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Detroit Theater Organ Society – January 2019 Update

Written by: Lindsay Robillard, Playing Member, Detroit Theater Organ Society

The Detroit Regional Chamber and General Motors Foundation’s NeighborHUB grant program is fueling the reorientation of the Detroit Theater Organ Society (DTOS) and Fisher Theater’s original theater pipe organ by providing seed funds to reinstall the marquee. This is all part of a project called Welcome to the Senate that will transform the vacant lot next door to the Fisher Theater and allow DTOS to present free family-friendly film screenings to reintroduce the Senate to its surrounding community.

To bridge the gap between the $30,000 grant and the marquee cost, the DTOS launched a fundraising campaign to match this amount. We are proud to announce that on Jan. 5, 2019 we exceeded our goal by $5,000! It was an organization and community-wide effort led by the volunteers and members of the DTOS who reached out to family, friends and patrons of the theater’s organ and film series to invest it its future.

To celebrate reaching our goal, DTOS hosted a tribute screening of the David Bowie concert film, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. It was the brainchild of Senate volunteer, neighborhood resident, freelance writer and one half of the tarot reading twins of GeminEye Tarot. Having grown up attending concerts at the Senate with her grandmother, Zoe Villegas had long dreamed of seeing her favorite glam rocker in all his glory on the silver screen of her neighborhood landmark.

The collaboration between Zoe and the DTOS board of directors to mount Stardust at the Senate pioneered a model for the future—a model for how the Senate can become a true community cinema. It was Zoe who raised the funds to cover the costs of film rights. It was Zoe who put together an incredible evening with special elements like What’s Snappin Productions photo booth and their David Bowie backdrop. She had the vision and the Senate had the space. Together we made dreams come true for Detroit’s Bowie fans and Senate supporters.