CAPA aims to restore theatergoers' favorite old organ.

To fans of CAPA’s Summer Movie Series, it’s a nightmare scenario: What if the Ohio Theatre’s Mighty Morton—the 91-year-old pipe organ used before and after each film—stopped making music?

It hasn’t happened yet, and a recent fundraising effort is aimed at preventing that tuneless day from coming to pass.

Last spring, CAPA launched a campaign to raise $100,000 to refurbish elements of the instrument. Although up to $10,000 is spent yearly on maintenance, more extensive repairs are needed. The pipes are in solid shape, but the console has seen better days.

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“If you talk to someone, they would say, ‘When I press that key, I don’t get everything out of it I should,’” says Todd Bemis, CAPA’s vice president of theater operations.

Movie series organist Clark Wilson says problems include a worn console case, mismatched keys and wiring in need of replacement. During this past summer’s series, Wilson invited moviegoers to make donations, which helped raise about a third of the goal. The organization is turning to individual donors for the rest.

The plan calls for the organ to be used during the next year—including a Feb. 21–22 Columbus Symphony Orchestra concert and next summer’s movie series—before it is disassembled and sent out for off-site repairs.

When the project is finished, organ aficionados might be able to hear a difference, but for most audiences, it’s what they don’t hear that might matter most.

“When it doesn’t work right, that’s when we go, ‘Hey, something’s wrong,’” Bemis says. “That’s what we want to prevent.”


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