March 25, 2013 4:17 pm

Frank Pellico and the United Center Allen Organ

Since 1991, Frank Pellico has played the organ to accompany Chicago Blackhawks home games. For three years, he played the Chicago Stadium Barton Organ, which produced a sound so rich that it literally shook the seats in the building.

When the the United Center opened in 1994, Pellico began tickling the keys of the custom-made Allen Organ, welcoming fans into the building as the doors open and providing a background to announcements and player introductions. Since becoming the team organist, he hasn’t missed a Blackhawks home game.

Shown below, the Chicago Stadium Barton Organ – among the largest pipe organs ever built – featured six keyboards and over 800 switches. When the team moved into the United Center, Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz consulted Pellico and gave him several options. The team could purchase a used organ, a new, modern, “funky” organ, or find a company that could try and recreate the sounds of the old Barton Organ. They settled on the final option, and purchased a custom-built organ through the Allen Organ Company of Macungie, Pennsylvania, a town outside of Allentown.

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