Author Topic: Compton organ concerts at Eden Grove, Bristol  (Read 24287 times)

Paul W Dolman

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Compton organ concerts at Eden Grove, Bristol
« on: March 16, 2006, 01:37:30 AM »
Since its inauguration at Eden Grove in May 2003 there have been monthly concerts by top UK and International organists. Check out the Concerts Diary for dates and players.

http://www.wizardcompton.org.uk/

For details of all the Welsh Wizard's activities (ie. Byron Jones), log on to

www.welshwizard.wizardcompton.org.uk

Please note that the postings below were put up in 2005/2006 .. Hugh

22.1.05     Richard Hills
26.2.05     Jean Martyn
26.3.05     Byron Jones
23.4.05     Howard Beaumont
20.5.05     Gordon Haley & Byron Jones
21.5.05     Doreen Chadwick & Michael Wooldridge
25.6.05     Nigel Ogden
23.7.05     Dr Arnold Loxam
27.8.05     Simon Gledhill
24.9.05     Andrew Nix
22.10.05   Robert Wolfe
26.11.05   John Mann
10.12.05   Byron Jones (Christmas Concert)

21.1.06      Chris Powell
25.2.06      Gordon Haley
25.3.06      Byron Jones
22.4.06      Len Rawle
26.5.06      Gordon Haley and Byron Jones
27.5.06      TBS and Byron Jones
24.6.06      Nigel Ogden
22.7.06      Richard Hills
26.8.06      Kevin Morgan
23.9.06      David Redfern and Elaine Dawes
21.10.06    Robert Wolfe
18.11.06    Howard Beaumont
9.12.06     Byron Jones (Christmas Concert)

For details of times and tickets Tel 0117 949 7742

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at Eden grove, Bristol
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2006, 02:00:20 AM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by HOWARD BEAUMONT
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 23rd April 2005 - Presented by Byron Jones


Photo by P W Dolman

HOWARD BEAUMONT AT THE WIZARD COMPTON

Byron Jones came on stage and introduced his long-standing friend HOWARD BEAUMONT all the way from Scarborough in Yorkshire to play for the first time the Compton organ.
The hall lights dimmed and the spots shone brightly as the red curtains opened to reveal Howard Beaumont seated at the Mighty Wizard Compton sounding forth with his signature tune of ‘The Best Of Times’.

To the right of the stage was the large flag of St George as it happened to be St George’s day and so in honour of this occasion Howard played the stirring March ‘Sons Of the Brave’ as his opening number.
He said that he loves to play the Theatre Organ but they are somewhat more demanding than the modern electronic organs and keyboards.  Everything you hear is actually being played live and all produced by wind and physical effort while in addition to the music, every change of sound has to be selected and matched to suit manually as you progress.  He jokingly said he was worn out already!
However, he certainly was not, as his subsequent brilliant programme more than proved.

He moved on to enchant us with music from the Silver Screen featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers favourites including such well known songs as ‘All The Things You Are’, ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ and ‘Putting On The Style’.

Howard told us how he has been performing for sixteen years in the afternoon during the summer season at the Scarborough Spa Suncourt while the Spa orchestra plays mornings and evenings.  It has been the venue for music for a hundred and fifty years and overlooks the sea.

Then out came the music sheets and Howard treated us to ‘The Pirates Of Penzance’ where he might have ended up if he had fallen asleep on the long train journey down to Bristol.
He likes Big Band and demonstrated this by playing Glen Miller’s ‘American Patrol’ and ‘String Of Pearls’.  This showed what the Compton organ is capable of in producing non-traditional music.

Howard recounted to us how before he played at the Spa he used to play at the Peaseholme Park where they annually stage a mock battle of model aircraft and battleships on the lake with all the attendant fireworks and explosions for which the organist provided the commentary.  He felt sympathy for the poor ducks as they would scatter in all directions.
 For this reason his next number was ‘Rubber Ducky’, a novelty piece using the numerous sound effects of the percussion section.

This was followed by a familiar composition of gypsy music called ‘Black Eyes’.
Elton John music was Howard’s next choice and this was, ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’
He told us that his Granddad was a member of the Halifax Brass Band and played the Euponium and practised his music for hours.  Howard then played a typical Brass Band tune ‘The Durandes First Waltz’ reminiscent of that time.  This he followed with ‘March Of The Cobblers’ from the film Brassed Off that told the story of a redundant Grimley Colliery and their Brass Band that finally made it to the National Championship Finals at the Albert Hall.

Howard told us that he was actually in the TV programme ‘All Creatures Great And Small’.  He was the fellow who drove the car over the moors.  So without more ado he gave us the signature tune of that programme bringing his first half to a close to much applause.

At the Interval we had our refreshments and Howard purveyed his CD of ‘Invitations’ performed on the new Hammond B3 in his lounge to live rhythm accompaniment of Jazz Guitar, Alto and Tenor Sax and Percussion.

His second half commenced with a lovely selection of Strauss Waltzes, and music from Les Miserables and Phantom of The Opera.
Cole Porter music followed with songs from Anything Goes,  ‘You’re The Tops’ and others.
Music from the Roaring Twenties next and here Howard brought the piano effect into good use in some fast moving tunes.  His music of the Forties included ‘Mood Indigo’ by Duke Ellington, ‘My Foolish Heart’ and ‘Moonlight Serenade’ by Glen Miller.
Music for a Spanish Opera was written by a Frenchman and was followed by Benny Goodman Big Band music ‘Sing, Sing, Sing, All Of A Swing’.  This brought shouts of Encore from the audience and for this Howard said that if he fell asleep going back he would end up in Aberdeen so he played a melody of Scottish songs.
 
For his second Encore he reverted again to Big Band sounds with his interpretation of ‘In The Mood’.
Howard received a great accolade at the end that I’m sure made his long journey very worthwhile.

