MacPhail School of Music

1128 LaSalle Avenue (now the site of University of St. Thomas's Law School)
Minneapolis, MN 55403

(MacPhail had several practice and teaching organs by Moller. See separate entries. MacPhail is now located at Second Ave. So. and Washington Ave. in Minneapolis.)
Builder: Wurlitzer Organ Co., Op. 1156, 1925. Style "E" Special.
Manuals: 3
Ranks: 8
Action: Electro-pneumatic

Notes: In 1907, William S. MacPhail, an original member of the Minneapolis Symphony (now the Minnesota Orchestra), established the MacPhail School of Violin in Minneapolis. Due to the overwhelming popularity of its programs, including music history and harmony classes, the school expanded its offerings.

The newly named MacPhail School of Music and Dramatic Art moved to a new four-story facility located at 1128 LaSalle Avenue in Minneapolis. With the larger space, MacPhail saw increased community interest and soon expanded to offer college degrees.

Among the graduates of MacPhail’s class of 1927 was a young man whose musical dream would soon become a part of American culture, Lawrence Welk. After World War II, MacPhail’s enrollment grew. Along with violin and classical instruction, MacPhail offered courses in popular styles of music, such as jazz, reaching a wider range of students.

Eddie Dunstedter taught theater organ lessons at McPhail in the 1940s-1950s.

In 1966, four years after the death of William S. MacPhail, the MacPhail family gifted the MacPhail College of Music, with now 100 faculty members and 3,000 students, to the University of Minnesota. Under the University’s administration, the name was changed to MacPhail Center for the Performing Arts.

During its tenure with the University, program directors created revolutionary curricula for young children. In the late 1960s, MacPhail introduced an Early Childhood Arts program and one of the nation’s first Suzuki Talent Education programs. It would take more than a decade for similar programs to begin to be seen across the country.

In 1987, the University announced it would dissolve relationships with institutions that did not primarily serve college students. In 1994, after taking time to develop a board of directors and internal administration, MacPhail became an independent, non-profit organization. MacPhail moved to a brand new facility (near the new Guthrie Theater) at 501 South Second Ave. at Washington Ave. in Minneapolis in 2008.

Mark Dahlquist of Edina, MN had this instrument between the time McPhail dropped their theater organ program and this instrument going to Heights Theater (see below).

The organ is being added (circa 2018) to the existing Heights Theater Wurlitzer, Columbia Heights (Minneapolis), MN.

Twin Cities' AGO members.