Author Topic: Reports of previous Compton Organ concerts at the Odeon WSM  (Read 29035 times)

Paul W Dolman

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Reports of previous Compton Organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« on: March 15, 2006, 05:05:16 PM »
Compton Organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-super-Mare.



A 3 manual (third is coupled to borrow from the other two) 6 rank organ.


Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2006, 05:11:50 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by PHIL KELSALL
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 23rd January 2005
Concert Report by Peter G Young – WETOS Publicity Officer

With the weather looking every bit like winter should, with snow on the hills and a bitterly cold wind, it was reassuring to see a "Full House" at the Odeon. But what else would we expect for a show with the Blackpool showman himself, Phil Kelsall at the console.
Phil, born in Warrington, remembers visiting the Blackpool Tower at the age of 8 and hearing Reginald Dixon perform at the Wurlitzer in the ballroom which was later to become an integral part of his own life. Following private music studies Phil came to the notice of the then Tower organist Ernest Broadbent and following his recommendation Phil became a member of the Tower Circus band. Soon afterwards he was deputising in the Ballroom, and on the retirement of Ernest Broadbent early in 1977 Phil became resident organist at the world’s most famous theatre organ, at the age of 21.
As he approaches his 29th season in the Tower Ballroom, Phil made his third visit to the Odeon and once again, it was a triumphal return.
The console rose from the depths to the tune "Oh! I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside" and we were off on a roller-coaster ride of popular music with a selection from the shows including "The King & I" with Shall We Dance, followed by The Phantom of the Opera. "My Fair Lady" was represented by On The Street Where You Live and We Could Have Danced All Night, as well as songs from "Mack & Mabel" and Sandy Wilson's "The Boy Friend" which included some wonderful percussion sounds, before the selection closed with some big theatre sounds in Nothing Like a Dame and Oklahoma.
Phil paid tribute to the Weston Compton and made mention of it’s 70th. Celebratory Concert coming up on 22nd May 2005. For this connection he played a selection of 30’s – 40’s music. Amongst these was Manhattan, and What Is This Thing Called Love.
We were reminded that 7th May also sees the celebration of 70th Anniversary of the opening of the Blackpool Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer. There may be return only transport available for this date from Blackpool. Contact Fred Smedley.
The concert continued with "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", and some very smoochy sounds with Young at Heart. Phil then went over to the more traditional Blackpool sound starting with 42nd. Street and Tiger Rag. Following closely were Knightsbridge March (the theme tune for the BBC ‘In Town To-Night’ programme) 12th. Street Rag and others in similar tempo. Phil had fun with the selection of comedy effects on the Compton in this medley including the bird whistle, motor horn, and fire bell, with the steam whistle evident in Sweet Georgia Brown.
Phil chatted about his new DVD release ‘Dance The Night Away’ - 67 minutes of strict-tempo dance music with thirteen rhythm changes and some superb pictures of Phil at the console, along with others of Blackpool Illuminations and of course the Tower Ballroom. He then played a selection of tunes featured on the disc including bossa-novas Just Walking In The Rain and I Can’t Stop Loving You, Friends & Neighbours set off the disc for the 'Balmoral Blues' sequence dance, and swing numbers Happy Feet and The Charleston. Mack the Knife and a reprise of I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside brought the first half to a close.
The Odeon staff provided refreshments in the auditorium and there were soon long queues for the tea, coffee, cakes and ice-creams. It was announced that because of a necessary up-date of the Odeon box-office system tickets for Robert Wolfe's concert on 27th. February 2005 would not be available ‘till after the up-date on Monday. We then had a slightly longer interval than usual to allow the ‘Full House’ audience time to take advantage of the refreshments
The second half started with the Trolley Song. This was a ‘all guns blazing’ performance with the train whistle and bell again in evidence and some very fancy footwork on the pedals. A contrast followed with The Sound of Music and from the same show My Favourite Things, then Hello Young Lovers from 'The King and I', together with a simply superb version of One Alone using the Carillon stop. Serenade from 'The Student Prince' made famous by Mario Lanza was followed by another tempo change with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  All I Ask Of You and the full organ arrangement of Phantom Of The Opera, both from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical of the same name rounded off this selection from stage and screen musicals before Phil complied with a request for No Matter What
A mention of birthdays brought a request for Happy Birthday for audience member Len who was 60 then came the marches Colonel Bogey, The Dambusters and the Radetsky March. Phil moved into Latin mood for the tango Jealousy, Eleanora, the Mexican Hat Dance and El Relicario before pausing to mop his brow - either because of the tremendous effort he puts into his music, or because of the effect of the warm lighting under the seat... probably both!
The concert drew towards its close with some straight organ sounds for Jerusalem, the Easter Hymn and How Great Thou Art. These led on to My Way and an extended arrangement of Phil Kelsall's original signature tune Thank You For The Music, before another plug for the DVD in the shape of Let’s Face The Music And Dance. That led into a final medley including When I Take My Sugar To Tea, The Lady Is A Tramp, Goodnight Sweetheart, We'll Meet Again and a repeat of Phil's current signature tune - adopted 20 years ago after the death of the great Reginald Dixon - I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside, a tune which still rounds off every evening in the Tower Ballroom throughout the summer. Rapturous applause and shouts of ‘more’ followed from the audience, many getting to their feet, and signifying a very big ‘thank you’ to ‘The Master Of The Tower’, Blackpool that is!

Concert Report by Peter G Young 30 Warrington Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 5AH Tel 0117 977 2971

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2006, 05:31:44 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by ROBERT WOLFE
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 27TH February 2005
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society