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 Eden grove, Bristol
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2006, 02:11:39 AM »
COMPTON THEATRE ORGAN BIRTHDAY CONCERT
BYRON JONES and GORDON HALEY
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Friday 20th May 2005 – Presented by Byron Jones


Photo by P W Dolman

Gordon Haley, Terry Ahern, Byron Jones


Photo by P W Dolman

Byron Jones, Freda

Byron Jones warmly welcomed everyone to his ‘Birthday Bash’ for his installation of the Compton organ at Eden Grove thus marking the completion of the third year of regular concerts.  In fact the organ itself would be celebrating its seventy-eighth year of existence.
For an opening, of course, we all joined in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and Byron followed this with ‘The Wizard March’ written especially for him by Peter Hayward.
‘The King Kong March’, ‘That Certain Smile’ and ‘I Won’t Send Roses’ led to the next treat in the form of a silent film to which Byron played the accompaniment appropriately matching the music to the action.
Laurel and Hardy acted the part of two detectives in the film ‘Do Detectives Think?’
Their visual antics in attempting to protect a Judge from the dire threats of an escaped criminal whom he had condemned in court had the audience in fits of laughter.  By some fortuitous quirk of fate, ‘Good’ overcame ‘Evil’ in the end in spite of everything.
Byron announced that they have now purchased a lift for the organ and they had constructed it one day in the garden to understand how it went together.  They have also given it a fresh coat of paint.
In order to accommodate the lift much more work has to be done to alter the stage under which there is a void of seven feet six inches.
The concert on the next day, Saturday, would include organist Graham Kent who is also selling both his house and the Compton cinema organ contained therein.
Byron then played ‘The Punch and Judy Polka’ to finish his first part of the programme.
At this point Byron introduced his friend and local organist Gordon Haley to play for us.  Gordon is one of the technical team who worked hard to build this organ to its present pristine condition having previously worked on the Compton at the Odeon Weston some years ago.
Gordon produced some lovely sounds during his selection of music and he included, ‘A Wonderful Day Like Today’, ‘Under The Double Eagle’, ‘Washington Post’, ‘In The News’, ‘The Candy Man’, ‘Cheer Up Charlie’, ‘Pure Imagination’, ‘Buffoon’ and ‘Misty’.
At the Interval the Birthday cake was on display for group photographs of the artistes and we all subsequently partook of free refreshments and enjoyed a short adjournment to the tranquillity of the adjoining Methodist Church.
Not to be outdone by the bow ties and white shirts of the first half, both artistes appeared resplendent in their respective colourful Union Jack waistcoats in the second half, much to the noisy reaction from the audience.  Byron lost no time in bringing Gordon back to the organ.
He played a selection from Lerner and Lowe with songs from ‘Camelot’, ‘Gee Gee’ and ‘Brigadoon’ and followed this with ‘Butterflies In The Rain’.
He told us how a visit to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom and hearing Reginald Dixon at the Wurlitzer had inspired him to play the theatre organ and so he ended with a selection of tunes performed in the Blackpool style.
These included ‘Love Walked In’, ‘Play That Simple Melody’ (with a clever counter alternate melody), ‘This Can’t Be Love’, ‘Hello Dolly’ followed by a selection of tunes from the Disney film ‘Aladdin’.
Byron then played his final contribution rounding off with many contrasting items which included, Brazil, Tico Tico, Sorrento, a beautiful classical piece called ‘Nimrod’ from Elgar’s Enigma Variations and ‘I’ll Walk With God’.
And lastly, as they say, some good old wartime songs such as ‘There’s Something About A Soldier’, ‘Siegfreid Line’, ‘Quarter Master’s Stores’, ‘There’ll Always Be An England’, ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and ‘White Cliffs Of Dover’ all of which allowed audience participation.
Land Of Hope And Glory (Pomp and Circumstance) accompanied a nostalgic film being projected showing the flight of the Bristol-built Super-sonic aircraft ‘Concorde’ over Bristol with the Clifton  Suspension Bridge beneath.  As the music finished it finally came in to land like a graceful bird on the runway.  A lot of National Pride was evoked here for the audience.
Such was the culmination of a wonderful evening’s entertainment for this eventful occasion.

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 Eden grove, Bristol
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2006, 02:18:14 AM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by Dr ARNOLD LOXAM
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 23rd July 2005 - Presented by Byron Jones


Photo by P W Dolman

Dr ARNOLD LOXAM AT THE WIZARD COMPTON

To a packed audience Byron Jones took the stage to introduce one of the few original theatre organists still actively entertaining on the organ circuit.  With great affection he presented his good friend
DR ARNOLD LOXAM.  The red curtains parted to reveal Arnold at the console resplendent in cream jacket and blue trousers playing in with his signature tune ‘Come Back To Sorrento’.
Arnold, we were told, will be ninety years young next year and his programme was played entirely without the aid of music, relying on his prodigious memory of all the tunes he has regaled us with down the ages.  He was certainly on good form and evidently thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to coax all the many different voices from this 1927 restored Compton organ of which Byron and his technical crew are justly proud.   Arnold is renowned for his very nifty footwork in the pedal department and we were not disappointed as we watched his dainty toe tapping or his chromatic runs with heel and toe up and down and sometimes both feet together on the pedal-board.  The ‘Loxam Bounce’ was not quite so prominent but his rhythmic way of playing was fascinating to see.
His opening selection consisted of traditional types of songs including John Brown’s Body, Ilkley Moor Bah Tat and some American marches.
Next came the music of Rudolf Frimal’s ‘Wild Violets’ ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’ and ‘You Just You’, followed by ‘Avalon’, ‘Cherokee’ and ‘Mr Sandman’.
Tunes all about Spring included ‘Spring, Spring, Spring’, ‘Easter Parade’, ‘The Cuckoo Waltz’ and ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’.  After more applause he played ‘The Clarinet Polka’, ‘Sky Lark’ and ‘The Swallow’ (When You’re In Love).  Arnold then played a very swinging version of ‘Melody In F’ and ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from the film Titanic.
Mention was made of his latest CD which is called ‘Transatlantic Travels’ and is a collection of tapes made during live concerts at Detroit during 1988 and 1993 on the four manual 34 rank Wurlitzer in the Senate Theatre.
Arnold took us up to the Interval with ‘42nd Street’ and  ‘Old Broadway’ and a lively selection of Sankey Hymns as a ‘Rock Gospel Medley’.
During the Interval we were refreshed with tea or coffee and biscuits.  The adjoining church was open and the quiet strains of the large renovated pipe organ could be heard by those of us who chose to sit and gaze at the splendid interior of the building.
Arnold commenced his second half with ‘Theatre Land’ written by Jack Strachey.
He recounted how he still plays Tuesdays and Saturday mornings for films at the Rex cinema in Elland and so his next choice included such music as ‘All That Jazz’ from Chicago and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s ‘Memory’.
‘Deed I Do’,  ‘Sailing’, ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ and ‘When Shadows Fall’ preceded his Summer Selection of ‘Summertime’, ‘Here Comes Summer’, Summer of ‘42’, ‘Wait till the sun shines’ and ‘In The Good Old Summertime’.
During his travels he has often visited Holland and so played several of their popular tunes finishing with ‘Tulips From Amsterdam’.
A tune he played that reminded him of ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ proved to have been specially written and was called ‘The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference’.
Arnold’s final selection was the Sing Song variety and included ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’,’ Tipperary’, ‘Keep The Home Fires Burning’, ‘Siegfried Line’,  ‘Run Rabbit Run’, ‘White Cliffs Of Dover’, ‘Bless’em All’, ‘We’ll Meet Again’, ‘Always Be An England’ and ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’.
For and encore Arnold obliged with ‘Woodchopper’s Ball’ and ‘Tiger Rag’ thus ending with a frightening growl from the Compton pipes. 
So ended yet another notable concert from a top line organist of great distinction where the applause and cheers signified the audience’s enthusiastic appreciation of Arnold’s choice of music.

