Club Events 2018

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Our 2018 meetings are:
 

Sunday October 28th at Thorngate Ballroom Gosport when Andy Quin will be playing the Compton organ from 2.00pm. Admission £6 on the door.

 

Previous Events: 

It was a pleasure to welcome 61 members and friends to the Odeon Weston-super-Mare on Sunday September 30. Michael Wooldridge provided music, which ranged from Big Band to Beatles. The organ was in fine voice, as ever, thanks to last minute repairs by Ben and Anthony. It hasn't been touched since out last visit in May and such is the quality of British organ building, needed very little coaxing back to life. We continue to enjoy our visits to the Odeon and its fine 1935 Compton organ, only one of four remaining original installations in a working cinema in the UK and are grateful to Odeon Theatres for allowing regular events to be held. Thanks also to Michael for travelling from the Sussex coast to play for us, to Ben, Anthony and the team for keeping the organ maintained and to Steve Ashley, of  'Hot Pipes' fame for stepping in to compere the event. Please continue to support events at the Odeon - we can't do it without you.

 

Our annual event at the home of Veronica Trott on August 4th saw an appreciative audience enjoy the talents of Kevin Morgan at the Compton organ. Kevin's programme was diverse and musical, as one would expect, and ranged form Ave Maria to tunes with canine connections (for Veronica) and music with colour titles to show off the illuminated surround amongst others. Kevin gave detailed and light-hearted introductions to the music, which added that 'personal' touch to the afternoon. Organist, Joe Marsh, was on hand to end the afternoon's entertainment with some duets on the Hammond with Kevin on the Compton. All of which made for a friendly and relaxing afternoon. Thanks as usual to Veronica for making the organ and her home available to the Club, to Kevin and Joe for entertaining us and to Anthony for ensuring the organ was in good voice, despite the heat. More of the same next year.

Our early summer weekend event at Paul Kirner's Music Palace in the Rhondda Valley began with the official opening of our Style F Wurlitzer on Saturday 2nd June 2018. Paul Kirner did the honours and played a selection of hits from 1925 - the year the Wurlitzer was built, and it is surprising just how many hits from the 20s came around again and again
Paul, Ben and the team have done a superb restoration job on the organ and it sounds as good as new. Following the opening both the Wurlitzer and ex Edmonton Christie were thrown open to anyone brave enough to try them and it was interesting to note that, with the door closed between, it was impossible to hear both organs at the same time (depending upon where one was at the time). The Victorians certainly knew how to build. The standard of playing was high and we heard from professional organists and non-professional alike. Those who played were: Ben Snowdon, Grant Pilcher, Byron Jones, Joe Marsh, Alf Jackson, Robert Anderton, Keith Evans, Sarah Bryant, Bernie Brown and Cameron Lloyd.
The following Sunday (3rd) saw a large and enthusiastic audience enjoy the contrasting styles of Paul Kirner and Cameron Lloyd in concert on the Edmonton Christie. Stephen Dutfield played us in on the Wurlitzer.
Those who spent two days with us seemed to enjoy themselves and we will, no doubt, do it all over again next summer.
Thanks must go to Paul, Ben, Anthony, Steve and Gaye for making the whole thing go without a hitch. 

Following on from our April visit to Clevedon, our May event, at the Odeon in Weston-super-Mare, was well supported with around 70 members and friends finding solace from the sun seeking crowds who had jammed all roads into the town. Fortunately, our two organists, Len Rawle and Andy Quin, managed to battle through the traffic to provide an afternoon of entertainment at the Compton organ and piano (kindly loaned by Grant Pilcher). Len brought the console up and played a selection of music to suit all tastes as only he can, and he must have used every stop on the console both solo and in combination, we even got to hear the Solo Cello, and Len gave an object lesson in how to get the most from a fairly limited specification. Andy began his contribution with a selection of music connected with the weather - and not just the sunshine… He followed this with a demonstration of his total command of the piano which left the audience shouting for more, and after his final selection on the Compton, he moved back to the piano as Len once again rose into view for an organ and piano duet of 'The Black and White Rag'. Andy then joined Len on the organ bench for a final, impromptu performance which led to further shouts of "more". A splendid end to the afternoon of outstanding musicianship and entertainment. Our thanks to Odeon for continuing to allow us access to their original 1935 Compton organ, to Len and Andy for coming to play for us, to Ben and Anthony for ensuring the organ was in tip-top condition and to all who joined us at the Odeon - we can't do it without you.

