About Friends of the
Kotzschmar Organ

Founded in 1981, Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ (FOKO), is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that supports the Kotzschmar Organ. Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ maintains and preserves the organ, in addition to producing and promoting concerts and managing the Kotzschmar Memorial Trust Scholarship.

More on the history of FOKO

How Friends of the Kotzschmar
Organ (FOKO) Started

Sometime in 1980, I (Peter Plumb) got a phone call from Russell Burleigh, who was then the general manager of the Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO). At that point, I had become president of the PSO board, but that wasn’t really why Russ was calling. He knew I was an amateur organist and interested in the Kotzschmar Organ. A gentleman named Abbott Pendergast had just walked into Russ’s office. Mr. Pendergast had presented Russ with a check for $10,000, which he said had been inspired by his friend, Berj Zamkochian, who performed each summer on the Kotzschmar Organ. For many years, Berj had been the principal organist at Boston Symphony Hall and had a particular affection for the Kotzschmar. Berj had told Abbott that the organ was in serious disrepair and needed a lot of help. At that point, the city had abandoned the organ entirely after the last municipal organist had quit in a rage in 1978 when the long-time curator had moved to Florida and the city refused to hire a replacement for him. Only about half of the organ actually worked. Russ’s question to me at the time was, “What do I do with this check?” ....

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By: Peter Plumb, Founding Member of FOKO and Clerk of the organization


FOKO Mission Statement:

“… to preserve and maintain and
promote through a program of
public concerts and education
the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ.”


Since its inception, it has been important to use the Kotzschmar Organ to enrich the lives of those that live in and around our community of Portland, Maine. In the early days, this included free concerts, discounted tickets for those who wanted to experience the organ but may not have had the resources to, low cost “open console hours” for new and young organists to practice on the organ, and back stage tours to show the public the nner workings of this complex and fascinating instrument. Many of these opportunities are still available today. However, with the advent of social media platforms, FOKO is committed to reaching out to our ever-widening audience to promote and share the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ.