Public Museum kicks off organ series with a ‘spooky’ twist

Buster Keaton's "The Haunted House" will be featured in the opening concert.
Buster Keaton’s “The Haunted House” will be featured in the opening concert.

Join the Grand Rapids Public Museum for the first Mighty Wurlitzer Organ Concert of the 2016 series with performances by Scott Smith on Friday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct. 15. Titled “Fall, Fun and Flicks,” Smith will play a variety of genres including a special spooky twist.


Just in time for Halloween, Smith’s performance on the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ will be accompanied by the short, 20-minute silent film “The Haunted House” starring Buster Keaton. Other selections will be a patchwork of eras and genres.


Born and raised in Lansing, Michigan, Smith began performing on the Barton organ as a teenager at the old Michigan Theatre. While the theater was demolished in 1980, Smith, who at the time was seventeen, saved and restored the organ. He later opened his own business, Scott Smith Pipe Organs, LLC, a full-service pipe organ business that restores both church and classical pipe organs. Today, Smith performs many concerts accompanying silent films, gives lectures on the history of pipe organs, and has published several articles in various pipe organ journals.


Shows will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, and at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15, in the Meijer Theater at the GRPM.


Tickets for individual concerts are $10/general, $8/Museum members and $5/children 17 and under. Tickets bought in blocks of 10 or more are $8 each. Season Ticket packages are $50 each for the general public and $45 for Museum members. Tickets are available by visiting or by calling 616.456.3977.


The second concert of the series will be “Broadway to Big Band” performed by Lance Luce on Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov.19, at 2 p.m. Luce’s performance will include a variety of musical styles.


The third and final concert of the series will be Holiday Classics on Friday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m. by Dave Wickerham. This holiday classic is a sellout show, great for the entire family. Tickets are recommended to be purchased early.


The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ

The Wurlitzer Company of North Tonawanda, New York, manufactured and shipped Opus #1836, a “3 manual special,” to the Stanley Theater of Jersey City, New Jersey, on Feb. 9, 1928. The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ spent two decades entertaining customers at the Roaring 20’s Pizza Parlor on 28th Street in Grand Rapids, before it was moved to its current location at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.


The Grand Rapids Public Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, with its main location in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For additional information including hours of operation, admission fees and exhibit/event listings, please visit