Hal Pearl, popular theater organist for nearly seven decades who also played with some of the most famous big bands of the swing era including Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, died Nov. 23 of natural causes in Chicago. He was 92.
A Chicago native, Pearl studied theater and classical organ during the 1920s. He is best known for being the organist at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom for over two decades.
The official organist at Chicago’s Century of Progress in 1933, he played numerous Chicago theaters during the 1930s and ’40s including the Trianon, Fox Sheridan, Granada and the Terminal. He also played the organ at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.
Pearl taught organ for five years at the Metropolitan School of Music, served on the faculty of the Chicago Musical College and worked as a high school music supervisor for the Chicago Board of Education.
He composed “Let Come What May” and made several recordings including “Singing Canaries” and “Memories of Hal Pearl at the Aragon.”
Pearl is survived by two nephews.