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

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at Eden grove, Bristol
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2006, 02:26:05 AM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by SIMON GLEDHILL
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 27th August 2005 - Presented by Ray Hulbert




Photos by P W Dolman

SIMON GLEDHILL AT THE WIZARD COMPTON

Although the Bank Holiday weekend was upon us and the weather gave us a beautiful evening sky, our artiste Simon Gledhill drew a packed audience to sample the delights of his tremendous playing ability.  He admitted so enjoying his time familiarising himself with the organ prior to giving his concert that he apologised for delaying the admission of the audience to the church hall.
However, we didn’t really mind the wait, for we had a musical preview as a bonus.
Byron Jones, the owner of the organ and his manager Terry Ahearn, were away on their latest tour of America.  His mum Freda was on hand to deal with the Raffle ticket sales and Ray Hulbert of Eden Grove Methodist Church stepped in to do the presentation and make other concert announcements.
The curtains opened to the sound of ‘I hear a song coming on’ and ‘With a song in my heart’
Simon introduced himself to the audience and spoke of the organist Gerald Shaw who played at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London. One of the numbers he used to play was a piece of music called ‘Carribean Dance’ by Madeline Dring that Simon liked very much and then played for us.
Next he talked of Harry Warren, a composer of tunes for Tin Pan Alley, several of which he then played in a selection from ‘Forty Second Street’.   These included, ‘We’re in the money’, ‘Jeepers Creepers’, ‘You’ll never know’, ‘Remember me’, ‘September in the rain’, ‘Lullaby of Broadway’, ‘Serenade in blue’ and the title song ‘Forty Second Street’.
An unusual arrangement by Albert Hal Mallotte came next.  He wrote a musical setting of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ where the church organ voices blended finally into theatre organ sounds by way of contrast.
Stanley Wylie, an organist from the North East of England, also wrote pieces of music.  He took over from Joseph Seal at Belfast playing a programme ‘Moonight Lullaby’.
One of the pieces of music appealed to Simon.  When he was growing up in Yorkshire, his parents had two Poodle dogs, and this music reminded him of the way they would strut along in their little pompous manner, and so appropriately he played ‘Poodle in the park’.
Sir Noel Coward wrote several Operetta-like tunes and Simon then played ‘If love were all’ from ‘Bitter Sweet’.
For fans of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald came several tunes from Rudolf Frimal’s ‘Rose Marie’ that included ‘Oh Rose Marie I love you’ and ‘I hear you calling me’
Harold Ramsey played at the Granada, Tooting, and Simon took us to the Interval with one of his favourites, ‘The Rodeo March’.
Ray Hulbert invited us to partake of our refreshments in the very pleasant adjoining church or enjoy the fine evening outside on seats provided.
Simon returned for the second half and spoke of the time when he was in Australia, where following a big build up from the compere, the organ lift failed to operate, creating an embarrassing situation.  However, putting that behind him he played for us, ‘Up, up, and away’.
While playing for the 30th Anniversary of the Scottish Theatre Organ Trust at Clydebank Town Hall he had chosen the best tunes of 1975.  Two of these most memorable ones he enchanted us with were ‘If’ and ‘I write the songs’, the latter being a Barry Manilow number.
Mood music of the 40s and 50s published by Chappell & Co was often used as background music.
Sidney Torch, the definitive organist who turned to orchestral conducting and arranging after his time serving in the forces, wrote ‘Shooting Stars’.  This had been featured on ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’ and with which Simon now demonstrated his fast finger performance.
Music from Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart featured next with, ‘You took advantage of me’, ‘Have you met Miss Jones?’, ‘My romance’ and ‘The lady is a tramp’.
Eric Mashwitch the lyricist wrote Simon’s next choice ‘These foolish things remind me of you’.
Ernest Thomlinson wrote ‘Little Serenade’ for the Christmas 1950 Cinderella – a lovely and popular tune whose name would likely escape us all.
Simon told us how when he was young, he was taken from Yorkshire on a trip to London to visit the Tower and other tourist attractions.  He also went to the London Palladium, and saw Fiona McKenna and Yule Brynner perform the wonderful songs from ‘The King and I’.   He then reminded us of all the beautiful songs of that Musical and played, ‘Something Wonderful’, ‘March of the Siamese Children’, ‘We kiss in a shadow’, ‘Hello Young Lovers’, ‘I have dreamed’, ‘I whistle a happy tune’ and ‘Getting to know you’.
Simon then rounded off his tremendous performance with, ‘Dance of the hours’ featured in the Disney film ‘Fantasia’.
An appreciative audience demanded his return to the stage, and for an Encore he played, ‘The Sabre Dance’ by Katachurian.
Simon’s performance, skill, musical knowledge, accuracy and his informative introductions, challenge description and words of praise seem very inadequate.  However when you think he cannot get any better with each time we see him – he does!!!!!!! 
Ray Hulbert duly thanked him for a very marvellous evening’s entertainment and several photographs were taken of the occasion. 
Simon also greeted us with a farewell at the exit door – a nice gesture from a hard working artist.
We will no doubt be assured of his early return.

