The Friends of the Saenger, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization. Gifts are tax-deductible to the extent of current IRS regulations.
Friends of the Saenger (FOS) is proud to announce that our next project in our continuing effort to improve the Saenger Theatre is the complete restoration and enhancement of The Great Saenger Pipe Organ. In addition to restoring the console and pipes that have been hidden in the walls of the Saenger (some since 1925) we are going to greatly increase the size and capacity of the organ. When finished, the The Great Saenger Pipe Organ will rival any of the great theatre organs in the country. The “Heartbeat of the Saenger” will be restored.
To help us achieve our goal, Friends of the Saenger has teamed up with internationally acclaimed pipe organ builder and musician Tom Helms. As a resident of Pensacola, Tom has made it his mission to make The Great Saenger Pipe Organ among the finest in the country. “When we are finished, the Saenger Pipe Organ will be larger than the organ at the Fox Theater-Atlanta or the organ in the Chicago Theatre,” says Tom. “It will even compare to the organ at Radio City Music Hall. When this new organ is unveiled, it will make a significant impression in the theatre and music world. Northwest Florida will be proud of The Great Saenger Pipe Organ.”
Pipe Organ Demonstration
Would you like to hear a demonstration of a similar theatre organ? This segment of All Things Considered on NPR highlights the pipe organ at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. The Paramount is home to one of the country's few surviving and working Wurlitzers. It was built in 1927 when the theater was built and the man who plays it does a great job of describing and demonstrating all the bells and whistles that are associated with organs like our very own Great Saenger Pipe Organ. Listen here.
We need to act now! Recently Tom noticed that the vintage components our project requires were suddenly available at great prices. Tom brought it to the attention of FOS and suggested that “now is the time” to proceed with the restoration project. He said that by moving ahead now, we can restore this jewel at a fraction of the cost. We all agreed and quickly sent him to Oregon to bring back the first of many pipes to come. The process has already begun and we need your help to finish this exciting culmination of the Saenger’s restoration.
Tom Helms and Sherri Weeks invite you to be a part of this historic project.
Of course, this magnificent organ won’t be restored to its original glory without donations. After much research, we have determined that we can restore and enhance The Great Saenger Pipe Organ for approximately $330,000. When the restoration is complete, the organ will be valued at over $3 million. It will provide future audiences with thrilling concerts to rival any theatre organ in the country.
If you would like to be a part of this historic project please fill out the form below.
What We Have
The following is a list of components that have been at the Saenger since 1925. These need to be restored or repaired at a cost of approximately $230,000.
|Ranks||# of Pipes|
|SNARE DRUMS II||N/A|
|CABLE / WINDING / FRAMING||N/A|
What We Need
To make our pipe organ a world-class instrument, we need to add the following components. The cost to purchase, repair and install will be $100,000.
|Ranks||# of Pipes|
|VIOL DE ORCHESTRA||146|
What is a Rank?
The pipes are situated in rows called ranks. Each rank contains many pipes. For instance, the violins listed above has 146 individual pipes! These photos show several ranks of pipes located at the Saenger. When the restoration is finished, our organ will have 52 ranks. For comparison, the Radio City Music Hall organ has 58 ranks.