Jul 13 2008

Theatre Pipe Organ

Published by

Louisville Pipe Organ Company  1928

Opus 531    2 manual /  6 ranks

Background – Original Strand Organ Project


In 2004, knowing the Strand would soon become a reality, David  Finkel along with his mother Carol Finkel of Shelbyville acquired Louisville Pipe Organ (LPO) Opus 531 built in 1928.   This instrument was originally installed in the Uptown Theatre in Louisville Kentucky.  Due to its manufacture date, the organ was built in the LPO Factory then located in Terre Haute, Indiana.   It was one of the last organs built by the firm.   Opus 531 is one of only two horseshoe two manual LPO consoles know to exist.  This console bears the LPO trademark “Uniphone”.


LPO Opus 531 was donated to the Blue River Community Foundation to retain ownership until a suitable owner could be established.  This happened anticipating a change of use of the Cinema 3, as the Strand was then known.   A 10 screen movie theatre was proposed and had officially filed their paperwork with the City of Shelbyville.  Economics of this situation would prove too much for the Cinema 3, thus allowing the Strand to come to fruition.   The organ was purchased before the Strand Theatre ownership change and renovation was officially started.


Background – Revised Strand Organ Project


The extent of the Strand Organ Project changed significantly as time progressed.   First and foremost the organs had to be protected.   As such it is paramount that the owner of the instrument be different from the Strand Theatre of Shelbyville, Inc, owner of the theater.


It was determined that the best long term solution was for the organs to be owned by the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society (CIC-ATOS).   The group has experience in owning and maintaining theater pipe organs.  They also have a membership structure in place that are interested and passionate about theater pipe organs.


While the project remains as a Strand Theatre project, CIC-ATOS will be a valuable partner in the long term success.   The project is being managed by and with the philosophy of the Strand Theatre.   The project is funded locally and as with the Strand, all funds will be spent locally whenever feasible.   The project will be inclusive, not exclusive.   The organ project will “build an audience, one seat at a time” just as the Strand Theater has developed their audience.


Good fortune has followed the Strand Organ Project.


It was known that there were several items needed to complete Opus 531.   Opus 531 was missing several items.   Those included the toy counter, swell shades, blower, harp, chimes, xylophone, orchestra bells and blower.   The acquisition process brought about a surprise for all involved with the project.   Many owners of LPO components allowed their items to be purchased for inclusion in the Strand project.   It became evident that the Strand was the last hope to preserve the sound of a Louisville Pipe Organ Company organ in a public venue.
The availability of items that were not originally anticipated lead to a pleasant revision of the original scope of the project.

Complete Organs:


Opus 512 – Oriental Theatre, Indianapolis, IN

Opus 519 – Oak Theatre, Louisville, KY

Opus 531 – Uptown Theatre, Louisville, KY

Concert Instrument from all Louisville Pipe Organ Company components.



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