Theatre's old Möller organ gets a dramatic new lift
house lights dims and the curtain opens, the gleaming white Möller theater organ
will magically rise up from the floor of the orchestra pit, displaying the
magnificent instrument's console. How did they do that? Well, what may
seem like magic is actually the end result of some hard work and new equipment.
A hydraulic lifting mechanism has been installed to lift the organ console,
allowing everyone in the audience the opportunity to really see its beauty.
When the Capitol Theatre opened in 1928, the console of
the Möller theater organ had the ability to rise up out of the orchestra pit so
that it and the organist would be in full view of the audience. Around
1990 the lift was removed from the console so that the stage could be extended
by placing a cover over the orchestra pit.
with many projects at the Capitol, it took more than money to make the organ
lift project a reality. "I believe the whole project, including the lift
(which is a standard NAPA auto lift) cost less than $3,000," Pierce said.
The project was overseen by Frederick A. Normand, a member of the Rome Grand
Theatre Organ Society, who volunteered his time and energy to the project.
"The City of Rome did the excavating of the pit this also at no charge
thanks to the generosity of Mayor Brown and Fred built the platform,"
Pierce said. Other prominent volunteers on the project were Ray Tucker and
Joe Fusco of the Capitol board of directors and Capitol house organist John
In order that the pit cover could still be used, it was
necessary to excavate six inches of concrete and 10 inches of dirt from the
orchestra pit floor. The actual excavating started on April 12, 2005 and the project
was virtually completed by April 30, 2005.
The money for the lift project came entirely from the
Capitol organ fund a special fund which can only be used for restoration and
repairs of the organ. A donation of $1,500 for the organ lift several years ago
is what got the fund started. Pierce emphasized that only the organ console is
lifted. "This should be distinguished from the organ, which is actually the
approximately 400 pipes, the percussion instruments, and sound effects, that are
located in the chambers on each side of the auditorium," he said.
Several other renovation projects are going on at the
theatre. "We're currently consulting on the upgrading of the stage sound
system," Pierce said, "and the 1939 ticket booth - presently in
storage - will return soon, hopefully by summer."
Pierce said that the Capitol has also begun collecting
for a restoration fund. The first major project to benefit from this fund would
be the reproduction of the Capitol's original 1928 marquee and blade sign.
Pierce estimates the cost for that will be in the area of $200,000.
INFORMATION ABOUT US AND UPCOMING PROGRAMS,
PLEASE CALL (315) 337-6277 OR E-MAIL CPIERCE@TWCNY.RR.COM
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