Ryan Chartrand

A giant pipe organ is currently being assembled in the Performing Arts Center – its new, permanent home. Members of the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center (FPAC) hope to announce dates for the organ’s debut concert later this summer.

Volunteers from all over San Luis Obispo County gathered outside of the PAC on June 19 to help transport pipes, frames and casing for the CB FISK Opus 129 organ into the Christopher Cohan Center.

“(The organs) are very much in demand,” said FPAC Executive Director Randy Brion. “If we would have waited even a couple more months (to place the order), it would have taken at least two more years to receive the instrument.”

The actual assembly of the organ’s parts is expected to take up to six weeks, but the organ won’t be ready to play until spring 2007, Brion said.

“This instrument is capable of playing a piece by, say J.S. Bach, with the same style and mechanical approach of when it was first composed,” Brion said. He added that the organ is built using mechanics rather than electricity and is therefore “sensitive to the touch of each individual human being” who plays it.

Although the PAC was designed with the idea of having a large-scale pipe organ in mind, serious talks of obtaining the instrument didn’t arise until 2000, when it quickly became a popular FPAC project. The organ was eventually selected by the FPAC, using funds donated by Bert and Candace Forbes.

The FISK organ was selected specifically for its high performance quality, and FPAC members thought the organ would greatly improve the musical experience for community members and performers alike.

“If you’ve never heard an organ, (the FISK is) more incredible than the most incredible synthesized organ,” said Dennis Kish, a current member of the FPAC Board of Advisers and FPAC founder.

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