Working at Northrop during the month of May, all I seem to hear is "Pomp and Circumstance" floating through the hallways and getting stuck in my head. No, I'm not going crazy from the stress and lack of sleep from finals week - Northrop's organ is just getting its workout with all the graduations taking place here!
In case you haven't met Northrop's organ yet, let me introduce you. It's full, official name is Æolian-Skinner's Opus 892, but I lovingly refer to it as Opie. Opie was designed Ernest Skinner and built during the year span of 1923-1932. It was installed by G. Donald Harrison in four stages from 1932 to 1935, soon after Northrop opened its doors for the first time.
Opie's a romantic concert hall pipe organ, which is a classic American style. While he's not the biggest or loudest, he's still pretty darn impressive by my standards. With 7068 pipes that vary from the size of a pencil to 32 foot tall monsters, the organ takes up a space above the balcony that's equal to the width of Northrop's stage!
Opie hasn't gone unnoticed in the social circle of organs and organ fanatics, either. In 1999, the Organ Historical Society named him as an "exceptional historic merit worth of preservation."
Recently, I got to climb around in the space where Opie's plethora of pipes are housed, and thought I'd share some photos so you could see for yourself!
So all you current graduates, past graduates, and future graduates, when you hear that epic tune signaling the culmination of your years at the U, think of Opie!
- Melissa Wray,