Dickinson’s Pipe Organ Has Drawn Nearly Every Major Organist Since 1970

Along with the major artists, the organ has performed with the Newark Symphony and Delaware Symphony Orchestra, the Longwood Performing Arts Ballet and, most recently, the First State Ballet.




Bob Dilworth (left) and Paul Harris stand by the console of their beloved Kimball theater pipe organ.

What organ haters don’t understand is just how impressive this particular pipe organ is—both in appearance and performance.

In its 44th season at the Dickinson Theatre (parts of it lived a previous life at the now defunct Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia), the Dickinson Kimball has performed 260 formal concerts and countless other gigs. Over the years, the organ has hosted all of the genre’s top artists. Well, almost all of them.

“We have had every major theater organist that has lived since about 1970 with the exception of one,” Dilworth says. “He passed before we got around to him.”

This organ’s reputation is so great, top artists from around the world are honored when they are invited to play here.

Just ask Ken Double, a renowned organist in his own right, who also serves as president and chief executive of American Theatre Organ Society (the parent of the local society). Double has played a number of concerts and recorded two CDs on the Dickinson Kimball.

“For somebody like me coming in to play, it’s exciting,” Double says. “Don’t tell Bob, but I would do a concert there for free just to be able to play that organ.”

Along with the major artists, the organ has performed with the Newark Symphony and Delaware Symphony Orchestra, the Longwood Performing Arts Ballet and, most recently, the First State Ballet.

Dilworth, a retired math teacher whose appearance and energy belie his 81 years, is joined by Paul Harris, the society’s crew chief, who leads the team charged with maintaining the organ’s army of pipes. It’s a crew of retired electrical engineers and chemists who keep this organ vital. Five years ago, Harris retired from W.L. Gore on a Friday and went to work on the Dickinson Kimball the following Monday.

While both men share an obvious passion for this “internationally acclaimed instrument,” as a recent concert schedule would have you know, neither can actually play it. So when it came time to demonstrate its prowess for a curious journalist, they did the next best thing: They turned to the MIDI. Technically it’s called the musical instrument digital interface, but it’s really more like a fancy tape recorder.

During a typical concert, the organ console rises dramatically out of the stage with the organist aboard the bench like a jockey atop a thoroughbred. Think Prince at the Super Bowl, only not. “That’s quintessential theater organ,” Dilworth says of the theatrical opening. The first notes fill the spacious theater and a rumble pervades everything, including your innards. Harris calls this “the majesty.”

Well, there’s no artist, or even a formerly known artist, today, but there is MIDI. Harris places a disk into the MIDI—a little black box that resembles an answering machine. The disk isn’t a sleek CD-ROM, but rather a clunky hard plastic square like the ones you used with your PC back in the day. The black box is connected to the organ’s console by a wire.

“Here’s an example of a classically played tune,” Harris says as he pushes a button.

The organ begins to play like someone, a talented someone, is seated at the three keyboards. The theater begins to rumble. The sound is surprisingly rich. The rumble goes right through you. Dilworth, Harris and the journalist all smile.

“It plays exactly what the artist did,” Dilworth says. “Every key stroke.”

Harris explains that the machine digitally records everything that is done on the console. “The pedal work, the stops that are drawn, the keys, everything,” he says.

An organist would use this tool because, while seated at the console, he does not hear what the audience hears. So the organist records a piece of his concert and sits in the audience to listen to it. “That way they get a sense of what the balances are,” Harris says.

Dilworth notes that Tony Fenelon, a piano soloist from Australia who will perform for the Delaware Theatre Organ Society in June, will do a MIDI recording as he’s setting up his concert and play it back during the concert while performing a piano solo along with it. “So he’s accompanying himself,” Dilworth says. “Very unusual.”

Says Harris, “There’s enough stuff on this thing that we can satisfy anybody’s musical demand.”

