Leopold aims to restore Lucas Theater pipe organ - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Leopold aims to restore Lucas Theater pipe organ

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Stratton Leopold looks at a pile of dusty metal and wood sitting in a downtown Savannah warehouse and sees history.

He also sees a future he is now trying to make possible.

"This wonderful pipe organ was in the Lucas Theater starting in 1921," Leopold said, looking out over the hundreds of separate pieces stretched out across a concrete floor. "You can only imagine going in there on a hot summer day, a 15 minute free concert."

Leopold is starting a capital campaign to rebuild the Wurlitzer pipe organ and re-install it at the Lucas, a project that will cost at least $300,000, according to the American Theater Organ Society.

"I would love to get a community effort," he says. "I'd love to get everyone in Savannah, get school kids involved, get everyone involved for the pipe organ. Save the pipe organ."

Leopold has already saved it once.

The organ was being stored in Atlanta and was days away from being destroyed when he got a call that it was available.

"I said, 'oh my goodness, that can't happen,'" he said. "It's got to go back in the Lucas Theater."

Leopold is driven by the sound, the feel and the atmosphere the organ would create for live performances and movies at the Lucas, even authentic sound effects for silent films.

But his real motivation is to restore a piece of Savannah's past that has been missing for decades and was nearly lost forever.

"It will be something," says Leopold. "It will be something Savannah will love and talk about. It'll be great for tourism, it'll be great for local folks, it'll be great for everyone to have it back in place. That's the objective and we're going to do it."

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