Open house at the American Organ Institute offers a behind-the-scenes workshop and a showcase of newly restored organs 

Open House
University of Oklahoma American Organ Institute
Monday, 6 to 8 p.m.
2101 W. Tecumseh in Norman
325-7829, aoi.ou.edu

Organs may be favorites of churches and phantoms of the opera, but the University of Oklahoma American Organ Institute would like to give the rest of us an up-close look at what makes these room-sized instruments bellow.

The institute, 2101 W. Tecumseh in Norman, opens its doors to the public Monday for an open house. Organ enthusiasts and newbies alike can see the inner workings of a pipe organ shop and have an opportunity to listen to the instruments from 6 to 8 p.m.

At the institute, students learn to restore, refurbish and revive organs, and Monday's public viewing coincides with the final restoration of two organs.

Students and instructors are eager to show off the finished results of a practice instrument that has been at the site since 1970, as well as a historic 1924 organ that recently arrived. The idea is to give visitors a chance to see inside, behind and around these instruments before they make their way to their permanent homes in the School of Music, said Jeremy Wance, master's student in organ technology.

The event is a good chance for an in-depth look at the process behind these now-restored organs. Few have the chance to see just how the instruments work, let alone how they're made.

"(People) will not have the chance to see a shop like this (or) see what goes into building, restoring and maintaining pipe organs," Wance said. "You see it at church, but you don't see what's behind there that makes the instrument work."

For more information, call 325-7829 or visit aoi.ou.edu. "Nicole Hill

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