Including that of Double, who becomes excited when explaining just how special this organ is. He likens going to the Dickinson Theatre to attending a concert by the Boston Pops, saying you might hear a Broadway medley from “Phantom of the Opera” or “Oklahoma,” or the Kimball could handle the complete live accompaniment of “The Nutcracker.” But this overachieving organ can just as easily play traditional jazz like Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

“It’s goosebump music, there’s no question,” Double says. “This great Kimball theater organ imitates an orchestra. There is this big, heavy vibrato, like an opera singer’s vibrato. But you can turn those off and execute Bach, Handel and any needs of a church organ, anything you could play on a great organ in a concert hall. But those organs don’t have the tremulants that the theater organ can do. It’s a uniquely American invention.”

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February 2017

February 3 – 25 Group Show featuring still life paintings in oil by Rosemary Castiglioni; gestural animal paintings by Gay Freeborn; and plein air landscapes from Zion National Park,...

Cost: free

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Greenville, DE  19807
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Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

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Wilmington, DE  19807
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Cost: 10

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100 Station Ave
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Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
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Cost: $25-50

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Baby Grand Theater
818 N. Market Street
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Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
820 N. French Street
2nd Floor, Carvel Building
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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Website »

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Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Newark, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-9111
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Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
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Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
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Cost: FREE

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801 Middleford Road
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Cost: Free

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2nd Floor, Carvel Building
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Newark, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-9111
Website »

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Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

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The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
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Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities at the Delaware Museum of Natural History's newest special exhibit. Undertake...

Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

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Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
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Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

Cost: Free

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East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

Cost: frr

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East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: East Coast Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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Join Saint Francis Healthcare on Tuesday, February 21, from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. in recognition of American Heart Month. Many 'heart healthy' activities will be available for the community to...

Cost: FREE

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Saint Francis Healthcare
701 N Clayton St.
Cafeteria
Wilmington, DE  19805
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Contact Name: Lauren Mancini
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Cost: $18-$20

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17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
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Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host a stroke support group on Tuesday, February 21 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm at the Seaford Library & Cultural Center located at 600 N. Market Street Extended in...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Seaford Library & Cultural Center
600 N Market Street
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6224
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Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host bariatric support groups on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Medical Staff...

Cost: FREE

Where:
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801 Middleford Road
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[Un]Ravel, a show of photographs by Joshua Meier, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 3-24, 2017. An opening reception to meet the artist will be held on Friday, Feb....

Cost: Free

Where:
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820 N. French Street
2nd Floor, Carvel Building
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

February 3 – 25 Group Show featuring still life paintings in oil by Rosemary Castiglioni; gestural animal paintings by Gay Freeborn; and plein air landscapes from Zion National Park,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Newark, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-9111
Website »

More information

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Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
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2301 Kentmere Parkway
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View map »


Website »

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Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Nanticoke Weight Loss and General Surgery will hold a free nutrition education seminar on Wednesday, February 22 from 5 to 6 pm at Nanticoke’s Training Center located at 121 S. Front Street in...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Training Center
121 S Front Street
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-536-5386

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Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host bariatric support groups on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Medical Staff...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-536-5395
Contact Name: Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery
Website »

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Two years ago, KT Tunstall thought she was done with music. Not done as in she'd never again play guitar or sing, but done playing professionally, at least for the foreseeable future. "As an artist...

Cost: $25 ADV - $30 DOS + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live- Wilmington
500 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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[Un]Ravel, a show of photographs by Joshua Meier, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 3-24, 2017. An opening reception to meet the artist will be held on Friday, Feb....

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
820 N. French Street
2nd Floor, Carvel Building
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

February 3 – 25 Group Show featuring still life paintings in oil by Rosemary Castiglioni; gestural animal paintings by Gay Freeborn; and plein air landscapes from Zion National Park,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities at the Delaware Museum of Natural History's newest special exhibit. Undertake...

Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Newark, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-9111
Website »

More information

Between 1917 and 1944, the Society of Independent Artists (SIA) hosted annual exhibitions for its members. Famous painters and Sunday painters were able to exhibit their work in enormous open shows...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

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Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »


Telephone: 302-536-5395
Contact Name: Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery
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Whether you’re renovating an outdated bathroom or designing your dream kitchen, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery can help. Their state-of-the-art showrooms are...

Where:
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
2000 Maryland Ave.
Wilmington, DE  19805
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Telephone: 302-656-4421
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Cost: Childbirth class, $50. Refresher class, $25.

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6611 x2540
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Join Hagley for a night at the movies featuring classic films we all know and love. Specialty themed cocktails and food available for purchase at the event. Wear your favorite science fiction shirt...

