Springfield third graders build working pipe organ at school

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Third-grade students at Two Rivers-Dos Rios Elementary School have built a pipe organ, combining fine arts and science education in a single classroom project.

Music teacher Dana Mahoney received a two-year grant from the Lane County Cultural Coalition with help from the Springfield Education Foundation to fund the project.

“This is something we’ve never done before,” Mahoney said.

“Oh it’s so wonderful to be a music teacher. All of a sudden they have that moment of gestalt, 'ah ha, that's how it works!'” Mahoney said. “I can't tell you how excited I am that we got the opportunity to do this.”

The organ itself is built from a kit developed by Orgelkids, an educational curriculum developed in the Netherlands.

"It's a very ancient instrument," said Erin Scheessele, Executive Director of Corvallis-based Orgelkids USA. "The great composers composed for it and so it has a very important place in music."

Volunteers from the Eugene Chapter of the American Guild of Organists assisted the students in building the organ.

Students will follow up with a field trip to Beall Concert Hall for an organ concert, as well as a visit to the pipe organ at the United Methodist Church in Eugene.

The project combines fine arts and music education with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) for the 200 student participants.

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