 

 

 

 

It was very gratifying to welcome over 100 members and friends to the Curzon cinema in Clevedon for Simon Gledhill's concert on April 8th. Simon's programme was, as expected, superbly played and presented, with something for all musical tastes and which included some superb light orchestral music amongst the show tunes and standards. The finale was a superb rendition of Mikhail Glinka's exciting overture to his opera 'Ruslan and Lyudmila'. Unfortunately there was no time for an encore as the Curzon is one of those rare cinemas that still show films. The Christie was in fine voice, due to Ben Snowdon and his dedicated team to whom we send our thanks. Thanks also to the staff at the Curzon for making us welcome and to Simon for an outstanding afternoon's music.

 

 

Our March event at Louth was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, but we are grateful to local organist, Michael Crannage, who entertained those who did manage to get there, on both the Compton and Hammond. However, March 24th saw a full house at the home of Barry Earl when Club President, Phil Kelsall, entertained in the true sense of the word. Phil was on top form and members and friends went away with music literally ringing in their ears. It is hoped we can repeat the success in 2019 so if you missed it and wished you hadn't, then look out for details on this page. Out thanks to Barry for his usual hospitality and enthusiasm and to his band of equally enthusiastic supporters. Thanks to Phil for dropping in and bringing a little bit of Blackpool to Bedfordshire and to all who came and supported the event.

 

2018 got off to a great start when over 90 members and friends braved the freezing conditions to join us at Old Windsor on February 24th for our annual event with the Windsor and District Organ Club. Michael Wooldridge journeyed up from Sussex to start our 80th anniversary celebrations, and featured tunes from 1938 and H Robinson Cleaver's 'Shadow Serenade' amongst his choice of music for everyone. Michael also introduced one of his pupils, Lucy Crouch, who chose a selection from 'Mary Poppins'. Lucy's contribution was much appreciated by the audience and by the Club. The organ, which usually behaves its self impeccably, seemed affected by the cold weather and there was a drop in wind pressure, thankfully Grant was on hand and spent most of the concert in the chambers to ensure that the music could continue. Our thanks go to all at Old Windsor for their hospitality and for allowing us access to their Compton organ, to Michael for carrying on in a truly professional manner and to Lucy for playing for us. Thanks also to all the enthusiastic people who, rather than complain about the organ, enjoyed the music it produced.

 

 

Our final event of 2017 found us in the company of 66 members and friends in the spleadour of the Odeon at Weston-super-Mare. It is always nice to see and hear an organ in its original home, something of a rarity these days, and the Compton at Weston is a fine example of a 'working' cinema organ. It hadn't been switched on since our last visit in April, but apart from a bit of tuning it behaved impeccably, due to the loving care it receives from Ben Snowdon, Fred Smedley and Steve Dutfield, to whom we extend our thanks for keeping it in such good condition.
Stephen Austin and Cameron Lloyd provided a contrasting programme in contrasting styles with Stephen's refined, orchestral playing balancing Cameron's traditional 'Blackpool' entertainment. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the mixture and both organists enjoyed the 'in cinema' experience, a fitting end to 2017.


We will return in 2018, our 80th birthday year, with two more events, 'around the corner at the Odeon'.
Our thanks to Stephen and Cameron for travelling such long distances to entertain us and to Odeon staff for being so welcoming and to all our members and friends who have made it so very worthwhile by supporting us throughout the year.

Our event at Tibenham in September was well attended and those in attendance were treated to an informative and entertaining afternoon in the company of Vice-President, David Shepherd. If ever there was a player to get the best out of an organ, David is that organist and on this occasion both the Compton and the Wurlitzer were used to their full extent and both behaved accordingly. There was plenty of light music and each piece came with a full and personal introduction. It was nice to hear several theatre organists' compositions including Sydney Gustard, Bryan Rodwell, Henry Croudson and, of course, Joseph Seal.