Cost: $2 per person

Where:
Hagley Museum and Library Soda House
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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[Un]Ravel, a show of photographs by Joshua Meier, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 3-24, 2017. An opening reception to meet the artist will be held on Friday, Feb....

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
820 N. French Street
2nd Floor, Carvel Building
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

February 3 – 25 Group Show featuring still life paintings in oil by Rosemary Castiglioni; gestural animal paintings by Gay Freeborn; and plein air landscapes from Zion National Park,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Newark, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-9111
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities at the Delaware Museum of Natural History's newest special exhibit. Undertake...

Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Website »

More information

Between 1917 and 1944, the Society of Independent Artists (SIA) hosted annual exhibitions for its members. Famous painters and Sunday painters were able to exhibit their work in enormous open shows...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host bariatric support groups on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Medical Staff...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »


Telephone: 302-536-5395
Contact Name: Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery
Website »

More information

Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
View map »

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Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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JOHNNY WINTER ALL STAR BAND The Johnny Winter Band has been wowing audiences everywhere with incredible music played by Johnny's band and guest artists. Join Paul Nelson and The JW Band in a...

Cost: $20 ADV + $22 DOS + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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Now in its 8th year, the PAWS for People Conference/Annual Meeting is designed for those who love their pets, are pet enthusiasts or who want to learn more about the world of Pet Therapy. This...

Cost: $45 through 2/14; $50 after that date; $5 discount for PAWS members.

Where:
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE  19803
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Sponsor: PAWS for People
Telephone: 302-351-5622
Contact Name: Clarice Ritchie
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February 3 – 25 Group Show featuring still life paintings in oil by Rosemary Castiglioni; gestural animal paintings by Gay Freeborn; and plein air landscapes from Zion National Park,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities at the Delaware Museum of Natural History's newest special exhibit. Undertake...

Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Newark, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-9111
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The Wilmington & Western Railroad's Hockessin Art Festival is a fundraising effort to benefit the railroad. Over 25 artists will be displaying and selling limited-edition...

Cost: $3 for art show admission; $5 for train fare (children under 2 are free)

Where:
Hockessin Memorial Hall
606 Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE  19707
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Sponsor: Wilmington & Western Railroad
Telephone: 302-998-1930
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Are you interested in learning more about what volunteer opportunities the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation has to offer? Consider attending our Volunteer Open House at our shipyard in Wilmington, DE from...

Cost:

Where:
Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
1124 E 7th St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Between 1917 and 1944, the Society of Independent Artists (SIA) hosted annual exhibitions for its members. Famous painters and Sunday painters were able to exhibit their work in enormous open shows...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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DCM Guests will experience, engage in, and take home different STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathmatics) activities run by Science Ambassadors from the Charter School of Wilmington...

Cost: $8.75

Where:
Delaware Children's Museum
550 Justison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-425-4890
Contact Name: Joe Valenti
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Build a hydraulic-powered machine while learning about pressure, water, and power. Families work together to solve science mysteries and engineering challenges. Activities are included in regular...

Cost: Adults: $14, Children 6-14: $5, Children 5 and under and Hagley Members: FREE

Where:
Hagley Museum and Library
200 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host bariatric support groups on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Medical Staff...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-536-5395
Contact Name: Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery
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An evening of entertainment and hope at the 2017 Wilmington Heart Ball. Each year, community members, medical professionals and corporate leaders come together to celebrate the lifesaving work of...

Cost:

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
815 Justison St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Join us for an unforgettable evening of entertainment and hope at the 2017 Wilmington Heart Ball.  Each year, community members, medical professionals and corporate leaders come together to...

Cost: $175

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
815 Justison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: American Heart Association
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We are a mixture of some of the best and hardest working musicians in the Philadelphia area specializing in a mashup concept, fusing the music of The Allman Brothers Band and The Grateful Dead....

Cost: $10 + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live- Wilmington
500 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE
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Mo Lowda & The Humble is a three piece Indie-rock group from Philadelphia, PA. The band has created a unique musical style combining various genre's ranging from garage rock to jazz fusion;...

Cost: $10 + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live- Wilmington
500 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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