Photo by P W Dolman

We travelled on a Rail Replacement coach from Bristol to Weston-Super-Mare on this very cold but brilliantly sunny day to join the packed auditorium in the Odeon cinema to hear and see Robert Wolfe play the 3c/6 Compton organ.  We were not disappointed as he proceeded to entertain us with a wide musical variety with something to suit all tastes in his continuous and fast moving programme.  Certainly not all were played in the Blackpool style and several light classics demonstrated his ability to render some memorable arrangements of familiar tunes whose titles were sometimes difficult to recall before he had already moved on to the next tune.  His use of the quiet tones of the organ together with the haunting sounds of the vibraphone and the lingering bell-like sounds from the percussion section lent atmosphere to his interpretation of several of his songs.  Equally the Klaxon was brought into use on appropriate occasions.
His brisk introduction of Cole Porter’s ‘Another Op’nin’, Another Show’ and ‘From this Moment On’ provoked our anticipation of what was to come.
Robert had phoned home to Norwich in Norfolk and found it was snowing there, so he was glad to be in Weston and pleased that so many of us had come to see him on such a cold day.
Robert promised to spend most of the time playing with minimum talk and commenced with some slow and romantic tunes starting with that marvellous ‘LOVE EVERLASTING’ - a piece made his own by the late HUBERT SELBY.  I thought that that tune alone was worth attending the concert to hear!
‘Falling in Love With Love’ and ‘Lover’ followed and then a contrasting march, some Ivor Novello music featuring ‘The Leap Year Waltz’, Waltz of My Heart’ where Robert swayed in time obviously enjoying it as much as we were.  These tunes were intermixed with more marches ’Liberty Bell’, ‘Old Comrades’ and a Spanish Waltz ‘Espanol’.
Robert had received requests already that included something from ‘Mack and Mabel’, and after stating he had been at his present residence at the Thursford Collection playing Wurlitzer for 25 years he gave his rendition of  ‘I Won’t Send Roses’.   ‘Delicado’ followed – this was made very popular in the ‘50s by Percy Faith and his Orchestra.
A sudden change of tempo with a lovely tune ‘A Brown Bird Singing’ gave us some quieter moments to savour again the bell-like sounds of the Compton.  Robert continued to contrast this with more fast moving well-known tunes of the light classic type so that at no time could one become bored with the sameness of the moods.  He plunged enthusiastically into his boisterous version of  ‘Somebody Stole My Girl’ with plenty of keyboard gymnastics well beyond the capability of all those present. 
That is why we came to see him give such a marvellous performance.  Before the Interval Robert played his beautiful luxury tibia arrangement of  ‘For You’, ‘Charmaine’ with a tinkling cascade of sounds to be contrasted once again by ‘The Old Piano Rag’ with a fast tour of about every note on the  manuals.
This culminated in a lightning sequence of ‘waterfalling’ on all three manuals.  He descended to thunderous applause into the Orchestra Pit and the Interval followed for us to catch our breath.
‘A Wonderful Day Like Today’ and ‘Nights of Gladness’ by Charles Ancliffe and the March ‘Vienna’, burst forth onto us for the second half with undiminished energy from Robert.
He next played a selection of songs and tunes from Stage, Screen and Radio together with more requests.  ‘Tambourine’ being the first, made more famous by James Galway with his magic flute and contrasting with ‘The Devil’s Gallop’ from Dick Barton.  The ‘Knightsbridge March’ came next and this featured years ago as the signature tune for the radio programme ‘In Town Tonight’.  The words ‘Pretty Violets Sir’ come to mind as quoted by a street flower-seller of that time.
Mozart’s 2nd Movement Theme from his Piano Concerto No 21 was given the quiet bell-like sounds again used to great effect with this slow and haunting classic.
It must be said at this point that Robert has a prodigious memory because all of the many notes and harmonies he played were entirely from memory.  I have problems with the titles let alone the music!!
‘Everything’s In Rhythm With My heart’, ‘With A Smile And A Song’, ‘The Sea’, ‘Rose Marie I Love You’ were amongst a string of tunes to which Robert treated us.  His arrangement of ‘The Legend Of The Glass Mountain’ displayed the majestic side of the ‘straight’ Compton without tremulants, and was followed by ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now’ and ‘One Of Those Songs’.  Here the showmanship of this artiste really went to town with unimaginable dexterity in his playing.
Robert said how he had enjoyed being at Weston in the unique venue of a cinema with its original working organ that was installed in 1935.
He finished his concert with the ‘Fascination Waltz’, ‘Carolina Moon’, and ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’.
He descended once more to the sounds of Encore and re-appeared to entrance us with his expert rendering of more fast finger work and ‘waterfalling’ with ‘Hold That Tiger’ then making his exit with ‘Here’s To The Next Time’.
The Presenter Stephen Dutfield thanked Robert for a wonderful concert and we look forward to seeing him again at Weston in the future.
The next concert will take place, not next month, but on Sunday 17th April 2005 at 2pm when the Artiste will be CHRIS POWELL.
The 70th Anniversary Concert will take place on Sunday 22nd May when two Artistes will entertain us.
They will be LEN RAWLE and PETER HAYWARD.

Concert Report by Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2006, 06:04:23 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by CHRIS POWELL
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 17th April 2005
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society



Photo by P W Dolman

Mr Fred Smedley, the Chairman of WETOS, welcomed our latest Artiste to play the 3c/6 Compton organ on this day of somewhat inclement weather at Weston.  To a backdrop of a blue bordered film screen CHRIS POWELL entertained us with his programme of familiar lively music.  The spotlights came on to focus on the colourful console rising from the pit on its lift to the sound of his signature tune, ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now’.
Chris thanked the audience for attending on such a bad day and apologised for the weather that had been sunny when he set out from Coalville in Leicester.
He cheerfully dispelled any gloom with his bright and breezy delivery and promised to get our feet tapping with his opening selection of Marches and said he would not mind if we chose to join in with the words of any of the tunes we might know.
Following the strident sounds of the Marches, a quiet rendition of ‘I’m Getting Sentimental Over You’ using the open harmony style provided a distinct contrast and was coupled with ‘I Know Him So Well’ from Chess.
Music from My Fair Lady included ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Luverly?’, ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face’, ‘With A Little Bit Of Luck’, ‘On The Street Where You Live’, ‘Get Me to the Church On Time’ and finishing on an ascending chromatic cresendo.
Quiet opening chimes preceded the lovely and impressive ‘Nun’s Chorus’ by Johann Strauss.
This was followed by the complete contrast of ‘You’re Driving Me Crazy’ ‘You’re Nobody’s Sweetheart Now’, ‘Whispering’, (Applause) ‘Mood Indigo’, ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and  ‘Shake Rattle And Roll’.
The ‘Overture’ to ‘Orpheus In The Underworld’ came next with an invitation to any ladies in the audience who might like to join in dancing the Can-Can at the end.  Regrettably on this occasion there were no takers.
To round off the first half Chris paid tribute to the great Reginald Dixon MBE, Master of the Blackpool Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer, who would have been one hundred years old last October.  Some of the tunes he played were, ‘Beside The Seaside’, ‘Rosalie’, ‘Fascination Waltz’, and ‘Tiger Rag’.
The Chairman thanked Chris for a wonderful first half.  He then told us he had managed to fill more seats by bringing twenty-four more people to the concert.  They are members of the Saltford Walking Club augmented by others from the Thornbury Walking Club. We all cheered his worthy contribution.
He further reminded us that the AGM with light refreshments would take place immediately after the concert at the Conservative club directly across the green from the Odeon cinema.
The Interval arrived but was somewhat curtailed in time due to later film commitments.
Chris commenced his second half of the concert with his usual signature tune.  He then said how nice it was to see ‘Come Dancing’ back on the BBC and he used to play for the Dancing Championships held at Blackpool where people would come from all over the world to participate.  His favourite dances were the Latin American when the women would wear the most revealing dresses that he could see in the rear view mirror so thoughtfully added to the organ by Reginald Dixon.
His choice included, ‘The Spanish Gypsy Dance’, ‘Viva Espagnol’, ‘Tea For Two’ (cha-cha), ‘Isn’t This A Lovely Day To Be Caught In the Rain?’, ‘Amarillo’, ‘Jealousy’, ‘Cavaquina’, and ‘Tico-Tico’ .
‘Suitable music for a Sunday afternoon’ gave us some lovely waltzes featuring among others such favourites as ‘Roses From the South’, ‘Vilia’, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘The Blue Danube Waltz’.
Finally Chris invited the audience to join in with a good old ‘Singalong’ such as many former organists used to do at the end of their live broadcast concerts.
So we all ended up singing to his selection of, ‘Sing As We Go’, ‘Follow The Band’, ‘Deep In the Heart Of Texas’, Singing I, I, Yippee I’, ‘We’ll Meet Again’, ’Sing As We Go’ and ‘Beside the Seaside’.   Chris obliged with an Encore of the fast moving ‘Twelfth Street Rag’ and once again descended to the depths to great applause.  The Chairman duly thanked him for a wonderful concert and hoped that we would see his return soon.
The 70th Anniversary Concert will take place on Sunday 22nd May when two Artistes will entertain us.
They will be LEN RAWLE and PETER HAYWARD.
Tickets £6.00 Tel 01934 625282 Credit and Debit cards or by Post with SAE to:-
The Odeon, The Centre, Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset  BS23 1UR
Concert Report by Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2006, 06:08:14 PM »
70TH ANNIVERSARY THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT
Starring Peter Hayward and Len Rawle
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 22nd May 2005
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society