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

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at Eden grove, Bristol
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2006, 02:31:51 AM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by ANDREW NIX
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 24th September 2005 - Presented by Ray Hulbert


Photo by P W Dolman

ANDREW NIX AT THE WIZARD COMPTON

Although the nights are beginning to draw in, on this sunny and dry day we made our way to Eden Grove to hear a great entertainer, Andrew Nix, playing for us on the Wizard Compton.  He had travelled all the way from Yorkshire that day, apparently after a previous late night of celebrations, and without incurring the wrath of the Motorway traffic cops.
Ray Hulbert stepped in to introduce him to the audience as Byron Jones was still in America, although expected home this coming Tuesday morning.
The lights dimmed and the curtains opened to reveal Andrew in the spotlight at the console.  He had decided that in Byron’s absence he would bring America here, and played his opening number, a march called ‘The Washington Post’.
After checking who were the newcomers and who were the regulars, he chose to play a selection from the musical ‘Oliver’.  These included ‘Food Glorious Food’, ‘Consider Yourself’, ‘I’d Give Anything’, ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ and ‘Um Pa Pa, Um Pa Pa’.
‘The Wind Beneath My Wings’ was followed by an Andrew Lloyd Weber selection from his shows.
‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ from Jesus Christ Superstar, ‘Anything Will Do’ from Joseph And His Multicoloured Dream Coat, and the title song, ‘Friends for Life’.
Bill Owen, who played Compo in the BBC TV series ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’, wrote the next tune that Andrew gave us called ‘So Lucky’.
Andrew took us up to the Interval with a selection of Gershwin songs that featured, ‘I’ve Got Rhythm’, ‘Oh Lady Be Good’, ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’, ‘’S Wonderful’, ‘Summertime’ and finishing again with ‘I’ve Got Rhythm’.
Tea/Coffee and biscuits served as usual by the ladies provided our half time sustenance when some of us visited the adjoining beautiful church in quiet appreciation of its surroundings.
Andrew resumed his programme of music after the Raffle and commenced with a lively ‘A Wonderful Day Like Today’ and ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’.
He then played ‘Carillon’, a tune that demonstrated the bell sounds of the Compton to great effect.
Next came what he sometimes termed as a ‘Mixed Bag’ but tonight he felt that the calibre of the audience should merit the title ‘Melody Cocktail’. (Cheers from the hall)
So Andrew flicked expertly back and forth through the music pages to play ‘Misty’, ‘September In The Rain’, ‘Is It True What They Say About Dixie?’, ‘Room 504’, ‘Hey Look Me Over’, ‘Crazy’ and lastly ‘Tyrollean Waltz’ by Eddie Swan of Doncaster.
Andrew recounted how he had been on holiday to Disney World in the USA and heard the uplifting music played there, and it had inspired him to do a selection of Disney tunes. Some of those that he included were, ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’, ‘Zippa Dee Doo Dah’, ‘Spoonful Of Sugar’ and ‘Supercal……….’.
Music of the King came next……George Formby!!  A foot tapping set of tunes included ‘Oh Mr Woo’, ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’, ‘Leaning On A Lamppost’ and ‘My Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock’.
A quiet contrast followed with ‘She’ from the film Notting Hill and then a final bright sunny burst of music with ‘Give Me Sunshine’, ‘Good Morning, Good Morning’, ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’, ‘We’ll All Go riding On A Rainbow’ and ‘Keep Your Sunny Side Up’.
Andrew duly received a well deserved enthusiastic ovation from the assembled audience and responded with and Encore of  ‘Wish Me Luck As You wish Me Goodbye’, ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’.
Ray Hulbert thanked Andrew for a wonderful evening’s entertainment and hoped that we would see him again 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        E mail:  paul.dolman1@btopenworld.com

Paul W Dolman

  • Guest
Re: Compton organ concerts at Eden grove, Bristol
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2006, 02:41:12 AM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by ROBERT WOLFE
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 22nd October 2005 - Presented by Ray Hulbert