It was nice to see former Irish theatre organist, Peter Held, in the audience and to hear him afterwards take advantage of the open console session.

 

Our thanks to David for a splendidly entertaining afternoon and to Grant and Rachel for allowing us once more into their home with their usual hospitality.
 
August 6th saw a smaller than wished for, but appreciative audience enjoy a silent movie afternoon at Ossett Town hall where David Ivory worked his accompaniment magic to Buster Keaton's 'One Week' and Harold Lloyd's famous daredevil escapade 'Safety Last'.
As usual, David entered into the spirit of the era, dressed in white tie and tails for the first film and in suitable 20s attire for the second.
It was a pity that the audience size wasn't larger, as David puts a lot of effort into his accompaniment work, however, it was good to see some new faces in the audience, which included some families and younger people who had come for the silent film experience rather than for the organ (although the organ was an integral part of the show), so maybe this is one way to encourage non-organ fans to future events where an organ can be appreciated for its entertainment value rather than in a solo concert environment…
It was also very nice to see Frank Hare in attendance, and to know he enjoyed the afternoon, along with fellow theatre organist, David Lowe.

 

 

 

It was a great pleasure to welcome Howard Beaumont to Markfield on July 29th, where an enthusiastic audience enjoyed his artistry on the ex Ritz Leeds Compton and the Hammond X77. The full house was treated to contrasting music ranging from Gilbert & Sullivan and Eric Coates to Yorkshire TV themes (Emmerdale, Heartbeat, Last of the Summer Wine and All Creatures Great and Small) and Big Band numbers. We even got some music in the Les Dawson style.
Another great afternoon of entertainment from Howard, and we thank Veronica for inviting us to her home and sharing her Compton with us again (we will return next August) and to Anthony Meads for tuning and tracking down the initial cipher, after which the organ behaved its self as usual.

  

The Club's 'Meet the Patron' weekend at The Music Palace in Porth on July 15th and 16th was, on the other hand, quite a success. The open console on Saturday gave the opportunity to try the Regal Edmonton Christie and it was nice to hear a variety of playing styles and a high standard of playing from those brave enough to try the organ.
The restoration of our Wurlitzer is coming along nicely and members had a chance to see the progress made thus far.
Sunday's concert by our 2017 Patron, Paul Kirner was well attended with around 90 members and friends in the audience, and those present were treated to a superb afternoon of music ranging from Tauber Memories and Musical Comedy Favourites to more recent favourites. Paul put a lot of effort into choosing a programme of themed selections, which was much appreciated and he seems to be very much at home on the Edmonton organ. Our thanks to Paul, Ben, Anthony and Baz for making us so very welcome and for continuing to make the Music Palace available.

 

Our meeting at Gosport on June 18th saw another smaller than usual attendance of just over 40 members and friends enjoy the contrasting styles of David Ivory and Bernard Tilley at the unique Compton organ. David is, of course, a great supporter of the Club who is always willing to give his time for the cause whilst Bernard hasn't played for us for many years, since the days of Ralph Bartlett and Granada cinemas, so it was great pleasure to welcome him back to the TOC, and we hope that it won't be so long before he plays for us again.
Bernard's programme provided 'big' sounds from the Compton with the accent on big band stylings and lush ballads whilst David's 'English' approach gave some nicely registered light music along with well thought out selections. Of particular note was Ernest Tomlinson's 'Little Serenade' and Andrew Fenner's arrangement of music from 'Carmen'.
A splendid afternoon's entertainment and, as usual, we send thanks to the Gosport and District Organ Club for allowing us continued access to their fine Compton organ, and to David and Bernard for taking the time to come and play for us.