Photo by P G Young

We entered the auditorium, purchased our copy of the 70 Years Commemorative Programme and took our seats.
On this momentous occasion the Odeon audience was duly requested to stand by the Master of Ceremonies, Erica Davies.   We then duly received the Deputy Town Mayor, Councillor Mrs. Paula Howell with her escort Mr. Christopher Howell, Councillor John Crockford Horley and honoured guests.  Their presence being announced by the stentorian voice of the Town Crier, Pluto Brian Venn and his loudly ringing hand-bell. When all were settled we were reminded that this was a return visit for the Deputy Mayor as she had been invited to the WETOS opening ceremony five years ago. We were then given a brief historical summary of the past fortunes of the organ and those responsible for saving it from destruction and invited to sit back and enjoy the music of two World-renowned artistes, namely, Peter Hayward and Len Rawle.
Peter commenced his programme with ‘Theatreland’ and then gave a creative rendition of ‘Lonely Ballerina’. He said it was like painting in colours and to that end he manually adjusted the console surround lights to match his music changing them to a cold blue for ‘The Dance Of The Icicles’.
He said that he was really an electronic organist but it was such a pleasure to play the theatre organ and he would explore all the sounds that he could find during his concert.
‘Once In A While’ preceded ‘Love Walked In’ and then with the use of the percussive chime sounds he played ‘Bells Across The Meadow’. Peter completed his first session with the Tango ‘Jealousy’ and the organ went down on its lift. After a slightly less than lightning change the organ re-emerged but carrying into view, this time, Len Rawle.
‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ heralded his performance and he followed this with ‘Stars Fell On Alabama’ using quiet vibes and bells. A very expressive ‘Begin the Beguine’ led to ‘September In The Rain’ but we had had quite a lot in May as the corridor to the right of the auditorium had become flooded. ‘When I Take My Sugar To Tea’ was followed by ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ using some very high pitched voices on the organ. An immediate change in tempo gave us ‘S’wonderful’ and ‘I Wanna Be Like You’, then a Spanish Dance and ‘O Sole Mio’.
Len told us of his past involvement with improving the sound of this organ, especially regarding the extra bass voices added electronically to an otherwise weak pedal department. He mentioned Frank Pridham who had been the person who started the re-discovery and renovation of the organ back in the 1980s with the then newly formed Bristol Theatre Organ Group.
Len rounded off his performance with a novelty tune ‘Honky Tonk Train’ that rhythmically imitated the train until it finally slowed things to a halt for the Interval.
After the Interval Len Rawle returned with ‘Anything Goes’ and ‘As Time goes By’.
Len explained that the fairly rare addition to the organ pipes in the form of a ‘Solo Cello’ had been extensively overhauled and repaired by the WETOS team and was now working well for the first time in very many years.
It consisted of one string along which are ranged pitching fingers that are operated from the console keys. A rotating wheel coated with rosin is pressed against the string as a ‘bow’ to produce the sound that is then amplified and put through a horn speaker and beamed into the auditorium. Len demonstrated the effect with careful consideration for both the instrument and the audience. With some very careful sound mixing the result was a delight and a tribute to the very many hours of work put in to its renovation.
He continued with ‘Fools Rush In’ and a request for some ‘Ho Down’ music to get the feet tapping.
Len completed his programme with ‘Bugle Call Rag’ by Sidney Torch.
With the final changeover Peter Hayward took his place on the illuminated organ bench and treated us to ‘The Petite Waltz’. He entertained us with a contrasting mix of tunes that included ‘Butterflies In The Rain’, ‘Canadian Capers’, ‘Stranger In Paradise’, ‘This Is My Beloved’, ‘Stardust’, ‘Red Sails In The Sunset’, ‘Deep Purple’, ‘Sally’ and ‘Sing As We Go’.
For the combined Encore both Len and Peter managed to perch side by side and play ‘Prelude in Classic Style’ written by Gordon Jacob as an interactive duet, which went down very well (on the lift), to enthusiastic applause from a packed auditorium. The Audience slowly filed out after showing their appreciation of a good afternoon’s entertainment of good music by consummate artistes who travel and work hard for our pleasure.

Edited Concert Report by Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2006, 06:14:59 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by DAVID IVORY
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 11th September 2005
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society



Photo by P W Dolman

On a very dull overcast but dry and cool day we joined the audience at the Odeon cinema in Weston-Super-Mare to hear and see David Ivory play the Compton 3c/6 organ. 
Presenter and Technical man Stephen Dutfield welcomed the audience to the concert, and in particular those who had travelled from other parts of the country.  He then introduced with great enthusiasm an Artiste on his first visit to this area, namely DAVID IVORY.
He informed us how David plays the sort of tunes ideally suited to the Theatre Organ, specialising in songs of the twenties and thirties, the sort that have stood the test of time in many of our memories. Likewise he plays Popular Classics and ‘Middle of the road’ favourites.  David is presently resident organist at the Wurlitzer of the Mechanical Music Museum at Cotton in Suffolk.
David opened his programme with a ‘Family Favourite’, ‘With A Song In My Heart’ and followed this with music from the Movies.  These included a string of well-known tunes such as ‘Button Up Your Overcoat’, ‘You’re The Cream In My coffee’, ‘Somewhere There’s Music’, ‘Give My Regards To Broadway’ and ‘The Chorister’s Waltz’.   
Next came a selection of Harry Woods’ hits, ‘Over My Shoulder Goes One Care’, ‘Dancing With My Shadow’, ‘You, Hoo, Hoo’, ‘Whispering Waltz’, ‘You Got Me Walking On The Tips Of My Toes’ and ‘We’ll All Go Riding On A Rainbow’.
David then played some ‘Memories of 1955’ in the shape of ‘Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing’, ‘Softly, Softly’, ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’ and ‘Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White’.
Two lesser known pieces by Katelby came next with ‘Chal Ramano’ and ‘Phantom Melody’.
Songs made famous by Gracie Fields included, ‘Sing As We Go’, ‘Isle Of Capri’, ‘Sally’, ‘Little Old Lady Passing By’ and ‘Now Is The Hour’.
To take us up to the Interval David played typical theatre organ tunes that are always being requested.
‘There’s A Song In The Air’, ‘Red Sails In The Sunset’, ‘Trumpet Voluntary’, ‘Waltz Of My Heart’, ‘What’ll I Do?’ and finally, ‘Keep The Home Fires Burning’.
Following the Interval refreshments and conversation, Stephen Dutfield told us that he must also welcome visitors from Ontario, Canada, Mr Edmund Wootton and his lady wife Wanda.  Edmund stood to acknowledge the applause from the audience, obviously moved by the occasion.
Stephen then announced a surprise organist, Mr Frank Fowler, who was making a return visit to the Compton organ after fifty-seven years of once being the manager of the Odeon.  He told Stephen that the organ sounded almost as good as when it was new seventy years ago!  After all the hours of work on the organ this was indeed very complimentary.
Frank then gave us a short musical quiz by playing all the signature tunes of the past organists for us to identify who they were.
David Ivory returned to complete the second part of his concert commencing with ‘Telstar’.
He followed this with some traditional Western type tunes including, ‘Home, Home On the Range’, ‘She’ll Be Coming round The Mountains’, Banjo On My Knee’, ‘Silver Threads Among The Gold’ and ‘Red River Valley’.
‘Songs My Mother Taught Me’ and ‘To A Wild Rose’ took us to his final selection of ‘Anniversary Song’, ‘The Last Rose Of Summer’, ‘Post Horn Gallop’ and ‘El Cumbanchero’.
For an Encore David played ‘Bless This House’. 
In the hands of such a capable artist the organ never sounded better.  David played a wide range of music and all from just a prompt list.  He certainly deserved a larger audience and maybe on his next visit will be more widely known here as a very desirable entertainer.
Stephen duly thanked him for an enjoyable concert and announced that the next concert will be given by BYRON JONES at 2pm on Sunday 9th October 2005

