February 28, 2009

Kennedy Center organ embarrassing

Kennedy Center officials in Washington say they're in a dilemma over a pipe organ that makes embarrassing noises but costs too much to repair or replace.

The center's organ, installed in 1972, emits loud whining noises of its own volition, which is embarrassing during concerts, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The thing is non-functional, really, said Julian Wachner, music director of the Washington Chorus.

The organ was poorly constructed and renovations moved it 15 feet back, technically putting it outside of its original room and further hampering sound quality, said Irving Lawless, who is charged with keeping the organ going.

This one has been giving me gray hairs all along, Lawless said of the organ, noting a new organ would cost $3 million to $5 million.

The organ likely will remain as is. Raising money is more difficult than ever and the center has other demands such as bring the building up to code, said Claudette Donlon, a spokeswoman for the center.