 

                                                          

 

Howard Beaumont's March concert at Tibenham attracted a smaller than usual audience, which was made up for by Howard's superb programme which was masterfully played.
It was good to be able to celebrate Eileen's birthday on the day and those in attendance went home having enjoyed the whole event - which is usual at these Club events at White House Farm. It was nice to see organists Allan Skirrow and Cameron Lloyd.
Sadly, our next event at Tibenham, with Vice-President, David Shepherd, on September 16th will be the last Club presented concert, due to pressure of work on our hosts, Grant and Rachel. A lot of preparation and free time goes into presenting any theatre organ event and Grant feels he cannot give enough time to ensure that things run as smoothly as they do. So we at the Theatre Organ Club thank Grant and Rachel for allowing us to have the events we have had. This does not mean that the organs will fall silent nor will they be un-available to Club members, as Grant says that there will be informal gatherings in the future without the pressures of a concert environment, and the organs are always available for private visitors, either to play or just to have a look at, provided that these are pre-arranged.

photo by Cameron Lloyd 
 

The Club's first event at Weston-super-Mare Odeon on May 7th was a great success attracting an audience of 140, which was more that the other three screens put together. John Mann gave an excellent show, both musically and verbally, and enjoyed himself on the Compton. It was nice to have contributions from Sarah Bryant both solo and in duet with John (on the piano).
It was good so see some old friends, including former EMI recording engineer, Graham Kirkby and long serving TOC member, Gordon Crook. Gordon tells us he has been a member since 1948. Cameron Lloyd was also in attendance and it is he and Stephen Austin who will be playing the Compton for us on October 8th. If we can continue to get audiences of this size we will be delighted.
The organ was in good condition thanks to Ben Snowdon and the former WETOS team and it was good to see many WETOS members in the audience.

 

Our event at the home of Dorian Collins in Worcester attracted a smaller than wished for audience. However, this did not deter Simon Gledhill from giving his customary excellent performance. Simon's programme was everything one expects from a musician of his calibre and much thought obviously went into said programme, which ranged from lush ballads and show selections, some wonderful orchestrally registered light music, with a particular nod to organist Stanley Wyllie, and the show-stopping 'French Military March' by Saint-Saens. The Wurlitzer, which is a replica of the Tower Ballroom organ, behaved its self admirably and responded to Simon as if it knew it had a master at the console.
Our thanks to Simon for a stunning afternoon of music, to Dorian for allowing us to visit his home and to Damon Willetts for doing the washing up.
If you missed this event, we will make a return visit, and hopefully Simon will play for us again - so don't miss out.
Dorian and Damon will be playing for us on May 27 2018 at Tibenham - make a note in your diaries.

 

 

Our annual visit to Old Windsor on February 26th saw over 80 members and friends enjoy the musical talents of Andy Quin at the Compton organ. In a programme which ranged from Handel and Purcell to modern compositions by Andy himself, which included a piece from the latest 'Ab Fab' movie. Also included were some standards and a fun selection of 'Murder Mystery' themes such as 'Miss Marple', 'Poirot' and 'Midsomer Murders'. We were also treated to some superb piano solos which seemed to go down well with the larger than usual audience. The whole event ended with an encore on the piano of 'Ain't Misbehavin'.  The Club always enjoys its visit to Old Windsor where the team is most welcoming, and it is good to know that a new committee has spruced up the hall and is keen to use the Compton more, realizing what an asset it is, and it is thanks to the committee's publicity that a larger audience has been made aware that the organ is there. Our usual thanks to the Windsor and District Organ Club for their continued hospitality, and to Andy Quin for a superb afternoon of musical entertainment. We will be back next February and we hope to have Andy play for us at another venue next year, if not before. The Compton now has its own website and the link to this is shown on our 'Links' page.

 

It was a great pleasure to return to the home of Barry Earl in Leighton Buzzard on Saturday October 22nd when a large audience enjoyed the music of the master of melody, Len Rawle. Len produced some lovely sounds from the Wurlitzer and it is so very nice to be able to sit in comfortable and intimate surroundings and be serenaded thus. Len's association with the Club goes back many years and we are grateful for his continued support.
Thanks also to Barry for making his Wurlitzer available to the Club and for his hospitality. We plan to return in 2017.


