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DePauw University Organs

The School of Music was established on the campus of DePauw University in 1884, evolving from a small department begun in 1882 by Professor of Mathematics John P. D. John. The School of Music was open to three classes of students: candidates for the Bachelor of Music; candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Literature in the College of Liberal Arts; and “persons who wish to pursue music to greater or lesser extent.”  Those in the first group were required to have two years of piano study before entering the school and to continue that study during the freshman year. After that they could choose piano, organ, violin, voice or any orchestral instrument.

In 1911 Van Denman Thompson joined the School of Music faculty. He worked with School of Music Dean Robert McCutchan to improve the daily chapel programs.  A student quartet was formed to lead hymn singing until the new Casavant organ could be installed in Meharry Hall in 1913. Thompson also formed a chapter of the American Guild of Organists on the DePauw campus in 1925, and he was a major factor in the growth of the School of Music.

In 1976 the School of Music moved into its new home in the Performing Arts Center. The new facilities contained the Kresge Auditorium, Moore Theatre, Thompson Recital Hall, classrooms, practice rooms and seven organs.  In 2007 the organs in the organ studio and organ practice rooms were moved to their new spaces in the Judson and Joyce Green Center for the Performing Arts.

Organ study has been an integral part of the School of Music since 1884, and DePauw graduates have become successful church musicians, organ builders, ministers, university professors, private music instructors and conductors.