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Recent graduate Peter Shilliday assembled a theater organ in his dorm room. Photos by B.A. Rupert

When you think of a stereotypical dorm room in a residence hall, theater organs don’t typically come to mind.

Hear Peter Shilliday share his experience with public radio KMST’s John Francis:

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That didn’t stop Peter Shilliday from installing one in his room at Missouri S&T. Shilliday, who recently graduated with honors from S&T, majored in computer engineering. He also learned to read music during his time here.

Many college students like modern music and guitars. But Shilliday became a fan of 1920s jazz and theater organs. He assembled his organ, which has two keyboards and a pedal board, on a budget. Everything connects to computer monitors and speakers. The organ bench and pedal board were donated by the St. Louis

Theatre Organ Society, of which Shilliday is a member. In fact, some parts came from the famous Fox Theatre.

Late at night, when others at Thomas Jefferson Residence Hall were presumably studying or sleeping, Shilliday would play straight through his headphones to avoid making enemies.

Now Shilliday has a high-tech job at Garmin in the Kansas City area. We’re guessing he’s figured out a way to take his customized instrument with him.

by Lance Feyh

Learn more about places to live while attending Missouri S&T.