Photo by P W Dolman

ROBERT WOLFE AT THE WIZARD COMPTON

A full house greeted ROBERT WOLFE, our latest guest organist, at Eden Grove, while the uncertain weather remained dry for us.  Ray Hulbert introduced Robert, as Byron Jones was unfortunately suffering from the effects of the ‘flu or a heavy cold.  We all wished Byron a speedy recovery.
The lights dimmed and the red curtains swished aside to reveal Robert seated at the illuminated Compton and playing, on his first visit from Norwich, ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ followed by the march ‘Brass Buttons’ by Mantovani.
He said that he was pleased to play for us and he had heard so much about this organ and so he would just give us plenty of music.
His first selection consisted of tunes all about dreams.  These included, ‘Can’t stop me from dreaming’, ‘Forgotten dreams’, ‘You stepped out of a dream’, ‘Dream’, ‘When I grow too old to dream’, ‘Beautiful dreamer’, ‘All I do is dream of you’, ‘I’ll see you in my dreams’ and ‘Dream of Olwen’.
Robert told us how time has flown, now that he has completed twenty-five years playing as resident organist at Thursford, Norfolk.  His prodigious output of music was evident by the spread of videos and CDs on display nearby.
He continued with ‘Cherokee’, ‘A foggy day in London town’, ‘Love Everlasting’, Delicado’, ‘Oh Danny Boy’, ‘Karaoke’, ‘Cumana’ and ‘Zsardas’.  His version of ‘Love Everlasting’ was really marvellous to hear, reminding us of both Hubert Selby and Jessie Crawford’s interpretations.
A contrast next with an impressive ‘Nuns’ Chorus’ once recorded by the Luton Girls Choir.  This spell was broken by some lively numbers to take us up to the Interval with, ‘You’re the cream in my coffee’, ‘You were meant for me’, ‘Somebody stole my gal’ and finishing with ‘Twelfth Street Rag’ with enthusiastic use of the siren and klaxon sound effects.
The overhead projection system had shown on the adjacent screen his busy hands darting hither and thither to select the various stop tabs without the slightest interruption in the flow of his music.
Again we were invited to sit in the adjoining church during the break for refreshments.
Robert returned for the second half, resplendent in a mauve velvet jacket, prompting cheers from the audience.  He plunged straight into ‘A wonderful day like today’ with unabated energy.
Next came some marches ‘Follies Bergere’, ‘The High School Band’ and ‘Vienna for Ever’.
Some requests were played next.  These had been submitted during the Interval, including one from a Derbyshire fan for ‘The Rose’ from the film of the same name starring Bet Middler.
Robert then chose to play tunes from films and shows that he promised we would all recognise.
They included, ‘The Devil’s Gallop’, signature tune of the radio programme ‘Dick Barton - Special Agent’, followed by a nice arrangement of the ‘Legend Of the Glass Mountain’.  He continued with ‘Chitty Chitty, Bang, Bang’, ‘Laura’, ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘Mame’ and ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’, ‘If my friends could see me now’, ‘Moon river’, ‘True love’ and finishing with ‘One of those songs’.  Here Robert demonstrated his incredible dexterity at ‘waterfalling’ the three manuals vertically, horizontally, diagonally, and all possible combinations of these in between, with fast and accurate playing beyond belief to resounding applause as we had recovered our breath.
Robert informed us that it was boiling hot up on stage and he apologised for taking the shine off Byron’s polished organ stool.  He remarked how nice it was to be able to play the Wizard Compton and asked us to give a round of applause to Byron and Terry and to all those involved in restoring the organ to its current condition.  He said he would be playing a Wurlitzer tomorrow at Singing Hills just outside of Brighton and next week he would be flying over to Philadelphia. It’s a hard life he quipped.
More requested tunes followed with ‘Highland Cathedral’ imitating the pipes and drums, ‘The Leap Year Waltz’, ‘Waltz of my heart’, ‘Slow boat to China’, ‘Amorilla’, ‘Happy feet’ from the film King of Jazz, ‘Auf Weidersein’, ‘We’ll meet again’, ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, ‘Lambeth walk’, ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain’, ‘Happy wanderer’, ‘My old man said follow the band’, ‘Daisy Bell’, ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’, ‘When I’m cleaning windows’ and finally ‘Pack up your troubles’.
Tumultuous applause followed this veritable flood of music and Robert left the stage.
Ray Hulbert thanked him for a tremendous evening’s entertainment and called him back on stage for an Encore.  Appropriately he opened with ‘When day is done’, followed by ‘I’ll be seeing you’.  ‘Going Home’ by Anton Dvorak, followed with ‘Now is the hour’, and a final burst of energy and flying fingers with ‘Hold that tiger’ and ‘Here’s to the next time’ where the audience clapped in time until finally applauding his last number of the evening.
A photo-call was arranged at the end of his dynamic performance and the cameras flashed to capture the memory of a wonderful show given by a most talented and hard working artist who excelled in both his music and its presentation.

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

Paul W Dolman

  • Guest
Re: Compton organ concerts at Eden grove, Bristol
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2006, 02:45:42 AM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by JOHN MANN
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 26th November 2005 - Presented by Byron Jones


