Pipe Organ Dsplay At The Genesse Theatre
The Genesee Theatre in downtown Waukegan, Illinois has unveiled a display that should be of interest to people interested in theater history and musical instruments. The 1927 Barton Grande Pipe Organ Console that played for countless events at the historic theater is one display as of July 30, 2010 and will be on display going forward. The reassembled 1927 organ console is be available for viewing as part of the Genesee Theatre History Exhibit located at the top of the Grand Lobby staircase.
The Barton Grande Organ was located in the main auditorium from 1927 to 1989 and played an important role in Genesee Theatre’s long entertainment history. The organ accompanied silent films, live stage shows, vaudeville shows, beauty pageants, weddings, fashion shows and dances.
Genesee Theatre closed in the mid-1980’s and the organ was damaged by exposure to the elements. The damage to the Organ’s inner mechanisms and its console and main keyboards was irreparable. The damaged instrument was removed during the theatre remodeling to a storage area and has been kept secure since then, awaiting an uncertain future. Now for the first time in two decades, patrons and visitors can get a glimpse of its past glory and view one of Waukegan’s treasured artifacts in the beautifully renovated and reconstructed Genesee Theatre.
Resident Historical Curator and Special Events Manager Rena Morrow and her team have spent countless hours cleaning and cataloging the myriad pieces of the Barton console. While much of the damage is beyond repair or replacement, the console, keyboards and foot pedals have been reassembled and partially restored to a viewable condition.
The Barton Grande Organ and Genesee Theatre History Exhibit is open for viewing on all theatre event days. Tours of the theatre are available by appointment.
Waukegan is about 30 miles north of Chicago, Illinois.