SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Castro Theatre, San Francisco’s famed historic movie palace, is well-known for screening movie classics and festival favorites to the backdrop of a stunning Baroque facade.

But locals who frequent the theatre know it’s the organ music that often steals the show.

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Now some changes are ahead for the Wurlitzer organ that’s called the theatre home for the last 30 years. Keeping in the tradition of providing organ music to show-goers since 1922, the nonprofit Castro Organ Devotees Association has designed a brand new instrument for the 21st century.

The current owner plans to sell the current Wurlitzer. Taking its place is a digital organ with seven keyboards and over 800 stops — likely to be the largest console of its kind in the world.

The current Wurlitzer organ. (Photo courtesy of CODA)

The current Wurlitzer organ. (Photo courtesy of CODA)

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“This will not merely include some after-market General MIDI modules with ‘a few nice strings’—it will be the most expressive, gigabyte-heavy, instantaneous-response-time live performance orchestra in existence, with its own custom-designed independent sound system,” according to a statement on CODA’s website.

Acclaimed digital organ builder Allen Harrah is designing the console pro bono. What would have cost million of dollars for a full pipe organ this size now comes with the modest price tag of $700,000.

The group is raising funds for the completion of the organ through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo. So far, they’ve raised nearly $16,000 of the $40,000 needed.

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