Concert Report by Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2006, 06:31:17 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by Byron Jones
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 9th October 2005
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society



Photo by P W Dolman

A pleasant sunny autumnal day saw us once more attending the Odeon cinema at Weston-Super-Mare to hear the nineteen thirty-five Compton three manual six rank organ played so sensitively by our local man, the ‘Welsh Wizard’, Byron Jones.  WETOS Chairman Fred Smedley introduced him as an ‘old friend’ to the audience to the impatient background noises of the Klaxon horn from the orchestra pit.  Without further ado Byron rose from the depths into the spotlight sounding off with ‘The Best Of Times’.
Fresh back from a five week tour of the USA playing some of their big theatre organs he still had complimentary things to say about our little much loved Compton.  He thanked us for supporting the concert instead of choosing the beach on such a day of fine weather and said he would play a different programme of both old and new music to entertain us.
He opened with ‘Springtime For Hitler’ from The Producers and followed with a bright and breezy
’76 Trombones’ and a nautical ‘Anchors Away’.
After checking that ‘everyone was happy’ he continued with a selection of good old tunes that suited a Sunday afternoon including, ‘Ave Maria’, Vienna, City Of My Dreams’, ‘Waltzing In The Clouds’ ‘Two Eyes Of Blue’ and ‘Beneath the Lights Of Home’.
To celebrate his recent tour Byron gave us his rendition of ‘New York, New York’ and ‘San Francisco’ finishing with ‘Keep Your Sunny Side Up’.
A change of pace brought some Victorian ballads which included two lovely tunes, ‘Somewhere A Voice Is Calling’ and ‘Love Ever Lasting’ the latter made famous by TOC founder and theatre organist, Hubert Selby.  Byron played it with such feeling, using the tremulants to maximum effect.
He continued with the fast finger number ‘Tico, Tico’,  emulating the dexterity of Ethel Smith.
A further mix of moods came with ‘When You’re In Love’, ‘La Cucuracha’, ‘Spanish Eyes’ and ‘Valensia’.  Byron took us to the Interval with a robust ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’.
Following the Interval Byron emerged once more changing his light jacket for a dark glittered coat that sparkled in the spotlight and commenced with ‘The King Kong March’.
‘Daddy’s Little Girl’, once recorded by singer Steve Conway, was a reference to Byron’s lovely dog ‘Melody’, at home in Bristol.  The evocative ‘Fascination Waltz’ reminded us of our dancing days at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.
Another mood change featured the Blues, with ‘Body and Soul’, ‘Georgia’ and ‘Birth Of The Blues’.
Byron then took his chance with ‘Songs My Mother Taught Me’ by using the rare Solo Cello that seemed a little uncertain on this occasion, although adding a unique string quality to voices that are otherwise produced by wind blown pipes.
Andrew Lloyd Weber was given an airing with ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ followed by ‘Crazy’.
Byron responded to certain requests in the Interval, in spite of which, he said he would continue playing and gave us ‘Highland Cathedral’, ‘Life Is Nothing Without Music’, ‘When You Come To The End Of A Perfect Day’.  He ended with a moving arrangement of ‘Nimrod’ by Elgar.
For a Sunday we had a selection of hymns to make us feel good, ‘How Great Thou Art’, ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’, ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus’, ‘Bringing In the Sheep’, ‘Sing Hosanna’, ‘Myfanwy’, ‘All Through The Night’ and ‘Bread Of Heaven’.
More fast numbers followed with ‘Twelfth Street Rag’, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and ‘Hold that Tiger’.
Rounding off with some singalong tunes he played ‘Sing As We Go’, ‘Beside The Seaside’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’.  A patriotic final version of ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’ brought his concert to a majestic finish.  Although well past the time, he provided us with an Encore of ‘When I Grow Too Old To Dream’ and descended out of sight on the lift once again to the tune ‘The Best Of Times’. 
Byron gave a well-balanced concert using expressive volume only when necessary and he explored some very nice voices appropriate to his music, for which Fred Smedley duly thanked him together with the appreciative applause from the audience.
The Chairman Fred Smedley then appealed to the audience to support the next concert to be held at 2pm on Sunday 20th November 2005.  This will be given by ‘New Faces’, the youngest of these being just sixteen years old.  These young organists are Christian Cartwright, Ian House, Simon Martin and Elaine Dawes and as such they will ensure the continued playing of these theatre organs in the future.

Concert Report by Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC….. Email: paul.dolman1@btopenworld.com

Paul W Dolman

  • Guest
Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2006, 06:37:22 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by ‘NEW FACES’
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 20th November 2005
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society



Simon Martin, Ian House, Elaine Dawes and Christian Cartwright
                    Photograph by Mr Fred Smedley

A generally cold and foggy November day developed into a pleasant sunny day at Weston-Super-Mare to stir sufficient people for a sizeable audience at the Odeon cinema.  Here we witnessed an unusual concert provided by four young organists to entertain us on the 1935 Compton 3c/6 organ. This was a somewhat new venture for WETOS in order to encourage a new younger breed of talent to help ensure the continued existence and playing of theatre organs in the future.
 
Stephen Dutfield, himself an organist and technician, had succeeded in bringing his idea to fruition, resulting in such a concert.

As the presenter, he gave us a concise introduction to each of the participants in turn.
 
