Crystal Theatre says it can no longer maintain ‘Mighty Moller’
CRYSTAL FALLS — Crystal Theatre’s “Mighty Moller,” a theatre pipe organ, has been a favorite among theatregoers since it was first installed nearly 30 years ago. Recently, the theatre’s board of directors has had to address the organ’s severe deterioration and can no longer justify the enormous expense for repair and maintenance, said CT Manager Angie Dohl in a press release.
The Moller theatre pipe organ consists of three manuals (keyboards) and 21 ranks, (sets of pipes), Dohl said. There are more than 1,600 pipes, installed in the on-stage chambers, ranging in size from half an inch to over 16 feet in length. In addition, there is a battery of actual tuned percussion, drums, traps and sound effects installed in two chambers, located on either side of the proscenium.
The organ was originally built by the M.P. Moller Company of Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1927. It was originally installed in the Illinois College of Music in Chicago where it was used to teach accompaniment and scoring for silent films. The Moller was in storage in Green Bay for several years prior to coming to Crystal Falls in the late 1980s. It was in need of significant restoration then.
“A team of volunteers, led by the late Walter Krajewski, worked tirelessly to repair and install it,” Dohl said.
The Moller was not the original organ to the theatre. The original organ, a 1927 - 7 rank Hope Wurlitzer, was used to accompany the silent movies of the day. Once the “talkies” became popular, the organ was sold to a church in Caspian and later moved to Ohio.