Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Welcome to the Blue, Dieter Ruehle!

Other than the obvious questions about who would be playing where, I wondered who would be behind the organ at Dodger Stadium when the season starts?

Thankfully, we now have that answer and the choice is a great one.  The new Dodgers Organist for the 2016 season and beyond is Dieter Ruehle (pronounced: Dee-Ter Rule).

Apparently, Nancy Bea Hefley approves of the choice.

As you may know, he has been the longtime Music Director at the Staples Center - playing the organ at both Lakers and Kings games.  Ruehle has also played for the Sparks, the Avengers (Arena Football), the Lazers (Indoor Soccer), several NBA All-Star games, a U.S. Open tennis tournament and five Olympic games - most recently during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.  So he is both a local musician and an internationally known organist.  You can follow Dieter on twitter here: @DieterRuehle.

BTW, for those who were paying attention at the recent Dodgers FanFest this past Saturday, he played throughout the day.  Ruehle has also subbed for Nancy Bea Hefley at various times the past few years, so he is hardly a stranger to the stadium and its fans.  In fact, during an interview presented on the Dodgers television screens during FanFest he recalled hearing Helen Dell while going to Dodgers games as a child and named her as an inspiration.

Per a story about Dieter by Chris Erskine in the LA Times in October of 2015:
As the maestro of mayhem for the Kings, the classically trained organist is now in his 20th season of thumping out "Go Kings Go!" on the keyboard, or filling in with glissandos when the puck skips over the glass. His ability to manage the flow of this icy game, and stir the troops at just the right moment, is one of the underappreciated elements of the Staples experience.

The organ is "a sound that's synonymous with pro sports similar to how marching bands are synonymous with college and high school sports," Ruehle explains of his music's appeal.
Dieter has a repertoire of over 500 tunes in his memory banks, and he is up-to-date with his song selection.  In fact, he is known to play the theme song to "The Legend of Zelda" at Kings games, so I imagine we'll hear that at Chavez Ravine too.  Per an interview by Tien Nguyen at LA Taco in November 2015:
You’ve also played at Dodger Stadium. What’s that like?
Dodger Stadium has the best sound system I’ve heard at a baseball stadium. But there’s a sound delay, so when I hit a note, I don’t hear it right away. I have to wear headphones because of the delay.

The great Nancy Bea just retired. Any chance you might be taking over the organ there?
I have no idea what the Dodgers will do. I enjoy filling in, but I have no idea if the Dodgers will even keep the organist position.
I guess we know the answer to that question now.  The organ is back and with Dieter Ruehle at its helm it's likely to stay longterm.

In celebration of his becoming the new Dodgers organist I made the above two fantasy cards of him.  I used a photograph taken from his twitter page and the 1961 Topps Baseball card design for the card on the top left.  For the top right card I grabbed a photo from a True Blue LA post/Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY and the 1982 Topps Baseball card design.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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