 

Just when you think you have heard everything a particular organ has to offer, an organist comes along and proves you wrong. Such was the case at Gosport on October 2nd when David Redfern produced some big, round and warm sounds from the Compton organ. David had travelled all the way from Belper in Derbyshire to entertain, and entertain he did in a programme of popular music, which included extended selections from 'Guys and Dolls' and 'South Pacific' along with some lush ballads and CS Lang's 'Tuba Tune' to show off the more serious side of the organ. It was good to see regular attendees, but the overall audience size was very disappointing, especially considering the quality of the entertainment and the distance David had travelled. We will return to Gosport next year, however the future of the organ may be in some doubt so please make an effort to support events held here to show that it is a vital part of Gosport's entertainment heritage. The Gosport and District Organ Club is very proud of its Compton and of its association with the TOC, and would welcome new members. Meetings are held every month when members can play the Compton or just listen. Lunchtime concerts are held on a Thursday and the TOC funds celebrity concerts during the year. Contact Peter Buckles on 01329 310592 or email peter.buckles1@ntlworld.com for details.


 

John Mann's visit to Tibenham on September 17th was, as expected, an afternoon of first class entertainment with John on top form both musically and verbally. John managed to get some very Dome-like sounds from the Compton and handled the Wurlitzer like the expert musician he is. Once again we were treated to some organ and piano duets when Sarah Bryant took to the Wurlitzer, as well as solo piano from John and a couple of nicely played selections from Sarah. Hein was on hand to compliment the music with visual offerings and Walter also contributed, as usual, with lighting effects. As ever, we thank Grant and Rachel for allowing us to invade their home and everyone who helped make the afternoon another successful one. We look forward to our next visit in May 2017 when Howard Beaumont will entertain.



 

Our meeting at Markfield on July 30th saw a full house enjoy the contrasting styles of Joe Marsh and Paul Kirner.


Joe played a more traditional programme, with show selections, novelty numbers and other concert pieces which showed off the organ's orchestral capabilities, along with some lush ballads, whilst Paul played a programme of popular songs from the 1920s to the 1970s, and not a constant medley but all introduced with his customary flair for entertainment.


 
Both made the Compton sing out in their own, individual way.
It was good to see so many familiar faces and also to meet Philip and Sue, new owners of the Regal Torquay Compton.
Our thanks, as ever, to Veronica for making the organ available to the Club and for making everyone so very welcome. We shall return next year for more of the same.

Our joint Opera House Blackpool event on Saturday June 25th attracted around 100 members and friends, which was rather disappointing for us. However it did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of those who did support the event or the standard of musical entertainment.


Cameron Lloyd got things under way in typical Blackpool fashion, to be followed by the contrasting styles of Howard Beaumont, Simon Gledhill, Damon Willetts and David Ivory in the first half of the day.


 

Damon joined David for a spirited organ and piano duet in 'The Dream of Olwyn' during David's contribution.


After a short break Matthew Bason brought up the Wurlitzer before demonstrating the Blackpool sounds of the Allen Q316, whilst the Wurlitzer had a rest, and the official concert was ended by Tower Ballroom organist, David Lobban, who showed off his musicianship in non-dance mode.
Stephen Austin played in the audience for the evening's silent film presentation, which was Harold Lloyd's most famous movie, 'Safety Last', which sees him climb the side of a skyscraper, not for the faint-hearted.
It was expertly accompanied by David Ivory on the Wurlitzer, to an appreciative audience of just 30 or so people.



On Sunday June 5th nearly 70 members and friends enjoyed the John Mann experience at Thorngate Hall in Gosport, when our Vice President was on top form, both musically and comically. John was ably assisted on this occasion by Sarah Bryant who played a couple of solos on the Compton before some sparkling duets with John on piano. Whilst the Compton was the star of the show, it was good to have some variety. John also played some piano solos for good measure. All in all, a splendid afternoon's entertainment which was made all the better by being a warm and sunny one.
Our thanks, as usual, to Pete Buckles and the Gosport and District Organ Club for the continued use of their unique Compton organ and to John and Sarah for entertaining us so musically.
Don't forget John is in concert at the Troxy on July 26th and pays his first visit to Tibenham on Saturday September 17th, seating is limited at Tibenham so contact Grant for tickets either by post or via the Club website's email.

