The Centennial Festival.
In the days leading up to the Centennial Anniversary, FOKO hosted a spectacular week long festival of concerts, master classes, and exhibitions to celebrate the Centennial of the Kotzschmar Organ. The Festival concluded on August 22, 2012 with a Gala Dinner and Concert on the day of the Centennial. Merrill Auditorium was filled to the rafters with music lovers joining in the festivities, hearing performances by a procession of luminaries.
At the close of the concert, the lights inside the organ were turned on, and the entire staff of Foley-Baker, Inc. marched onstage wearing hardhats and carrying a huge stepladder. While Ray Cornils and Peter Conte led the audience in an emotional rendition of Auld Lang Syne, the organ’s gold facade pipes were removed and carried off the stage, signifying the ceremonial start of the renovation project.
There was a palpable feeling of accomplishment and excitement among members of the FOKO community. By noon the following day, the stage of Merrill Auditorium was stacked high with wood crates, as the dismantling of the organ began in earnest.
—excerpt from John Bishop’s “A Brief History of the Centennial Renovation”