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Eastman House Unveils Restored Pipe Organ

The George Eastman House will offer organ music this weekend the way its namesake experienced it nearly a century ago.

The Aeolian pipe organ has been restored to its original configuration. In George Eastman's time, only the wealthy could afford to have a pipe organ installed in their home, and that's what Eastman had, along with organists who would play for him on a regular basis.

But a portion of the organ was destroyed in a fire in 1949, just before Eastman's house was turned into a museum.  Recently the resident organist at the museum found that there was someone in California trying to sell the same type of organ. It was shipped here, and now, museum curator Kathy Connor says, it will be heard in its original glory, with more than six thousand pipes.

She says there will be a benefit concert Saturday night, and then on Sunday afternoon, you can hear the restored instrument played by various organists.

"And that's where anyone can come and for a museum admission they can get a chance to sit in the room just like George Eastman and his friends and family did, and actually hear it like George Eastman did ."

Connor says this is the largest residential  organ of its type that is still functioning today.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.