The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ at Paramount will play again
Written by Michelle Corless, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -
The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ will play again.
This instrument has been a part of the Paramount Theatre since it opened in 1929. Many feared it was beyond repair after the floods of 2008.
"There's that iconic image of the organ just sitting on stage, toppled, as it had floated around," said Robert Massey, Orchestra Iowa CEO.
The Paramount had nine feet of water inside the theatre. The building was gutted and the organ carried out.
"As a person that helped carry it out of here, after it was found on the stage tipped over, that was a day that was one of my worst days ever," said Darren Ferreter, Cedar Rapids Area Theatre Organ Society, the group helping to install the organ.
Many worried the instrument was gone but later learned it could be restored, largely because the thing that was actually damaged was the console. The pipes up in the chamber were left untouched by the flood water.
To fix the organ, the theater bought a new console and used the parts to fix the old one. The system isn't all connected yet, so the only way to test the pipes is to do it by hand. When that's done, you can feel it throughout the theater.
"It's designed to not only give you the musical experience but the sonic experience of having your seat shaking underneath of you," said Ferreter.
The restoration will finish in a few months. The organ will play again at Orchestra Iowa's resurrection concert on March 1, 2014.
"The Might Wurlitzer is a major component of the soul of the theater," said Massey. "This is really the last piece of the puzzle, the last peg of the Paramount Theatre restoration."
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