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Local musician, craftsman keeps pipe organ music alive
SACRAMENTO, CA - There are still a few people around that can remember going to the movies and not actually hearing the movie.
Back in the 1920s and early 1930s, moviegoers would thrill to live music played on a theater pipe organ, punctuating and complimenting all the film action.
But with the advent of "talkies" in the 1930's, the old pipe organs that used to grace thousands of film palaces nationwide quickly became a part of history as many of the relics were tossed aside in favor of movies with sound.
But for Carmichael resident Dave Moreno, preserving and maintaining the silver screen's rich history is all part of a day's work.
Moreno, a musician and craftsman by trade, now is one of the area's premier experts in building, installing and taking loving care of some of the handful of surviving pipe organs still in service around northern California.
"We are preserving our history," Moreno said.
Moreno's interest in the pipe organ began when he was a just a child who decided he wanted to play every instrument in the orchestra.
Moreno said he was introduced to the pipe organ and, with a full orchestra of sound at his fingertips, he was well on his way to his lifelong career.
There are a few theater pipe organs still in existence in the Sacramento region, including the largest one at Grant Union High School, which Moreno also maintains.
"There's not that many people who make a living installing organs, making organs, playing organs and doing silent movies," Moreno said. "I'm kind of a rare breed, I guess."
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