WMU News

Renovated pipe organ graces Dalton Center lobby

Oct. 5, 2004

KALAMAZOO--A small pipe organ built by WMU graduate James P. Lauck was installed Oct. 4 in the lobby of the Dalton Center at Western Michigan University.

Lauck is the owner of the Lauck Pipe Organ Company in Otsego, Mich. The organ installed in Dalton lobby was the first built by Lauck, and it was purchased in 1975 by his alma mater at the request of then-WMU organist Kim Kasling. It was used for student practice.

"It's really just a baby," says WMU's Carl Doubleday, describing the organ. "When most people think of pipe organs, they think of those huge instruments in churches and cathedrals that can rattle the windows in houses a block away. This organ is very gentle." Doubleday is associate director of the School of Music, a church organist in Kalamazoo, and once taught music theory to Lauck, when the organ maker was a student at WMU.

Lauck's "Opus One" organ is a three-rank, mechanical-action instrument and was first housed in a dressing room of the Little Theatre, which in the 1970s was used by the School of Music and was known as Oakland Recital Hall. Opus One was moved to a practice room in the Dalton Center when the center opened in 1982. It was removed from the center by Lauck in 2003 to be renovated and custom refitted for security in a public lobby.

Lauck received his undergraduate degree in biology and applied music from WMU in 1972.

The organ is fully functional and will be used on special occasions for performances and receptions in the Dalton Center lobby. A public premiere performance of the organ is tentatively planned for November.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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