To visit the Embassy Theatre and hear the Grande Page organ being played for the last time before it's taken to Indianapolis for repairs, you'll need a passport for the Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown event. The passport gets you into 12 museums and attractions for free noon-5 p.m. Sunday. (The organ will be played until 4 p.m.) Pick up your passport at any Fort Wayne Kroger or Old National Bank location, or download one at www.VisitFortWayne.com/BeATourist.
You could consider it an organ transplant — albeit a temporary one.
In a few weeks the Grande Page pipe organ will leave the Embassy Theatre for the first time in 26 years. It's going to Indianapolis, where Carlton Smith Pipe Organ Restorations will repair and fine-tune the instrument.
But don't despair — you'll get one more chance to hear it before it's shipped off to Indy. Cletus Goens will play the Grande Page pipe organ noon-4 p.m. Sunday at the Embassy, 121 W. Jefferson Blvd. Admission is free as a part of Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown. You also can go on a self-guided tour of the Embassy and Indiana Hotel lobby, built in 1928.
It is expected to take eight months to repair the Grand Page organ, which will be loaded onto a truck and shipped Oct. 8 to Indianapolis. The cost of the repair is expected to be $68,000, which includes a $27,075 Limited Asset Improvement grant from the Foellinger Foundation, according to an Embassy news release.
The Grand Page pipe organ is the reason the Embassy was saved from being torn down in 1974, according to the release. A group of organ enthusiasts rallied the community to save the building.
During the regular season the organ is played during black-and-white silent movies, the Festival of Trees, and every year at the Buddy Nolan tribute concert. Nolan was one of the organists who helped save the Embassy.
Installed in 1928, the Embassy's Grande Page pipe organ is one of three of its size built, and one of two still in its original home, according to the Embassy website. It was built by the Page Organ Company of Lima, Ohio.
In the 1920s theater pipe organs played an important role in accompanying the silent movies of the day.