Over the past few weeks, sandwiched between productions of Under the Streetlamp, Bachtoberfest and Dracula, workers have been bustling away reinstalling “The Mighty Wurlitzer” organ.
With the return of that instrument, the Paramount Theatre restoration officially comes to a close. It’s been a long time coming, too. Who can forget that iconic image from June 2008 showing “The Mighty Wurlitzer” tossed on its side, splintered into thousands of pieces?
The new console is safely housed in a concrete bunker located beneath the stage and unlike its predecessor, it can be unplugged and moved out of the building should it need to ever again. The real instrument, however, is located in the organ chambers on each side of the proscenium. This is where 1,350 pipes live, as well as other cool bells and whistles such as drums, cymbals, horns, and….well, bells and whistles.
While the sounds of Orchestra Iowa have replaced the organ as the primary music maker of the Paramount Theatre, “The Mighty Wurlitzer” will always have a place in our hearts, and we’re very thankful for the Paramount Theatre Restoration Committee’s commitment to making our home whole again.
Over the next few months, the newly re-installed organ will be tweaked and tuned, before a triumphant unveiling on March 1 in Gustav Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony. An appropriate homecoming for our beloved organ.