Author Topic: "Pipe-a-palooza" to celebrate 45 years of the Flint Theatre Organ Club  (Read 3343 times)

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Pipe Organ Pipe Organ Greg Masters plays the original theatre pipe organ from the Capitol Theatre in Flint, MI. It was originally made in 1927 and has called the Flint Institute of Music home since the late 1970's. Watch video
FLINT, MI--When Greg Masters was 10 years old, he sat in Flint's Capitol Theatre listening to the pipe organ and said to himself that someday he would learn to play that thing.

Now 64, he gets to do that every month as president of the Flint Theatre Organ Club, -- and he and his club members want to share their experience and love for the old instrument with the rest of the community through Pipe-a-palooza, an event celebrating the club's 45-year history.

"It's a dying art," Masters said of the pipe organ, which was primarily used during silent films and cartoons for kids. "It's very unfortunate. We say this is Flint's best kept secret, and we're trying to change that."

The event will kick off July 20 at 4 p.m. for "an evening of silent comedy," featuring some classic silent films and cartoons, costing $15 per person. On July 21 the Barton Pops Concert and dinner and show will begin at 5 p.m. At the keys will be pipe organ master Dave Moreno, flying in from California.

Masters said learning the pipe organ -- which involves not only notes played through about 1,100 pipes but also drums, a xylophone, bells, whistles, and other noises -- is like no other.

Brett Carlson | MLive.comGreg Masters, president of The Flint Theatre Organ Club plays an organ that was originally installed in the Capitol Theatre. The theatre pipe organ is going to be played for a pipe-a-palooza event in July.
To hear the sounds it makes may make it sound like a modern day keyboard with different effects, but the difference is that with a pipe organ there are no effects. It's all real. When you hear a bass drum, you're actually hearing a bass drum.

Behind the wall and up a ladder at the MacArthur Recital Hall at the Flint Institute of Music is a room full of instruments, all hooked up by old wires and cables to the old pipe organ that can be rolled out onto the stage.

Almost all of the old equipment is original. "You know those cell phones you've got?" Masters said in the cramped area, speaking above the hum of the blower in the other room, waiting to blast air through the organ's pipes. "Well, that's the sound board." He pointed to an old wooden soundboard about eight feet tall and almost as wide, where small copper plates are hooked to wires that control every sound the organ can make. The sounds they make are hand-written in pen on the old wood.

Masters can sit and play some classic marches--full of effects like whistles--on the old organ, as well as some songs from the original Star Wars Trilogy. Coming from the pipe organ, he said it just sounds more authentic.

"With all the bells and whistles, you can just see all those weirdos running around the cafe," he said, referring to a classic Star Wars scene.

But what Masters is really looking forward to is hearing Moreno when he sits at Flint's old organ.

"It's amazing," he said. "His musicianship is just awesome."


FLINT, MI--Tickets are now on sale for Pipe-a-palooza, an event celebrating the Flint Theatre Organ Club's 45th year and featuring music on the Capital Theatre's old pipe organ, now housed at the Flint Institute of Music.

The two-day event will take place at FIM and will begin  July 20 at 4 p.m. for "an evening of silent comedy," featuring some classic silent films and cartoons, costing $15 per person. A picnic lunch will follow the first performance, and the show will resume at about 6 p.m., lasting until about 8 p.m.

On July 21 the club will host a dinner and concert. Dinner begins at 5 p.m., with the concert starting at 7 p.m. The concert will feature solo organ music as well as accompaniment to a short silent film and classic cartoons.

At the keys will be pipe organ master Dave Moreno, flying in from California.

Tickets for dinner and the July 21 concert are $22. Tickets for only the concert are $15 for adults and $12 for kids. T

Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available by calling Greg Masters at (810) 735-7963 or Pearl Carrels (810) 653-4976. Tickets can also be purchased at the Flint Institute of Music.

The Flint Institute of Music is located at 1025 East Kearsley Street in Flint.

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