Glen Tallar plays on the organ at Beggars Pizza in Lansing, Illinois.

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Illinois Pizzeria Brings Old-Time Charm with a 92-Year-Old Organ

A 92-year-old organ entertains thousands of pizzeria diners in Lansing, Ill. with music from Disney songs to Frank Sinatra.

A pizza is arguably good by itself, but there is magic in listening to music while biting into a bubbling, cheesy pizza.  Every Tuesday and Friday, the diners at Beggars Pizza in Lansing, Illinois, enjoy pizza as the music flows from a 92-year-old Barton Theatre Organ.

The restaurant is housed in what once was Lans Movie Theater and the organ stands at the bottom of what was once descending rows of theater seats. The theater charm remains through flashing lights outlining the interior as the organ pumps out melodies. A set of instruments from marimbas to drums surround it throughout the dining room. The organ itself has three manual keyboards, 247 stop tabs (so a player can change the sound quickly), and 17 sets of pipes called ranks which each produces an original sound from clarinet to trumpets to even drums.

The organist, Glen Tallar, tells Chicago Tribune that he gets “requests for everything from the William Tell Overture and the Wedding March to Frank Sinatra and Lady Gaga.”

“Of course, I get lots of requests for ‘Happy Birthday’ and for Disney songs from the kids,” he said.
Tallar is the owner of GT Organ Associates in Frankfort, Illinois, where he promotes maintenance, restoration, and repairment of antique organs. He began playing at Beggars when he was 14.
“The thing that’s most amazing is when families come in here and are mesmerized by something that is over 90 years old,” he said. “The fact that this organ can still entertain this generation is incredible.”
He plays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays.