organ has become a part of St. Peter's Basilica, I find the need to consider decades of efforts by too many to mention. Thousands of Allen employees over the decades played roles in producing the highest quality products. Our engineers created advanced platforms that enable the organs to be voiced to the most exacting and artistic requirements. Our dealers made and maintain organ installations that insure customer satisfaction. And, it was a dealer rental in Detroit just a few months ago that resulted in Maestro Palombella becoming excited about the possibility of an Allen organ in the Vatican.
In closing, I offer a huge "thank you" and congratulations to all involved in the thousands of efforts and events over the years that led to this amazing story.
Steven A. Markowitz President
Sandra Fischl celebrates her 60th Year at Allen Organ!
On June 8, 2017, Allen Organ celebrated Sandra Fischl's 60th Anniversary of employment with the Company. Congratulations to Sandy on this unique achievement and special thanks for her decades of dedication and loyalty!
Long-term relationships seem to be a thing of the past at some companies. But, they are at the core of Allen Organ Company's DNA, as exemplified by a long list of Allen employees and customers who have been a part of the "family" for nearly as long as Sandra Fischl.
Allen Organ President Steve Markowitz congratulates Allen's first 60 Year Anniversary employee Sandra Fischl.