ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

From: Charles F. Swisher, April 2001

Another contender for unusual pipe organ locations would be The Pipe Organ Concert Barn in Pleasant Hill, Oregon.

Owners Ken and Doris Ensele acquired the 2-7 Wurlitzer from the Golden State Theater in Monterrey, California and, in 1981, installed it in a large custom-built barn on their 40-acre property in Pleasant Hill near Eugene, Oregon.

It was enlarged to a 2-9 and Ken added, via midi, a Kurzweill Ensemble Grand Mark IV keyboard.

As far as is known this was the only pipe organ installation located in a quiet country setting in a rustic barn.

I began working with Ken and Doris Ensele in 1990, and, together with organist, Norman Kafka, the four of us produced numerous free concerts every week during the summer months for groups from local rest homes, retirement centers, school groups, Rotary Clubs, various senior citizens groups, and occasional private parties.

There were times when folks from a local convalescent home would arrive in a bus with their wheelchairs brought separately on a flat bed truck. It required a huge physical effort on everyone’s part to get the patients into their wheelchairs and up a low ramp into the barn. This often took more time than the actual concert itself.

The therapeutic benefits were always present. Often grumpy and restless at first, the audiences always relaxed and came away happy. The organ was set at floor level and could be quite loud at times, but everyone seemed to enjoy it, save one time when an elderly gentlemen shouted, "It’s too loud! I forgot to bring my hearing aid!"

Ken and Doris Ensele decided it was time to retire in 1995. The property, barn, and organ were sold and they moved to Minnesota.

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