It took a few more years to get the organ finished after the restoration of the theatre in 2009. Why on earth don’t leaders and committees always build the relatively small cost of the organ work into the main budget? Some do, but it seems that most just don’t. Anyway, the Pensacola folks seem to have gotten the job done and I sure hope they use it regularly.
It hadn’t been played since the 1990s until Thursday evening, when about 100 invited guests at the Saenger Theatre were witness to the rebirth of the Great Saenger Pipe Organ, a 1925 Robert Morton organ that has been literally part of the Saenger’s historic structure — the organ’s thousands of pipes are built into the Saenger’s walls — since opening night on April 2, 1925. Now, after a $400,000, four-year overhaul and renovation, the Great Saenger Pipe Organ is back — and now valued at $3 million.
“The heartbeat of the Saenger can be heard again,” said Sherri Hemminghaus Weeks, president of the Friends of the Saenger, a support group that led the fundraising effort to save the organ. “It’s so important to the people of Pensacola and the Saenger itself. It’s actually built into the walls. The Saenger was not complete until the organ was finally restored.”