COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — In the lavishly restored Heights Theatre, organist Lou Hurvitz is resurrecting musical scores from the past.

“The original use for these organs was to accompany silent movies,” said Hurvitz from the organ console.

His musical numbers sound so grand and vibrant when he plays the tunes on a 1920’s-era Wurlitzer pipe organ.

“Some of the organs, not many sadly, were saved. Thank goodness for this one,” added Hurvitz.

The organ he is playing was once used to perform live radio programming on WCCO in its downtown Minneapolis studios. The Wurlitzer was moved to the Heights Theatre nearly 20 years ago to anchor live pre-movie entertainment.

Lou’s musical career has a military connection. For 23 years he served in the U.S. Army bands, from the Pentagon to West Point and all the way to Berlin. He has performed at inaugurals for President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

“I had the chance to serve my country and do what I love, it don’t get better than that,” Hurvitz chuckled.

The retired Sergeant Major will perform in concert on September 19th. The performance will be an opportunity to raise funds to help further restore the old pipe organ.

It currently has some 1200 pipes and could expand by an additional 900 for a fuller, more complete sound.

“There’s a lot of people who come to the Heights because of the organ. Like I say from the console, we don’t show commercials here, we have live organ music,” explained Heights organist and member of the American Theatre Organ Society, Ed Copeland.

In the hands of a musician like Lou, the keys and pedals and pipes will fill the theatre with melodic marches and soft ballads.

“It’s exciting for me to play in my home town or home region especially on a gorgeous instrument like this,” added Hurvitz.

It will be Lou’s musical salute to our past — to secure a grand instrument’s future.

Lou’s concert will take place Thursday, September 19th beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Heights Theatre.

For ticket information click here.

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