Organ plays its last at CSU

Mar 092011
Authors: Lianna Salva

It’s not hard to see the history of CSU around campus, but one lesser-known treasure, tucked away in the Lory Student Center Theatre, made its final contribution to students and Fort Collins residents last night.  

A 1927 Wulitzer Theatre Organ has been apart of CSU since 1983 as a donation from Marian Cook in memory of her husband John Brown Cook.

The organ will be disassembled and put away in a climate controlled storage unit until further notice while the LSC Theatre goes through renovations, according to ASAP General Programming Coordinator, L.J. Ankarlo.

“It will not go back inside the theatre immediately after the renovation, but our first priority is to keep it within CSU,” Ankarlo said.

Fort Collins residents John and Joan Leach expressed their appreciation for the organ and their excitement at the opportunity to see it performed.

“It’d be a shame to lose something like this,” John Leach said. “It’s an era that’s long gone and may never come back again in the digital age, but hopefully it will find a good home.”

Bob Castle, the resident organist at the Paramount Theatre in Denver, performed the soundtrack to the 1920 silent film “The Mark of Zorro.”

The Wurlitzer organ was originally used as accompaniment to silent films.  Although it has the appearance of multiple pianos, the organ provides the sounds of a full orchestra.

“There’s a big disconnect between a silent movie and organ in today’s age, and people see entertainment differently,” John Leach said. “I would hope young people would enjoy this as much.”  

First year graduate student of music Charlie Vavv voiced interest in bringing this type of music back to the campus.

“I think it shouldn’t be stored away and should be included in the new design of the theater,” he said.  

As a part of its farewell performances, the Wulitzer organ will be performed in the LSC Theatre March 11 at 7:30 p.m. but will not be accompanying a movie.  

Instead, Kevin Utter and Doug Thompson will be performing more traditional organ music.  Harold Ferguson will also be performing on saxophone.  This event is free and open to the public.    

Staff writer Lianna Salva can be reached at

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