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Mighty Wurlitzer Organ Restoration Underway

CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- One of the most popular sounds in the Paramount Theatre will soon be heard again.

Crews are working to restore the Wurlitzer Organ which was partly destroyed during the flood of 08.

It's the voice of the Paramount Theatre,

"It's was built to bring the building alive, said President of the Cedar Rapids Area Theatre Organ Society, Darren Ferreter.

The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ.

"There were thousands of these instruments across the country back in the 20s and 30s and there's less than 40 in their original homes, said Ferreter.

That home is here at the Paramount Theatre.

The Wurlitzer Organ made its grand debut more than 80 years ago in 1929.

"And it had various uses and performances throughout the decades, said Robert Massey, CEO of Orchestra Iowa.

But it all came to a devastating stop in 2008 when flood waters found their way into the theater, damaging significant parts of the organ.

Although the flood water was eight feet high, only the console and blower were damaged. The pipes remained intact.

"We returned home in November of 2012 and we did so without the organ and so having this being installed now really makes us whole, said Massey.

Now, five years and half a million dollars later, a new console sits on the stage and the pipes which range from 16 feet to a matter of inches are refurbished.

"We have specialists literally from all over the country helping us out. The guy who's doing the wiring work is from California, the guy who specializes with the blower is from Washington State, said Ferreter.

Its a country wide effort to breathe life back into the mighty instrument.

"I think having the organ back really restores part of the theater's soul, said Massey.

As well as the soul of the community.

The Mighty Wurlitzer makes its return on March 1st for Orchestra Iowas Resurrection concert.

A special backstage tour to see the organ and a set of prime tickets to the concert will be auctioned off November 16th at sight and sound, Orchestra Iowas bi-annual fundraising gala with the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

Below is a link to the ticket and event page.
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