Simon Martin is both a technician with special interest in the Compton ‘Melotone’, and a musician, self-taught at the organ, with an appreciation of the music of such artistes as Dudley Savage and Gerald Shaw.
Simon rose into view at the console commencing appropriately with ‘Around the corner at the Odeon’. The song ‘When I’m calling you’ followed the obligatory march.  He continued with songs from the musicals including ‘Rose Marie’, ‘Tiptoe through the tulips’ and ‘Poor Butterfly’.  He ended his worthy contribution with ‘Keep your sunny side up’ and ‘Goodnight Ladies’ descending from sight on the lift to the audience’ applause.

Stephen next introduced young sixteen years old Ian House from Downend, Bristol.  After practising at the Eden Grove Compton organ, Ian won first place in 2003 on entering the Young Organist of the Year competition run by the ATOS London and South of England Chapter.
Ian’s music commenced with the ‘High School Cadets’ march, following with ‘By a waterfall’.
His selection from the musical Oliver included, ‘As long as he needs me’, ‘Food glorious food’, ‘Consider yourself’, ‘I’ll do anything’.  He concluded with ‘Um pah pah’ and took his bow descending once more on the lift to applause.

The Interval saw the pause for refreshments on sale by staff in the auditorium.


Stephen Dutfield next introduced a young lady, Elaine Dawes to the organ. 
Elaine had been playing electronic organs since she was eight, but at eighteen started to play the theatre organ, and recently won first place in the ATOS Young Organist of the Year competition.
Elaine entertained us with, ‘Flash, bang, wallop – what a picture’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’.
She then invited the audience to join in and sing along with her selection of World War Two songs.  These included, ‘White cliffs of Dover’, We’ll meet again’, ‘Kiss me goodnight Sargent Major’, Bless’em all’, ‘Lillie Marlene’, ‘ The Seigfreid Line’, ‘Run, rabbit run’ and finishing with a patriotic,   ‘There’ll always be an England’.  Likewise Elaine received due applause as she disappeared from view.

Finally, Stephen introduced Christian Cartwright to play for us. 
Christian was long ago inspired by the sound of the Wurlitzer at Blackpool and then seven years ago he first played a theatre organ, being self-taught, by listening to such as Vic Hammett, Phil Kelsall and others of note.  He is assistant organist at ‘Pipes in the Peaks’.
He opened with his signature tune, ‘A wonderful day like today’.  Christian really sought out those combinations of voices from the six ranks and exploited the many shades of sounds to the full.
His programme consisted of beautiful arrangements of the following tunes.  ‘Deep purple’, ‘Jealousy’, ‘Story of my life’, ‘Three coins in the fountain’, ‘When I take my sugar to tea’.
He then gave us ‘Here’s that rainy day’ and a marvellous ‘The nearness of you’.
Christian completed his performance with ‘Yanky Doodle Dandy’ and ‘John Brown’s body’ and descended once more to much deserved applause.

Stephen Dutfield thanked the audience for coming along and supporting these young players on the threshold of their careers and announced that there would be the opportunity for anyone who wished to photograph them, to do so at the end before clearing the cinema.

All four artistes gave a good account of themselves and proved their ability to cope with the operation of the Compton theatre organ in a professional manner with the complexities of selecting appropriate voices, footages, and expression while maintaining an unbroken flow of music.  Well done!

Concert Report by Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC….. Email: paul.dolman1@btopenworld.com

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2006, 06:42:51 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by Dr KEVIN MORGAN
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 11th December 2005
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society



Dr KEVIN MORGAN - Photograph by Mr Fred Smedley

We set out by rail through a very foggy countryside arriving at sunlit Weston-Super-Mare to hear the WETOS Chairman, Mr Fred Smedley, introduce a most qualified artiste, Dr KEVIN MORGAN FRCO at the Odeon Compton 3c/6 cinema organ. 
The early morning ice and frost had cleared and Kevin opened his programme of music with a bright arrangement of ‘Sleigh ride’ by Leroy Anderson.
It was evident from the first notes that his years of study and practice shone through, resulting in a talent exceeding our expectations.  As well as church work he also regularly plays classical, theatre and electronic organs and piano.
Kevin continued with a selection of tunes which he entitled ‘Christmas songbook’ part one. He said that all those tunes we didn’t hear would be in part two in the second half.
 So, his part one included, ‘Roll out the barrel’, ‘Scarlet ribbons’, ‘Little donkey’, ‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth’, ‘Jingle bells’, ‘When a child is born’, ‘Let it snow’, ‘I saw Mummy kissing Santa Claus’, ‘Winter wonderland’, ‘When the red, red robin’ and ‘Frosty the snowman’.
Kevin then read to us an amusing poem he had received.  It told of the ‘Everlasting Christmas Turkey’ that turned up in various guises at the dining table over the twelve days of the Christmas holiday, to be finally and thankfully replaced by good old fish and chips.
Still in seasonal mood Kevin followed this with a trio of tunes, ‘The Dance of the Icicles’, ‘The Skater’s Waltz’ and ‘Parade of the tin soldiers’.
A request for a classical piece of music, ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ provided the opportunity for Kevin to show off the serious majestic sound of the Compton without use of the theatre tremulants.
He followed this with music from the show, ‘Hans Christian Anderson’.  Some of those songs that he included were; ‘Thumbelina’, ‘Ugly duckling’, Wonderful Copenhagen’, ‘Anywhere I wander’, ‘Inchworm’ and ‘The King’s new clothes’.
At the Interval Fred Smedley asserted that Kevin was truly master of this Compton organ and we looked forward to the second half following a break for refreshments and the Christmas raffle.
Kevin commenced his second half with tunes from his Christmas songbook part two.
The long list included; ‘A most wonderful time of the year’, ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’, ‘Snowy white snow and jingle bells’, ‘Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer’, ‘The Christmas song / Chestnuts roasting on an open fire’.  Then to a peal of chimes came, ‘Mary’s boy child’, ‘Snowbird’, ‘The little boy that Santa Claus forgot’, ‘Mistletoe and wine’, ‘Rocking around the Christmas tree’, ‘Blues Christmas’, ‘White Christmas’, and ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas’.
Following the Christmas selection Kevin played ‘Highland Cathedral’ while employing imitative bagpipe sounds.  This was followed a lively ‘Redetsky March’ and into his final selection with music from ‘The White Horse Inn’ appropriately ending with ‘Goodbye’.
Kevin completed a brilliant programme with ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ descending on the organ lift to great applause from an appreciative audience.
Kevin used many tone colours from this small six-rank organ and created interesting counter melodies to accompany his selection of tunes. Together with his high standard of playing was his quiet humour and clear announcements of all his work to ensure that our added pleasure was complete.
Due thanks for a marvellous concert of music was expressed by Mr Fred Smedley and we hope for Kevin’s early return to this venue.

