THE FLINT THEATRE ORGAN CLUB
AND BARTON 3-11 PIPE ORGAN
The Barton pipe organ currently resides at the Flint Institute of Music (FIM) in the MacArthur Recital Hall. It was formerly in the Capitol Theatre, in Flint, having been installed there in 1928.
The Flint Capitol Theatre Organ Club was formed by a small group of pipe organ enthusiasts in 1967 with meetings taking place on Saturday nights after the last evening show. In 1970 club members began work on the restoration of the organ which had deteriorated over the years.
On October 2nd 1976, the Capitol Theatre closed its doors and the club was instrumental in getting the Butterfield Theaters to donate the organ to the Flint Institute of Music, thus keeping it for use in the local community.
Organ club members and several other interested parties dismantled and moved the organ to FIM in November, 1976. They spent the next 14 months making the full eleven ranks completely operable. All sounds emanating from the organ are produced by either wind blown organ pipes, real percussion instruments, or real special effects (police siren, car horn, bird call, train whistle.)
In January, 1979, the club purchased a player piano and made adjustments to connect it to the organ. It is painted to match the Barton and can be played either with the organ or by itself. The club purchased a set of orchestra bells and 16' diaphone which are also connected to the organ.
Members of the Flint Theatre Organ Club as it is now named, have given countless hours of their time in the restoration and improvement of the instrument. This is especially true of a small group known as the "work crew", who gave weekly of their time and skills to its maintenance.