The Miss America pageant won't be the only attraction making a return in Atlantic City next week.
The pipe organ in Boardwalk Hall, the largest of its type in the world, will play during a 10-minute pre-show for the pageant preliminaries and finals. The organ hasn't been played for audiences for decades but organist Steven Ball told The Press of Atlantic City that the instrument is about 30 percent restored.
Sharon Pearce, president of the Miss America Organization, said organizers are excited to have the organ played again at the pageant.
"It is fitting that the return of Miss America to its original home in Atlantic City will correspond with the rebirth of another vital symbol of the destination,'' she told the newspaper.
Constructed in the late 1920s and early 1930s by a Long island, N.Y., company, the 150-ton organ was literally built into Boardwalk Hall. It was used during the Miss America pageants in the 1930s, but was damaged by flooding during a 1944 hurricane and later fell into disrepair over the following decades. It also suffered damage during a renovation of Boardwalk Hall in 2000.
The nonprofit Historic Organs Restoration Committee is raising funds for a 10-year, $16 million full restoration of the instrument.
Ball said the first piece he will play will be a John Philip Sousa composition titled "The Atlantic City Pageant March.''
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