Pump It Up

Organ lovers turn off the lights and get busy.

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Every few weeks at Oberlin College, a group of conservatory students carries on a strange, noble, and increasingly popular tradition — the Friday Night Organ Pump. They meet at midnight at Finney Chapel, flip off the lights, and crank up the pipe organ for an hour of classical music laced with silly contests and sketch comedy. At the end, the audience — which is usually large — mobs the stage to feel the king of instruments shake the floor. "We want to expose the organ and its music to a wider audience, but we also want to have fun doing it," says Organ Pump vice president Jonathan Wessler. "The organ has a reputation of being exclusively a church instrument. We want to change that perception."

Wessler doesn't reveal too many advance details about tonight's program. It's not that he won't; he can't. Much of the schedule is put together at the last minute or is improvised. "But it always seems to turn out OK," he says.
Sat., March 18, midnight

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