Concert Report by Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC….. Email: paul.dolman1@btopenworld.com

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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2006, 06:48:26 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by PHIL KELSALL
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 22nd January 2006
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society


Photo by P W Dolman

Phil Kelsall at the Odeon WSM Compton organ

A large audience filled the Odeon auditorium on this bright sunny day at Weston-Super-Mare when the Chairman of WETOS, Mr Fred Smedley, presented the one and only PHIL KELSALL from the Blackpool Tower Ballroom at the 3c/6 Compton organ.
The colourful console rose into view to the familiar strains of his signature tune ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’ while the house lights dimmed and the powerful spotlights shone onto our grey besuited maestro of entertainment.  We were told that this would be his fourth visit to the Weston Odeon and he was well received by the audience.  He complimented the enthusiasm of the team that keeps this historical instrument playing in its original location of a commercially operating cinema.  He would be playing a mixture of nostalgic music of the ‘20s and ‘30s and would also include that of composers such as Irving Berlin and George Gershwin and others.
Phil’s first selection brought us, ‘Cheek to cheek’, ‘Let’s face the music and dance’, ‘Change partners’, ‘Alexander’s ragtime band’, ‘The night you forgot to remember’, What’ll I do?’, ‘Say it with music’, ‘They say it’s wonderful’, ‘Someone to watch over me’, ‘Strike up the band’, ‘’S Wonderful’, and finally ‘I got rhythm’, - so who could ask for anything more?  This fact, the audience’ applause confirmed.
Phil next featured the Compton’s brilliant vibraphone stop, asserting it to be one of the finest in England, being a tuned percussive instrument with resonators producing a gentle lingering, undulating quiet bell-like sound.
He demonstrated it with a popular tune often heard as background music on TV and radio namely ‘Left Bank Two’ and known as ‘Library music’ available for use around the world.  He continued into more songs including ‘Thanks for the memory’, ‘Moonlight in Vermont’, ‘Stardust’, and, again using the vibraphone, ‘Misty’ made famous by Errol Garner, the unique jazz pianist.
Phil told us that he has been at Blackpool Tower Ballroom playing the mighty Wurlitzer now for thirty-two years.  The organ is seventy-five years old and is played for seven hours every day during the season.  It is probably the most played organ in the world.  It was never the intention for it to be used to  such an extent.  However, the parts are still available and replaceable, including all the keyboards and the pedal-board.
Phil took us up to the Interval with the sort of music familiar at the Tower Ballroom.  He commenced with ‘Punch and Judy Polka’ followed by, ‘Hold that tiger’, ‘Whispering’, ‘Wedding of the painted doll’, ‘Black and white rag’, ‘The World is waiting for the sunrise’, ‘The old piano rag’, ‘Twelfth street rag’ and finishing with ‘Somebody stole my gal’.
During the Interval the Odeon staff purveyed the traditional icecreams at the front of the auditorium while hot drinks were available in the Foyer.  A large display of Phil’s CDs, DVDs and Videos were on sale, evidence of his prodigious output during his career.  An extended Interval coped with the demands of his public fans.
Following the Interval, Phil entertained us with a selection of exciting dance tunes, Spanish tangos, Pasodobles and a variety of other tempos and tunes including ‘Perhaps’, ‘Nightingale’ and ‘Granada’.
Next the music from the Broadway shows including ‘Chitty, chitty, bang, bang’, ‘March of the Siamese children’, ‘Shall we dance?’, ‘Happy talk’, ‘Eidelweiss’, ‘The lonely goatherd’, ‘Climb every mountain’, ‘The Desert Song’, ‘One alone’, ‘Tonight’, ‘If I loved you’ and ending as a grand climax with ‘You’ll never walk alone’.
A number of requests were featured in his next selection of traditional songs under the general heading of ‘Theatre organ favourites medley’.  These included amongst others, Ken Dodd’s, ‘Tears’, ‘Once in a while’, ‘Honeymoon hotel’, ‘The Nuns’ Chorus’, ‘Dizzy fingers’ and ‘Jerusalem’.
A change of pace followed with ‘Happy feet’ from the film ‘King of Jazz’, ‘Forty-second street’, ‘Lullaby of Broadway’, ‘Mac the Knife’, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, ‘The best things in life are free’, ‘I’ll see you in my dreams’, ‘The World is waiting for the sunrise’, ‘Ain’t she sweet?’ and others.
Phil Kelsall sounded better than ever.  He extracted the maximum and more, from the relatively small number of ranks of pipe voices, coaxing some marvellous harmonies and varied moods of music for our absolute delight.  He showed a confidence commensurate with his years of experience at the Tower Ballroom and the many other venues demanding his playing.  He has continued the philosophy of Reginald Dixon in popularising the Theatre Organ as a great public entertainment instrument and this is much to his credit in so doing.
For an Encore Phil played ‘Thank you for the music’, but that was not enough for the audience so he obligingly played a solemn piece of music with which to end, ‘How Great Thou Art’ and finally descended out of sight on the lift.  After a short period to recover, he obliged by re-appearing for signing copies and for a brief photo shoot.  Yes, thank you Phil for all the music.  We look forward to seeing you return to Weston again in the future.  A wish echoed by MC Fred Smedley.

Concert Report by Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC….. Email: paul.dolman1@btopenworld.com

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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2006, 06:54:28 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by ROBERT WOLFE
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 26th February 2006
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society


Photo by P W Dolman

ROBERT WOLFE AT THE ODEON COMPTON WESTON

The Chairman of WETOS, Mr Fred Smedley, greeted the audience and duly introduced our artist on his fourth visit to Weston, ROBERT WOLFE.  Whereupon, as the spotlights came on, he immediately rose from the depths to the sound of ‘Happy days are here again’ followed by some marches including, ‘On the Quarterdeck’ and ‘Brass Buttons’, the latter composed by Mantovani.
Robert said how nice it was to come from Norfolk to this part of the country to a cinema housing the original theatre organ still entertaining the public – a rare situation indeed.
Robert announced that he had a request from Lynn in the audience on her 75th birthday, so he played ‘Happy Birthday’ and the beautiful song ‘The way you look tonight’ using quiet voices together with the vibraphone.  Continuing with music by Jerome Kern he played, ‘She didn’t say ‘Yes’’, ‘Make believe’, ‘I’m old fashioned’, ‘Why do I love you’, ‘You were never lovelier’, ‘Who?’, ‘Smoke gets in your eyes’, ‘I won’t dance’ and ending with ‘Happy feet’ from the film ‘King of Jazz’.  The latter being the odd one out composer-wise but lent itself to a final flourish ‘waterfalling’ on the three manuals.
Following applause for his obvious dexterity, Robert informed us that this year will he his twenty-sixth season at Thursford, Norfolk.
His next interpretation was of that lovely tune, ‘Sanctuary of the heart’ expressed with rolling notes and tremulants, contrasting with some fast numbers and then the slower ‘Sorrento’.  ‘Hear my song Violetta’ was presented in a similar mood but intermixed with faster rhythmic numbers.
‘El Valentia’ was coupled with Monte’s Czardas, a fast moving arpeggio type of music to test the finger accuracy of the player.  Robert proved triumphant indeed.
His new CD, ‘Those were the days’ was produced, he told us, to celebrate his twenty-five years at Thursford.
Robert announced that his final selection for the first half was to commence with a Strauss waltz that was made famous by the Luton Girls Choir, namely the ‘Nuns’ Chorus’ using the powerful non-tremulant sounds of the organ.  In contrast there was ‘You were meant for me’, ‘You’re the cream in my coffee’, ‘Rosalie’ and ending with a strenuous execution of key changing and waterfalling of ‘Somebody stole my gal’ which culminated in his descent from view on the lift to loud applause.
The Interval allowed for the usual refreshments with ice cream served by house staff at the front of the Auditorium.
Robert began his second half of the concert with ‘From this moment on’, ‘The Peanut Polka’, ‘The Leap year waltz’, ‘Waltz of my heart’ and ‘Down the Mall’.
A number of requests from the audience followed, starting with ‘Make me a channel of your peace’, then in direct contrast, ‘The Devil’s Gallop’ which was the Dick Barton signature tune on radio, ‘Tiger Rag’, ‘Fascination waltz’, ‘Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang’, ‘Misty’, ‘Do you remember me?’,  ‘Ain’t she sweet?’ and finally with much clever dancing around the three manuals ‘Hold that tiger’.  This certainly put the Compton through its paces testing all pipes for quick response times.
Robert brought his programme to a close with three contrasting numbers, ‘’til we meet again’, then a lovely slow ballad, ‘To a wild rose’ by Edward McDowell and a recent popular tune ‘Amorilla’.
He descended on the lift to a great round of applause only to re-emerge to play an Encore of ‘The old pianna rag’ and ‘Here’s to the next time’.  He proved to be his usual energetic self, concentrating on giving the maximum performance on every occasion for his public.
Robert agreed obligingly to a photo shoot at the end of his show and several of the audience gathered around him to thank him and capture the moment on camera.  He evidently thoroughly enjoys playing for us and we hope that he will no doubt be returning again to Weston in the future.  Fred Smedley thanked Robert once more for a marvellous afternoon’s entertainment.

