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In Southwest Mississippi: Natchez man hosts pipe organ concert from his garage

NATCHEZ — Before Burnley Cook could open his garage door Friday night, local residents and music lovers were walking up his driveway searching for a front row seat to an evening of organ music.

Once a year, Cook opens up his garage to play the organ that fills nearly half of the space with an organ console, pipes of all shapes and sizes and various other instruments and wires connected to the instrument.

A local musician and piano tuner by trade, Cook recently refurbished the old pipe organ from the old Baker Grand Theater that used to stand in downtown Natchez. For more than three years, Cook pieced together the old pipe organ that was removed from the theater when it closed more than 50 years ago.

The restored organ currently sits in Cook’s garage, where he regularly plays music for the birds and for the neighbors, who Cook says look forward to his playing. In recent years, Cook has hosted Facebook concerts during Christmas and other events to highlight the organ and its capabilities.

Once a year Cook hosts an impromptu organ concert in his driveway and invites the community to come, listen and ask questions about the historic instrument. Cook hopes that the organ will one day find a permanent home in a large theater space or auditorium.

Until then, he said he will keep playing the organ from his garage to the delight of audiences in his backyard.