Composite photo by P W Dolman

JOHN MANN PLAYED THE WIZARD COMPTON

Byron Jones faced a packed audience to present a very popular top-line organist and all-round Entertainer, namely, Mr John Mann.  His ‘Eminence’ had created a demand for extra seats to be brought in from the adjacent church to accommodate all those who had arrived to hear him.
The curtains parted to the sound of John’s opening signature tune, ‘Sussex by the sea’.  Next came a March, to get us in the mood for some lively music.  Following banter with the audience he then continued with a melody of swing tunes ‘I can’t give you anything but love (baby)’, ‘You’re nobody’s baby now’, ‘I’m sitting on top of the world’ and ‘Puttin’ on the style’.
By way of a contrast he played the tone poem ‘In a Monastery garden’ complete with appropriate bird twitters from the Compton effects department. 
A selection of Neapolitan tunes came next celebrating the Italian opera singers, and these included ‘Cara Mia  (Mine)’, ‘Papa Picalino’, ‘Sorrento’, ‘Catari’ and ‘Feniculi, Fenicula’.
John then announced he would play three tunes of very different moods.  The first he hoped that we would sing the proper words with the ‘Colonel Bogey’ March.  The second reminded him of when he first demonstrated the string sounds of the Eminent organ thirty years ago with ‘Charmaine’, and the third was the signature tune he used to play many years ago (50?) for the Brighton Tigers Ice hockey team, namely ‘Tiger Rag’.  He used the piccolo to imitate the band whistle and cascaded the high registers for the Mantovani sound and worked fast and furious to bring that Tiger to a roaring climax.
With all the bad news around the world, it’s sometimes difficult to raise a smile, so with this in mind John played a selection of tunes all about smiling.  These included, ‘Put on a happy face’, ‘Smile’, ‘Two eyes of blue (came smiling through)’, ‘The shadow of your smile’, ‘Give me your smile’ using the chimes to good effect, and finishing with ‘When you’re smiling’ on a drum roll.
Continuing straight into ‘Cheek to cheek’, ‘Top hat, white tie and tails’, ‘Stepping out with my baby’ and again ‘Cheek to cheek’ John took us to the Interval, at which point Byron thanked him for such a wonderful performance. 
Byron thanked the audience for turning out on such a cold night to support John Mann and for continuing to support the ‘Wizard Compton’ organ concerts.
Tickets for Byron’s Christmas concert on Saturday 10th December 2005 were selling fast and there would also be a Carol concert at his house on the Wurlitzer on Saturday 17th December.
There will also be a concert on New Year’s day – doors open 12noon, buffet at 12.30pm and together with the organ concert, it will cost £6 per person.
Fresh cakes with tea or coffee for refreshments were available, and we were invited to visit the adjacent church where many goods were on sale at the church Christmas Fair.
Following the Interval John commenced with a Hungarian dance ‘Czardas’ by Monte.  This piece he usually plays as an Encore but he said he wasn’t taking any chances tonight.
Frank Churchill wrote lots of lovely music for the Walt Disney films such and Bambi etc.  However, John said that he would play music from ‘Snow White and the little people’ (one has to be careful not to offend these days), a film that had so many hit tunes in it.  These included,  ‘Some day my Prince will come’, ‘Whistle while you work’, ‘Hi ho, hi ho, as off to work we go’ and ‘With a smile and a song’.
A long selection of fast familiar Latin-American tunes included that amazing finger breaker ‘Tico, Tico’, reminiscent of the great electronic organ virtuoso, Ethel Smith.
John recounted how when playing at a private concert for some ‘awfully nice people’, it was difficult to know what to play, since the lady liked Ivor Novello music and the gentleman preferred the upbeat Sullivan music.
With this in mind, he came up with his ‘Sullivan-Novello selection where the two composers’ music gelled together very well.  As an aside to the audience he observed that, ‘Mind you, they paid a lot more for it than you have!!’
As a result the lively tunes from ‘The Gondoliers’ and others became cleverly entwined with such songs as, ‘Some day my heart will awake’, ‘I can give you the starlight’, ‘Love is my reason for living’ and ‘The Leap Year waltz’.
John completed his brilliant show with some well-known sing-along tunes, and we all joined in with them.  ‘Carolina in the morning’, ‘Pretty baby’, ‘You made me love you’, ‘Mammy’, ‘April showers’, ‘Dixie melody’, ‘Toot, toot, tootsie, goodbye’. Here he conjured up extremely good train sounds.
Finally, ‘Sonny boy’ and his signature tune ‘Sussex by the sea’ brought the music to an end save for the Encore, demanded by the exuberant audience, of ‘We’ll meet again’.
Byron thanked John Mann for a great concert and to hear the organ played like that made him feel very proud.  It is true that John produced such expert playing and included something for everyone to enjoy.  His jokes and friendly repartee with the audience made for a great evening’s entertainment.

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

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at Eden grove, Bristol
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2006, 02:50:15 AM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by BYRON JONES
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 10th December 2005 - Presented by Ray Hulbert


Composite photo by P W dolman

BYRON JONES at his Christmas Concert

Ray Hulbert introduced this special Christmas concert by BYRON JONES at his Wizard Compton organ, and, as the curtains opened, he struck up with jingling sleigh-bell sounds and Christmas music including ‘Sleigh Ride’ and ‘Jingle Bells’, at which point the audience immediately joined in.
Many animated toys adorned the stage among the coloured lights, while the hall ceiling was festooned with Christmas tinsel and trimmings. 
Father Christmas hats and flashing earrings were evident amongst the audience.  Byron was pleased and surprised that so many had attended his concert and said that more tickets had to be printed to meet the demand. 
We all had a Christmas cracker on each of our seats, and we were invited to pull them and wear the paper hats they contained.  This led to a large number of bangs and some commotion among the audience. 
Following this organised chaos Byron played ‘My Buddy’ in lush theatre style. 
He enquired whether we had all bought our presents, and if not, there were CDs, Videos and DVDs available to fill that need.
Next he played ‘Walking in the air’ while accompanying a film clip from ‘The Snowman’ shown on the adjacent screen.  Contrasting this with a bright arrangement of ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’.
A slow beat number next with ‘Body and Soul’.  Then came a request for ‘The Wind Beneath My Wings’ and along with this a film was shown giving breathtaking aerial views of snow-covered mountains, glaciers, forests, seas and general wildlife. 
On the top of the Compton organ was a set of rotary wind chimes from America, unique to this country at present.  These were operated from one of the foot pistons, although one dangerously close to that for the very loud Klaxon horn.
Byron then announced a channel-change on his organ to present a tune called ‘Bohemian Rag’ and featuring a de-tuned piano and a multitude of bell sounds.
Next, a selection of tunes from ‘My Fair Lady’ which included, ‘Wouldn’t it be luvverly’, ‘With a little bit of luck’, ‘The rain in Spain’, ‘On the street where you live’, and ‘I could have danced all night’.
To take us up to the Interval Byron played appropriate music to a projected black and white film called ‘The Haunted House’ and starring Buster Keaton.  This had its quota of people in white sheets, chute-like staircases and doors and cupboards for concealment.  Byron matched the actions and antics of the film with his expert impromptu playing to the obvious delight of the audience.
That delight was further enhanced by the announcement that all tea/coffee and mince pies were free on this occasion during the Interval.   The adjoining Church also had a display of Christmas items for sale for those last minute purchases.
Byron commenced his second half using the sleigh-bells for a German Christmas song whose name sounded phonetically dubious.  This was quickly followed by, ‘When a child is born’, ‘Bless this house’ (using chimes), ‘Pennsylvania 6-5000’ (audience participation), ‘Moonlight Serenade’, and ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ (with train effects on the keys).
Popular songs came next with ‘When I fall in love’, ‘Smile’, ‘Misty’, ‘Powder your face with sunshine’, ‘We’ll all go riding on a rainbow’, ‘Keep your sunnyside up’, ‘ Blanket on the ground’, ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain’. ‘Jambalaya’, ‘Riders in the sky’, Softly awakes my heart’, ‘Vienna, city of my dreams’, ‘Theme from Dr Zhivago’, ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’ and  ‘Wonderful Copenhagen’.
A further selection of popular tunes followed to keep the spirit of the evening going with, ‘Mammy’, ‘When April showers’, ‘California, here I come’, ‘Toot, toot, tootsie, goodbye’, ‘On Mother Kelly’s doorstep’, ‘Whispering’, ‘Who’s sorry now?’ and ‘Some of those days’.
Byron told us how he was on ‘Cloud 9’ when in the USA, but now he’s on ‘Cloud 10’ here in Bristol.
Byron then rounded off a marvellous evening of entertainment with more Christmas music starting with ‘White Christmas’ from the film ‘Holiday Inn’.  He continued with ‘Walking in a winter wonderland’, ‘Noel’, ‘See amid the winter snow’, ‘Silent night’ (Chimes), ‘Away in a manger’, ‘Hark, the Herald Angels sing’, ‘Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer’, ‘O, little town of Bethlehem’ and ‘O come all ye faithful’.
And as a final gesture we all joined hands for AULD LANG SYNE while Byron again accompanied a nostalgic film showing the return flight of our proud supersonic Concorde aircraft and its touch down at Filton, Bristol.
Byron was in top form giving an even better than ever concert of Christmas music that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.  In conclusion, Ray Hulbert thanked Byron for a really great evening’s entertainment.