Concert Report by Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC….. Email: paul.dolman1@btopenworld.com

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2006, 08:36:58 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by KEVIN GRUNILL
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 12th March 2006
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society


Photo by P W Dolman

KEVIN GRUNILL AT THE ODEON COMPTON ORGAN WSM

There SNOW business like Show business and we had both, when over night a large part of the country wore a white mantle of snow.  However, in this area it soon cleared, and in the warm comfort of the Odeon cinema we settled down to Show business as Presenter, Stephen Dutfield, introduced our guest organist, KEVIN GRUNILL.
Kevin had previously entertained us in March 2004 and we were delighted to see him back.
Apart from being well qualified musically speaking, Kevin also owns a 4/10 Compton now installed in the Penistone Paramount in South Yorkshire and on which console he is often found during the winter months.  He is also interested in the history and construction of theatre organs.  He has played as resident organist for eight years on the North Pier Blackpool, although this is currently undergoing renovation after suffering storm damage.
Barnsley born in 1972, he has played in many of the country’s major musical venues including the Playhouse Weston, the Opera House and Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.  He performs on piano, electronic organ and theatre organ with equal skill and enthusiasm. 
So the lights dimmed, the spots shone down, and Kevin rose into full view on the organ lift playing, ‘Everything’s coming up roses’ from ‘The Gipsy’.  He said that every time he plays an organ with a ‘jelly mould’ surround of colourful lighting effects like ours, it suggests to him an appropriate tune from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and made famous by the great Judy Garland, ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’.
A waltz tempo was his next choice.  However, this was a Latin American waltz that would indeed test the responsiveness of the organ with fast rhythmic patterns – ‘Eleanora’.  Although Comptons are sometimes a bit slow in action, this Compton met the challenge admirably and all worked to perfection.
Applause led straight into ‘You’ll never know (just how much I love you)’, certainly a contrast in tempo and played with much feeling and continuing with ‘I know why’ and ending with a swinging rendition of ‘At Last’.  All those tunes were from the pen of Harry Warren.
Kevin’s next selection was of tunes in Polka tempo.  The first was written by Henry Mancini for the film ‘Great Race’ and called ‘Pie in the face’.  The next polka ‘The Wedding’ was arranged by Bryan Rodwell, a past resident of Weston.  The ‘Bluebell Polka’, and the ‘Punch and Judy Polka’ followed and ended with the ‘Peanut Polka’.
The ballad ‘Beware my heart’ by contrast, created a more soothing atmosphere.
Music from warmer climes helped us to forget the cold outside with ‘Cobacabana’, ‘Cumana’, ‘Zambesi’ and finally the Ethel Smith classic ‘Tico, Tico’ to test both Kevin and the organ.
To bring us to the Interval Kevin played a selection of tunes from Sigmund Romberg’s musical, ‘The Student Prince’.  Some of the most popular songs of this show were, ‘Golden Days’, ‘Student’s Marching song’, ‘Drinking Song’, ‘In Heidelberg Fair’, ‘Gaudeamus Igitur’, ‘Deep in my heart’ and ‘Serenade’.
On this last number the deep pedal notes thundered forth as Kevin took the Compton down once more to the sound of applause in appreciation of the music from this lovely, timeless, romantic Operetta.
Interval time saw the queue for ice creams and drinks in the Foyer and the hubbub of conversation.
Kevin commenced his second half with ‘Sing everybody, sing’ and followed this with a Lament from the American Civil War called the ‘Ashokan Farewell’ that approached very quietly, building up to full volume then finally fading into the distance again.
Kevin then said that as we were not too far away from Wales he would play music by one of his favourite composers.  His name was David Davies but we would better know him by his stage name of Ivor Novello.
He wrote some wonderful Operettas over the years, ‘King’s Rhapsody’, ‘Perchance to dream’, ‘Glamorous Night’ and ‘The Dancing Years’.  So from the latter Kevin played the lilting ‘Waltz of my heart’.
Another Yorkshireman, namely Terry Herrington, had written the next number especially for Kevin, who he had taught to play the organ from the age of thirteen until about seventeen years old. 
Kevin then played this composition called ‘The White Rose March’ commencing with a suggestion of Ilkley Moor bah tat and subsequently including a definite Yorkshire flavour in the music.
As the Compton organ firm were originally church organ builders, in Kevin’s opinion, the straight non-tremulant music always seemed to sound better on a Compton and he proceeded to demonstrate this with a classical selection of music familiar only to those appreciative of more serious works.
Kevin’s final selection consisted of the great tunes from the Musicals of Stage and Screen from the pens of Lerner and Lowe, Jerome Kern and Rogers and Hammerstein.  And so we were treated to ‘There’s no business like show business’, ‘The trolley song’, ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Get me to the church on time’, ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Cheek to cheek’ descending once more from sight to the depths.
Audience applause demanded an Encore and Kevin obliged by literally rising to the occasion with ‘Hold That Tiger’ followed by the audience clapping to his final ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’.
Stephen Dutfield thanked Kevin for a wonderful concert of music to suit everyone and we look forward to his return visit in the near future.