 


 

May 28th found over 40 members and friends witness Richard Hills give a superb afternoon's entertainment at Tibenham on both the Compton and Wurlitzer organs, and he seemed to enjoy himself as much as his audience. Richard was rather taken with the Compton and used it to its full potential, (and for most of the event) with his customary imagination, flair and musicianship, showing the Compton just who was in charge, and reserving the Wurlitzer for more sedate and romantic pieces.
It was nice to see our Vice-President, David Shepherd in the audience and it is hoped that he will be playing for us at Tibenham next year. It was also good to see members from as far away as Wales, Devon and the Midlands.
Thanks to Richard for a great afternoon's entertainment and to Grant and Rachel for continuing to allow us back and for providing refreshments and their traditional welcome.
The organs were in fine voice, due to a programme of repair and maintenance by Grant over the last few months.



 

Over 60 members and friends ventured to Old Windsor on February 21st to welcome Stephen Austin on his first visit to the Compton owned and maintained by our good friends, The Windsor and District Organ Club.
Stephen had chosen a programme to suit all tastes, from Bacharach to Ketèlbey and produced some very nice sounds from the organ, which he declared "a delight to play".
One of the nice things about Old Windsor is the welcome one receives from the team there, and the friendly atmosphere enhances the enjoyment of the day.
It was good to see Judith and Len Rawle and, of course, John Nunns who had travelled down with Stephen from their home in Poulton-le-Fylde.
Our thanks to Stephen and John for travelling such a distance to entertain, and to everyone at The Windsor and District Organ Club for continuing to offer their Compton to us. We have already booked a date for next year.


Around 40 people braved the cold to join us at Bilston Town Hall on Saturday November 21st to be entertained by David Ivory, Cameron Lloyd and Damon Willetts. David's programme was filled with good music which is rarely heard these days - and a great pity it is too - including selections from 'The Student Prince' and 'The Maid of the Mountains' and Philip Green's 'The March Hare' before joining forces with Damon on piano for a spirited rendition of 'Rhonda Rhapsody'. David seems to have found a much-needed niche in playing the sort of music that the theatre organ was built to have played upon it.
Bilston's own Cameron Lloyd provided a contrast with his cheerful brand of playing which was much appreciated by all, including his fan club, and with Damon on piano it all made for a relaxed afternoon's enjoyment, which ended with six hands in harmony as Damon took to the Compton, David the piano and Cameron the electronic organ for 'Sweet Georgia Brown' and, what seems to have become the Club's signature tune, 'An Earful of Music'.
Our thanks to Cannock Chase Organ Club for the use of their Compton organ, and to all three artists for providing easy-on-the-ear music.
We hope to return to Bilston in 2017.


David Ivory


Cameron Lloyd 

 

Damon Willetts

Sunday October 18th saw Andrew Quin make his first appearance for the Club on the Compton organ at Thorngate Halls in Gosport, and if you missed his Club debut then you missed a treat. As a professional composer, arranger and keyboard artist who works in TV and film, it is nice to know that Andy retains his affection and enthusiasm for the cinema organ. His programme at Gosport showed what a fine musician and organist he is and his entertaining and contrasting concert was thoughtfully themed and thoughtfully registered, with everything from popular standards to children's TV themes, a couple of his own compositions and JS Bach meets 'Autumn Leaves' in a very clever arrangement. Andy seemed to enjoy himself as much as his audience did. Our thanks to Andy for a memorable afternoon's entertainment, and to the Gosport and District Organ Club for continuing to make their splendid Compton available to the Club.



 

There were two very enjoyable Club meetings during August and September.

Firstly at 'The Barn' at Cannock Chase with Joe Marsh, who had journeyed down from Newcastle, and who played a most entertaining and well though out programme.


Secondly, Michael Wooldridge who made the trip from the Sussex Coast to entertain at Tibenham, and his choice of programme showed off both the Compton and Wurlitzer organs, and whilst we expect an array of sound from the Compton, the tonal variety which Michael obtained from the Wurlitzer showed what can be achieved with only five ranks and limited unification when careful registrations are used. Michael's tribute to his teacher, Bobby Pagan, which included two of Bobby's contrasting and most descriptive compositions, 'Copenhagen, You've Taken My Heart' and the short film suite, 'Celtic Snapshots' was particularly enjoyable.


 

Our thanks, as ever, to the organ owners and to Joe and Michael for travelling long distances to entertain. Both are valued friends of the Club, and their continued good will and support is very much appreciated.