The artists of 'Then and Now' keep the mood light at Albany Center Gallery

As a furniture maker, Peter Leue is exacting and precise.

As a sculptor, he's a little more relaxed, creating whimsical and fun pieces.

They're kind of my toys, said Leue, of Albany.

One of Leue's most elaborate toys will be on display at the Albany Center Gallery beginning Friday, Jan. 2. That's when the exhibit "Then and Now" opens. It includes "Musical Chairs," Leue's sculpture consisting of 20 stools attached to a reed organ. Each stool is painted white or black, representing a note. When someone sits on one, the organ plays the corresponding note.

Years ago, Leue got parts and pieces of two reed organs with no real idea of what he was going to do with them. Around the same time, he helped do some work on the organ at his church, and he was inspired to put together "Musical Chairs."

"It just kind of came to me all of a sudden," he said, noting that chairs are "inviting."

The piece didn't come together quite as quickly. In fact, Leue has spent about eight years working on it.

"It's the largest sculpture I've ever done," he said.

Leue envisions one day having 10 people, representing 10 fingers, sitting and standing to play a real song on Musical Chairs. He would have loved to do it at the "Then and Now" opening reception, but he figured it would be a little too chaotic.

"It simply won't be heard," he said with a laugh.

But he's working with a friend through his church to compose a piece that he hopes to have performed on "Musical Chairs." Then he'll have a video to post on the Internet, which he hopes might someday attract the attention of a buyer.

In the meantime, anyone who visits "Musical Chairs" at the Albany Center Gallery is invited to take a seat and see what happens. The show runs through Feb. 7.

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