Chico State University seeks new home for Centennial Organ

Chico State University is searching for a new home for the Centennial Organ

Posted: Nov 26, 2019 7:47 AM

CHICO, Calif. – If you have attended a concert event at Chico State University’s Harlen Adams venue, you may have heard, but never seen the Centennial Organ. It is a massive musical instrument that is now in need of a new place to call home.


Interim Dean of the School of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Tracy Butts, describes the organ as grand and beautiful.
Action News Now Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough spoke with the Dean about why the Centennial Organ is slated to be moved.
She says the organ is a symbol of the kinds of things that can exist between the campus and community. She says the placement of the organ on the stage has proved to be a challenge and is also a safety hazard.


It is tucked in the far corner of the stage. It is larger than life. The organ weighs 12-thousand pounds. It sits 27-feet high.
Dean Butts says the university is looking for a new home because there are no locations on campus which can house the oversized organ. Currently it sits in front of the fly-rail; the area in which stage crews work to control lighting and props across the top of the stage. The organ prevents a visual line of sight for those on stage, which creates a safety hazard.


Chico State has until February 1, 2020 to find a new home for the organ based on guidelines from the college’s accrediting body. The university hopes to keep the organ local, and there is at least one interested party currently in discussion about a possible new home. The hope is to establish a relationship in which the organ can be utilized for more local performances so the community can enjoy the music.


There are also items within the organ which make it uniquely ‘Chico.’ The City of Chico donated lumber from the downed Hooker Oak for construction. A shin bone from a cow at the University Farm was incorporated, as well at metal from a local artillery range used to make the organ’s lead pipes.


If for some reason the current discussions to find a new, local home for the Centennial Organ do not work out, Dean Butts says the university has received some interest from Brigham Young University in Utah.
In the meantime, to hear the pipe organ in action, the 2019 Glorious Sounds of the Season event runs December 6 – 8, 2019.

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