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Ore. chapel’s circular pipe organ is one-of-a-kind

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The chapel at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., was built in a circle. It’s an architectural marvel, but for people designing a pipe organ to fit the building, it was something else.

A big headache.

An organ builder named Larry Phelps found the solution: Build a circular organ.

Instead of playing from a bench on the ground level, organists play from a balcony.

Instead of pipes being arrayed before the audience, they hang from the ceiling, bouncing sound off the floor.

Organ curator Lee Garrett says the circular pipe organ at the Agnes Flanagan Chapel is the only one of its kind in the world.

The electro-pneumatic instrument and its 4,000 pipes turned 40 last year. It is now one of the music school’s best recruiting tools.

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