Archival Research Collections at the University of Oklahoma

Barker, Jeff Collection Edit

Summary

Identifier
AOIAL ATOC RG0013

Dates

  • 1961-2007 (Creation)
  • 1965-1985 (Creation)

Extents

  • 2.00 cubic feet (Whole)

Subjects

Notes

  • Language of Materials

    English

  • Physical Description

    124 Sound Recordings

  • Administrative History:

    Jeff Barker, born in 1940 in Manchester, England, was a theatre organist active in the New York and New Jersey areas for the majority of his career. While his formal training culminated in a degree in piano, he turned to theatre organ in his teenage years and played at many of the theatres in and around Manchester. After headlining a two week session at the Surf City Hotel in Long Beach, New Jersey, Barker immigrated to the United States and found work playing in clubs and theatres on the Jersey Shore and across New England. Eventually, he would become house organist for a line of theatres owned by Nelson Page, most notably the Galaxy Theatre organ in Guttenberg, New Jersey and the Lafayette Theatre Wurlitzer in Suffern, New York. Most recently, he was resident organist at the Palace Theatre in Lake Placid, New York from 1990 until his death in late 2013. Besides playing the organ, he was responsible for many organ rebuilding projects in New York and New Jersey, contributing to the continuing interest in the theatre organ in those areas. Highlights of his career include playing as a featured organist at three ATOS conferences, and headline concerts on many of the famous instruments in America and England.

  • Arrangement of Materials:

    The collection is arranged chronologically by organist. The first series contains the Jeff Barker recordings, and the second series contains other theatre organists.

  • Scope and Contents

    This collection consists of one DVD video recording of Jeff Barker, and 122 CD audio recordings, mostly of Jeff Barker performing on theatre organs mainly in New Jersey and New York. The majority of the collection was transferred from reel-to-reel tapes beginning in 2005. While the Jeff Barker recordings span from 1961-2007, most come from 1976-1978. Also included in the Jeff Barker series are telephone conversations with collection donor Alan Van Poznak, which give historical and biographical information regarding the organist's career as a theatre organist. The collection concludes with recordings of other theatre and church organists, contemporaries and colleagues of Jeff Barker, including several recordings of the improvisations of Gerre Hancock at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York.

Components