Andy Crow Wurlitzer Organ Endowment Fund
“This gift shall be used for the purposes set forth in the Andy Crow Wurlitzer Organ Endowment Fund held at The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound to support the maintenance and preservation of the Andy Crow Wurlitzer Organ”
Lehne Organ Performance Fund
“This gift shall be used for the purposes set forth in the Lehne Organ Performance Fund. It is my desire that distributions from this fund be used to support the maintenance, repair, promotion, concerts, marketing, and any other efforts connected to the organ at The Center.”
In 1924 The Liberty Theatre opened as a vaudeville house, and housed an impressive 2/9 Wurlitzer organ. The Liberty Theater was renovated and refurbished in 1948, becoming the Olympic Theater movie house. Andy Crow began taking care of the organ in 1962 when he received a call from the theatre manager to see if he knew anything about the organ, as it was in serious need of attention. Andy was thrilled to have an excuse to work on the instrument, and engaged Les Lehne to help. Together they began maintaining the instrument – and acquiring more pipes!
In 1971 Andy acquired the instrument himself. In the early 1980’s The Olympic was completely rebuilt as the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. During this renovation, Andy removed the organ to storage, and during the mid-1990’s Phase II capital campaign, the organ was completely refurbished and installed in the Center. It is now considered one of the premier instruments in the Northwest.
The Washington Center Board of Directors established an endowment for the preservation and maintenance of the Andy Crow Wurlitzer Pipe Organ in the spring of 1999. In February of 2001 the organ suffered extensive damage during the Nisqually earthquake, and underwent major repairs. In 2003, after Les Lehne’s passing, the Les Lehne Organ Performance Endowment was established. In July of 2016, Andy Crow passed away, leaving a legacy of arts stewardship behind. We remember both fondly whenever the organ trumpets out a tune, or our community gathers for another performance on this magical instrument.
Today, the organ is in excellent working condition; however it requires yearly tuning and maintenance, as well as small adjustments before each performance. Without this kind of expensive regular maintenance, the instrument would quickly deteriorate.