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

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Re: Compton organ concerts at Eden grove, Bristol
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2006, 02:55:27 AM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by CHRIS POWELL
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 21st January 2006 - Presented by Ray Hulbert


Photo by P W Dolman

CHRIS POWELL at the Wizard Compton organ

On this particular occasion Byron Jones was away at Woking, so the task of presenting fell to Ray Hulbert to welcome back our guest organist for tonight, CHRIS POWELL.
The red curtains opened to reveal Chris playing his signature tune, ‘If my friends could see me now’.
Wishing us all ‘A Happy New Year’ he opened his programme with a lively March to get our toes tapping called ‘Sons of the Brave’.
Chris dedicated the next song to his lovely wife Marie ‘Can you feel the love tonight?’ written by Elton John and from the film ‘The Lion King’.  Here the tubular bells rang out their resounding song.
Chris chose next to feature songs by Cole Porter which included, ‘You do something to me’, ‘It’s De-lovely’, ‘In the still of the night’ (vibraphone), ‘Night and Day’, It’s all right with me’, ‘Strange dear, but true dear’, ‘So in love with you am I’.
Chris then changed the mood to some swing music with Big Band style songs that included, ‘Rock around the clock’, ‘Opus One’, ‘Georgia’, ‘Lullaby of Broadway’, ‘Mack the knife’, ‘In old Manhattan’, ‘Forty-second Street’.  A further contrast from Handel’s Water Music with ‘The Fireworks Suite’ originally performed on the Thames, now appropriately in the news with the stranded whale currently being taken by barge out to sea.
‘Memory’ came next, from the musical show ‘Cats’ using the glockenspiel and chimes to good effect.
Chris told us how he was on a six week long tour last year during June and July to New Zealand and Australia.  He visited all the major theatre organ venues across both countries.  Most of them had Wurlitzers although they did have a couple of very fine Comptons there also.  Chris said that wherever you go in the organ world and talk about organists, someone is bound to mention the name of Reginald Dixon.
His fame spread through the radio broadcasts and seventy-eight rpm records that were widely sold.
So in honour of Reg’s forty years at the Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer (he would have been 101 this year) Chris played a selection of tunes made famous by the Maestro.
Commencing with ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’, these included, ‘You’re nobody’s sweetheart now’, ‘One of those songs’, ‘Charmaine’, ‘I’m dancing with tears in my eyes’, ‘These foolish things’, ‘Toot, toot, tootsie, goodbye’, ‘Bye, bye Blues’ and ‘The old piano rag’. 
The Interval arrived and a chance for refreshments, conversation, and a visit to the adjoining church.
Chris returned to the second half of his concert with some requests which he included in his ‘Latin Fiesta Medley’ of tunes, namely, ‘Delicado’, ‘Marielena’, ‘Spanish Eyes’, ‘Amarillo’, ‘Eye Level’ from the 1970s Dutch detective series Van der Vaulk starring Barry Foster, ‘The girl from Ipanema’, and ‘Tico, Tico’.  After this fast moving selection Chris hardly waited for the applause but continued with more favourites from our song writers featuring, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Some enchanted evening’, ‘I enjoy being a girl’, ‘Tonight’, ‘On the street where you live’ and ‘Music of the night’.
Chris recounted how on a one time trip to Paris with his father this led to a visit to the Folies Bergere and watching the incredible scantily dressed dancing girls and hearing the fantastic music.  It turned out that this was not a recording - there was in fact a full Symphony orchestra under the stage.  The stage was made of glass!!
Chris said that at that point he seriously considered taking up the violin instead of the organ.
So Chris decided to re-create the atmosphere of that time in Paris by playing ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’ while encouraging any ladies in the audience to participate in the ‘Can Can’ dance.
His use of the organ voices to emulate the appropriate orchestral instruments was very clever.
The vibraphone and open harmony heralded the next number entitled, ‘The nearness of you’ played in a very effective style.
Chris was extremely complimentary about the Wizard Compton organ and said it seemed only like yesterday that Byron had shown him photos during its renovation and promised that one day there would be concerts held here and that he would be able to play it. 
To end his programme of music Chris returned to the Blackpool sound. His selection included, ‘Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye’, ‘Love and marriage’, ‘The Lambeth walk’, ‘I’m looking over a four leafed clover’, ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain’, ‘Walking my baby back home’, ‘We’ll meet again’, ‘Bless’em all’, ‘Daisy Bell’ and ‘Twelfth street rag’.
Chris completed his concert playing an encore of  ‘The Redetsky March’ while the audience clapped along until resolving into the final applause of the evening.  The MC Ray Hulbert thanked Chris for a marvellous programme of music and looked forward to his early return to Eden Grove.

