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Free concert Friday showcasing part of organ not heard in years
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Free concert Friday showcasing part of organ not heard in years

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ATLANTIC CITY — A sound no one has heard in decades will reverberate Friday afternoon inside the main arena at Boardwalk Hall.

The Midmer-Losh organ’s left-stage chamber will be operational for the first time in nearly 40 years, operating at close to 30 percent capacity. Pipe organ enthusiasts will get to hear the new sound duiring a free noon concert.

“I’m very excited,” said L. Curt Mangel III, president of the nonprofit Historic Organ Restoration Committee. “It’s a daunting task. It’s one of the most historic instruments in the world... It’s a great testament to the builders.”

Each set of pipes in an organ is called a rank. With the left stage chamber now working, listeners on Friday should be able to hear 20 sets of strings from the pipe organ that haven’t been heard in years, Mangel said.

People who happen to stop by for the Friday concert will be joined by more than 500 members of the Organ Historical Society. They will be bused in from Philadelphia, where they are holding a five-day convention. The Friday concert will close out the group’s events.

Staff organist Steven Ball will perform the free 30-minute recital on the Midmer-Losh, which will be followed by a free short tour through the organ chambers afterwards. At 2 p.m., the silent film, “Spite Marriage,” with Buster Keaton will be shown with accompaniment by Ball on the Kimball theater organ in the hall’s Adrian Phillips Theater. Tickets are $20 for the movie screening.

The largest pipe organ in the world was designed by organ collector and aficionado Emerson Richards, who was a New Jersey state senator from Atlantic County. Boardwalk Hall, then called Convention Hall, opened in 1929. The Midmer-Losh made its public debut in 1932.

An unnamed 1944 hurricane hit and flooded lower sections of the great hall, including parts of the organ, which has never been the same ever since.

With 33,000-plus pipes and 150 tons of metal and machinery, the pipe organ restoration committee has partially revived the instrument. A 10-year funding campaign, which stretches from 2014 to 2024, has already raised $2.5 million of its $16 million goal, Mangel said.

The Historic Organ Restoration Committee is meeting its current budget of $111,000 per month with foundation and public grants and other income generators, including donations from visitors who take the organ tour.

Contact: 609-272-7202

VJackson@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressJackson

PIPE ORGAN DEBUT AND SILENT FILM

When: Noon Friday

Where: Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City

How much: Half-hour recital and short tour, free: 2 p.m. silent film “Spite Marriage” with Buster Keaton, $20.

More info: Call 609-348-7000 or 800-736-1420 or visit boardwalkhall.com.

Staff writer

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