Concert Report by Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC….. Email: paul.dolman1@btopenworld.com

 


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Re: Compton organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2006, 11:56:52 AM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by JOHN MANN
At the Compton organ, Odeon Cinema, Weston-Super-Mare – 2pm Sunday 7th May 2006
Presented by the West of England Theatre Organ Society


Photo by Fred Smedley

JOHN MANN AT THE ODEON COMPTON ORGAN WSM

Following the introduction by Stephen Dutfield welcoming back our star organist, spontaneous and enthusiastic applause greeted John Mann as the mighty 3c/6 Compton organ rose majestically to the sound of ‘Sussex By the Sea’, John’s famous signature tune.
As resident organist at Worthing’s Pier Pavilion, John was completely at home in exchanging one seaside audience for another and entertaining in his usual impeccable style.
A programme of all-time favourites followed the opening march ‘Blaze Away’ with a selection of ‘sunshine’ favourites including, ‘Painting the clouds with sunshine’ and ‘The sun has got his hat on’ which got the proceedings off to a bright start.
This was followed by ‘Tico, Tico’ made famous by Ethel Smith on Hammond organ.
John was slightly concerned that audiences didn’t always take to a pipe organ arrangement.  “See what you think!’ he said.
I think that we all agreed that it sounded pretty good on the Compton!
A selection of favourite Dance Melodies, all flowing beautifully together brought a bright and melodious first half to a close.
As a true professional John ensured that everyone enjoyed themselves with music that we all knew but perhaps could not always name!
The second half followed a similar pattern with the music seeming to flow effortlessly through John’s musical skills.
A standing ovation with a difference ended the concert with John standing on the organ bench with the console raised to its full height applauding the audience, perhaps a trifle risky considering…….!!
Stephen Dutfield thanked John for a wonderful afternoon of organ music and looked forward to his return.
John reminded us that it was six years ago that he last appeared at the Odeon, so it was obviously due to ‘public demand’ that he was back so soon!
Continuous applause ensured an encore as the console descended to ‘Rose Of England’ and a cheery wave.

Concert Report supplied by Andrew Warwick 25 Woodlands Drive, Ruishton, TAUNTON TA3 5JU  Tel: 01823 442404

Paul W Dolman ‘Holmleigh’ 209 Wick Road, Brislington, BRISTOL BS4 4HP Tel 0117 977 8484
Western Secretary – TOC….. Email: paul.dolman1@btopenworld.com


 

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Hugh Wallington

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Re: Reports of previous Compton Organ concerts at the Odeon WSM
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2010, 03:09:59 PM »
Report by Peter Young on the Concert held on the Compton Organ at the Odeon Cinema, Weston-super-Mare

"Organists On Parade"

Late Christmas concert 2pm, Sunday, 31st January 2010 with Damon Willetts, Dorian Collins, Stephen Dutfield, Christopher Manners and the choir of All Saints Church, Weston-Super-Mare.


Usually these reports start with a brief description of the weather conditions, allowing you to justify your decision not to attend the concert. Well this time there was nothing wrong with the weather, it was a very special occasion and still you didn’t come. So please tell us why not? Then perhaps the committee, who work so hard on your behalf, can get it right next time! There were four organists and a choir this time. The members at the AGM thought the change from the usual format would make this concert a little bit different from the others and, that as all the reasons for not coming at Christmastime no longer applied, then you would turn up for this one. So where were you? The society cannot survive without your support.

Opening the concert was someone more usually seen and heard presenting the show. Stephen Dutfield rode into view aboard the Compton console playing Leroy Anderson’s ‘Sleigh Ride’ and putting the sleigh bells and glockenspiel to good use, as you might expect! The next item was ‘March of the Cobblers’ by Bob Barratt. Stephen explained that member Robin White had supplied him with the brass band parts for this item that then had to be transcribed into an organ arrangement.

Those of you who were fans of ‘Organ Stop’ will be interested to know that John Merchant, who was the presenter of the BBC Radio Bristol programme, wrote the next piece in honour of the Odeon and its organ - ‘The Weston Waltz’. Next came the work of another composer with west-country connections, Trevor Duncan. ‘The Girl from Corsica’ was played in a suitably subdued and ethereal arrangement with the use of the vibraphone over the top of the tune. Stephen then finished his segment of the show with three Christmas pieces from film scores. First, from The Odessa File was Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s ‘Christmas Dream’ followed by ‘Silver Bells’ from The Lemon Drop Kid which featured the chimes echoing the melody. The trio finished with Irving Berlin’s 1942 hit ‘White Christmas’, which has featured in at least two films, and went down well with the Odeon audience.

Rising from the pit next was Damon Willetts. Born in Stourbridge in the West Midlands, he’s an very active worker for the Midlands District of the Cinema Organ Society - appearing on numerous occasions on their excellent Compton at Hampton-in-Arden. Beginning with ‘On A Wonderful Day Like Today’ Damon surprised us by following it with a piece called ‘Meditation’ which is, in fact, an arrangement of the well-known ‘Ave Maria’ by Gounod. Very seasonal of course! This was followed by Eric Coates’ march ‘Oxford Street’, and ‘London By Night’ before a change of tempo for ‘Stardust’ and ‘Vienna, City of My Dreams’, the console descended to the appropriate strains of ‘On the Prom Prom Promenade’

During the interval the winning numbers for the Christmas draw in support of WETOS were announced. The invaluable help of Jo Lucas and Mick Reynolds made this possible with some very generous donations from the committee and linked members.

Christopher Manners and the choir of All Saints Church, Weston-Super-Mare



Christopher Manners is organist at All Saints Church, Weston-super-Mare and appeared with members of his choir to lead the singing of a few carols. Christopher rose from the depths with ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ played in a lush and smoochy style, and very uncharacteristic for a classical organist. Next was ‘Walking In The Air’ from The Snowman by Howard Blake. Previous attempts to persuade you to sing have not been very successful so at the AGM it was suggested that perhaps we would all feel more comfortable with a few experts showing us the way - and they certainly did, and I think we followed them too! On this occasion they were joined by Fred’s wife, Hilary, and their voices, which didn’t need microphones, rang out across the auditorium. Just imagine the choir in cassocks as well. That would have been even more like Christmas. Perhaps it can all be done again next Christmas and make it even more of a show. The carols were ‘Once, in Royal David’s City’, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and ’Hark, the Herald Angels Sing’ Christopher signed off with a reprise of ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’.

Finally Dorian Collins appeared playing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ followed by a special request from Ben Snowdon for the beautifully played ‘Primero’ - no leg slapping needed! (that’s an ‘in’ joke for those that were at the concert). Next was a medley of marches including ‘Blaze Away’, ‘Sporting Occasion’ (the closing music from the Wimbledon TV coverage) and ‘The Radetzky March’ by Johann Strauss with the audience obviously well-schooled by the annual New Years concert from Vienna, clapping along at the right moments. (Well done Dorian, that’s another success. The last time it was played at Odeon there was almost silence!) This light-heartedness was followed by a criticism of BBC Radio 4 for removing their ‘UK Theme’, which used to open the station at 5.30am before the shipping forecast. This musical trip around the British Isles includes ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘The Londonderry Air’, ‘What Shall We Do With Drunken Sailor’, ‘Greensleeves’, ‘Men of Harlech’, and ‘Early One Morning’. Dorian added ‘I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside’ for good luck as the console descended (reluctantly). At this point Ben flew across the auditorium as though on wires and disappeared into the depths, thus ensuring Dorian had a smooth ride down!

The committee was very pleased to present All Saints with a donation of £159. For help with their organ restoration work.

There are no photographs available for this concert.

Report: P.G.Young.
 
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