Photos on this page courtesy Jeff Cushing of Ann Arbor, MI

The Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor houses a 3 manual, l3 rank Barton theater pipe organ which was installed in l928 and played until the mid l950's on a regular basis.

The instrument suffered some water damage in the l960's but was restored to full working order in the early l970's by members of the Motor City Chapter of ATOS.

Since l972, the organ has been used every weekend on both Friday and Saturday evenings to provide music between the screenings of feature films. There are presently four house organis s including Jim Leaffe, John Lauter, Newton Bates, and Henry Aldridge.

The instrument still has its original electro-pneumatic action and has been only slightly modified since l928. For many years, the organ was maintained by Ben Levy. Since his death in 995, the instrument has been maintained by Scott Smith of Lansing.

The Michigan Theater was converted to a performing arts center in l979 and is now used for the screening of feature films, concerts, lectures, and plays. The organ continues to be heard on a regular basis by the filmgoing public but is also used with the Ann Arbor Symphony, for silent film accompaniments, and for solo recitals.

The theatre was saved by a small group of organ enthusiasts who were able to enlist the support of civic leaders in Ann Arbor. The theater is now operated by a non-profit foundation which fully supports the organ.


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