ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — The largest instrument in the world sits inside Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, and Friday, it will sound more powerful than ever.
“Really this is the first part of the instrument that’s been fully restored since it was constructed and that will be presented to the public for the first time,” explained Dr. Steven Ball, the Staff Organist and Outreach Director for Boardwalk Hall.
The Midmer-Losh organ is one of two organs in Boardwalk Hall and it’s not only the largest organ in the world, it’s also the largest instrument ever made. There are more than 30,000 pipes that span five floors in more than eight chambers. The instrument though was damaged less than two decades after it was built between 1929 and 1932.
“The organ fully functioned until 1944. In September of that year we were hit with a major hurricane. The organ was silent for at least a year. When it came back to life, it was only partially functional and has been only partially functional ever since,” explained Ball.
Now, organ restoration experts and volunteers are in the midst of a 10-year, $16-million-dollar renovation. Friday, a new chamber will play for the first time in decades.
“I would expect the organ will be about 35% functional tomorrow and I’m going to try to use every part of it,” said Ball.
“This is sort of like the Sonic Mount Rushmore, and the magic of all of this and the meaning of the $16-million-dollars is what will happen in the room that you can only experience in this space and so tomorrow is going to be a very powerful taste of even better things to come,” he continued.
The new chamber of the organ will be unveiled during a free concert at Boardwalk Hall tomorrow at 12pm. The Historic Organ Restoration Committee, the group responsible for restoring and maintaining the organ is a non-profit organization. To learn more, or to donate, click here.