88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Polishing the Pabst Theater chandelier

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It's a yearly ritual at the historic Pabst Theater in downtown Milwaukee.  

Every February, crews climb into the attic, lay hands on a huge metal crank, and lower the Austrian crystal chandelier, inch by inch, for its annual cleaning.  

And it's a labor of love.

Each one of its 33,000 crystals are polished individually, using nothing but a mild glass cleaner and good old fashioned elbow grease.  Chief Engineer Samir Wahhib and Assistant Engineer Jason Millies oversee the two-day process.

The chandelier has adorned the ceiling at the Pabst since 1976, and it hasn't missed a show since.

Click the podcast player above to from the two men keeping the chandelier -- and the theater -- in prime condition for patrons.