PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — It is a baseball tradition dating back to 1941: the organ.
“There’s nothing more traditional than an organ, and having that atmosphere at the ballpark is something we wanted to bring back,” Matt Hoffman, the West Michigan Whitecaps’ promotions manager, said.
So this spring, the Whitecaps found and bought a classic Lowery Royale SU-500 and held auditions for an organist to play it on game days at Fifth Third Ballpark. Anne Tuuk showed up to try out.
“I had just retired from a church job,” Tuuk told 24 Hour News 8, “and some people I know and respect recommended that I audition for it.”
She was soon hired as the main organist for the Whitecaps’ 25th anniversary season.
“I have followed the (Detroit) Tigers most of my life and I’ve have been to Whitecaps games throughout the years,” Tuuk said. “I love what they are for the community.”
After 21 years of playing indoors at church, Tuuk found herself happily playing outdoors for the first time.
“I love that fresh air,” she said. “I love the casualness of it. I like to be able to watch the game and this vantage point is terrific.”
Rather than tucking Tuuk and the organ away in some back room, the Whitecaps placed her right on the concourse, just behind home plate and among the fans.
“We wanted to make sure it was visible,” Hoffman said. “It’s a great organ, it has all the bells and whistles. And a lot of fans can hear the music, but no one can actually see that someone’s playing it.”
Tuuk couldn’t be happier.
“I like the interaction with people,” she said. “I like how I can hopefully add to their experience when they are here. It’s nice that they want to honor the team and what they do for the community having purchased it and placing it here like they did. It’s an honor for me.”