In 1981, the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ was founded to maintain, protect and preserve the organ and inspire passion for its music. In 1995, with the organ nearing its 100th birthday, the Friends came to realize that this grand “King of Instruments” was in desperate need of critical repairs. The Friends pulled together and, with the help and support of grant funding and many generous donors, were successful in raising the more than $2.6 million needed to return the Kotzschmar to its true musical splendor.
The Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, a volunteer-driven organization, continues to ensure the sounds of the Kotzschmar can be enjoyed by future generations. Their fundraising efforts together with the group’s work in producing and promoting concerts, securing corporate sponsorships, and earning foundation grants makes it all possible.
Another important part of the Friends’ mission is education. Organ tours are available upon request. As part of this unique experience, guests actually walk inside the organ’s massive windchest and see the intricate inner workings of the pipe organ. Knowledgeable volunteers also regularly give lectures on the Kotzschmar and the science behind organ music to a variety of groups.
The Friends are also devoted to sharing the beauty and magic of the organ with the next generation. Kotzschmar 4 Kids is a curriculum for grade schoolers that integrates language arts, mathematics, music, science and social studies, using a small, portable pipe organ – the Kotzschmar Jr. or KJ – as the focus. For middle schoolers, they offer a science-based curriculum on sound wave energy and its relation to the pipe organ. New in 2018, the traveling Kotzsch-in-a-Box gives children the opportunity to actually build a working organ and see how one works first hand. The Kotzschmar Memorial Trust Scholarship, awarded every year, supports the musical education of students with promising musical talent.