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One-of-a-kind organ gains nationwide media attention

June 14, 2012

  • News Image
    Chris Keady B.A. ’10 plays the circular pipe organ in the Agnes Flanagan Chapel. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The world’s only circular pipe organ, housed in the Agnes Flanagan Chapel at Lewis & Clark, gained national attention from an Associated Press article and slideshow that appeared in newspapers from Seattle to Miami.

The chapel, which has 16 sides and a conical shape, presented an architectural challenge for organ builder Larry Phelps. The solution? Suspend the 4,000-pipe Casavant organ from the ceiling, allowing music to reflect off the floor and into the audience.

“It’s unusually difficult because the organist plays from the balcony and the organ is suspended from the ceiling,” said Lee Garrett, professor emeritus of music. “It’s one of the most unusual instruments in the country, if not the world.”

The Casavant organ is one of the unique music experiences Lewis & Clark students can enjoy, whether by learning to play the three keyboards or simply taking in a performance.

In this AP video, Chris Keady B.A. ’10 gives a brief overview of the sounds this special instrument can create.