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

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at Eden Grove, Bristol
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2006, 10:21:24 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by GORDON HALEY
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 25th February 2006 - Presented by Byron Jones


Photo by P W Dolman

GORDON HALEY AT THE WIZARD COMPTON

Byron Jones took the stage and welcomed old and new friends to the concert.  Tonight he introduced a new guest artist to us.  Normally seen operating the lighting and projection systems from the ‘crow’s nest’ at the back of the hall, Gordon Haley is a local lad who not only plays theatre organs but also restores them.  Both the Wizard Compton and the Compton organ at the Odeon cinema Weston owe much to his administrations.
Gordon commenced his programme with ‘A wonderful day like today’.  He said it was a wonderful night tonight to able to play to us, tunes he hoped we would enjoy in the next couple of hours.
Keeping with tradition he continued with a march called ‘March of the Cobblers’ from the film ‘Brassed off’.  Gordon said it was difficult to avoid the temptation to look up at the drums while playing.
His first major selection was songs from the film ‘On the town’.  Originally, Jerome Robins had written a one-scene ballet with music by Leonard Bernstein.  They then produced a stage show based on this in New York in 1945.  Warner brothers bought the rights to make a film of this but with cast and song changes.  Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Vera Ellen and Ann Miller were the main stars.  The film included such songs as, ‘New York, New York’ (the only original song to survive from the stage show), ‘My place’, ‘You’re awful’, ‘Count on me’, ‘Main Street’, ‘Prehistoric man’, ‘Miss Turnstiles’ and ‘A day in New York’.
Gordon next played ‘Open your heart’ by American organist Llyn Larsen featuring the unique rotary wind chimes with a final note on the tubular bells.
A waltz medley was his choice to follow and included, ‘Lover’, ‘Around the world’, ‘Wives and Lovers’, ‘Wonderful Copenhagen’ and ‘The Rainbow connection’ (a hit for Kermit the frog!).
A popular Party piece followed with ‘The Punch and Judy Polka’.
The mysterious harmony and key-wandering tune of ‘Laura’ coupled with another glorious tune of ‘Stella by starlight’ and leading straight into the classic ‘Night and Day’, these were all very expressively played.
Gordon paid tribute to that great past organist, Bryan Rodwell, by playing his one time signature tune ‘You made me love you’.
His final selection for the first half was a selection of Disney tunes from films such as ‘Snow White and the seven dwarfs’, ‘Pinnochio’, ‘Mickey Mouse’ and others, ending with ‘When you wish upon a star’ evoking much applause as Byron thanked him for the music and announced the Interval.
The audience made an orderly exit, seeking refreshments and conversation, prior to returning for the Raffle and the eagerly anticipated further entertainment.
Byron recalled Gordon to the console where he announced he would be playing some requested tunes.
The first of these was the popular ‘Dam Busters March’, followed by ‘Tea for two’ in appreciation of all the voluntary hard work put in by the ‘tea ladies’ in providing a hundred plus people with teas, coffees and biscuits at every concert.
Gordon played more requests which included a slow ballad ‘Only a rose’, a bright and fast ‘Redetsky March’, contrasting again with a slow ‘Alice blue gown’.   ‘The sun has got his hat on’ set a jauntier pace as did ‘Me and my gal’ changing key into ‘I know why’ and yet again keying into ‘Whistler and his dog’ mercifully without any accident to the dog as seems often the tradition.
A well-known classical piece by Elgar, ‘Salut D’Amour’, demonstrated the more serious, quiet, straight sounds of the Compton organ without tremulants.
Gordon then played ‘Penguins’ Playtime’, a novelty piece written by Nigel Ogden of ‘The Organist Entertains’ fame on BBC radio.
He then reminisced about a long past TV programme called ‘Wings’ all about the first World War aircraft and he remembered the theme tune called ‘The Sussex Lad’, which he then proceeded to play.
With hardly a pause for applause he swung straight into ‘I want to be happy’, ‘The world is waiting for the sunrise’ and ‘If my friends could see me now’.
At this point Gordon feigned slight embarrassment saying that this is normally the part of the show when thanks is given to all those responsible for keeping the organ in such good condition.  He did however include his colleagues, Byron, Terry, Bob the builder and his deputy Ruth in this tribute to the obvious approval of the audience.  He said that it had been an absolute pleasure for him to play to us and the evening had simply gone by so quickly.  Surveying the elderly audience he urged us all to swell the numbers by bringing our mums and dads.
He then gave us his last long medley of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra all extracted from his ‘101 Frank Sinatra Hits for Buskers’ book available from a well known music shop in Bristol!! 
(He works there)
And so we were treated to all these tunes, ‘Call me irresponsible’, ‘Strangers in the night’, ‘Come fly with me’, ‘It was a very good year’, ‘High Hopes’.   ‘The very thought of you’, ‘Moonlight becomes you’, ‘Love and Marriage’, ‘East of the sun’ and finally, ‘Luck be a lady tonight’ rounding off with chords from ‘Call me irresponsible’.
For an Encore Gordon played ‘Sing as we go’, ‘I’ll see you again’ and  ‘We’ll meet again’.
To identify and list all the tunes played is daunting enough, but to play them all for two hours entirely from memory without music takes some doing. 
Gordon gave a masterful performance on the Compton and to watch his hands on the projection screen showed how smoothly he selected those lush harmonies and dealt deftly with the stop tab changes ensuring that a variety of sounds were heard in perfect continuity.
Not only does he possess the technical skill to make it work, he can also play the instrument to a professional level of competence.  We look forward to hearing him play again in the future.

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

Paul W Dolman

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Re: Compton organ concerts at Eden Grove, Bristol
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2006, 01:12:34 PM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by BYRON JONES
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 25th March 2006 - Presented by Ray Hulbert



Photo by P W Dolman
BYRON JONES AT THE WIZARD COMPTON

Over one hundred persons attended on a rainy evening to hear Ray Hulbert introduce our one and only local man, BYRON JONES, to entertain us on his beloved Wizard Compton organ.  The curtains parted to reveal the most colourful display of lighting and a stage bedecked with various little artefacts including Easter chicks.  Bunches of daffodils and flags bearing the Welch dragon were arranged along the front as a belated celebration of St David’s day on 1st March.  Byron was resplendent in a white jacket bearing a large dragon, all glittering in the spotlights.  A string of small fairy lights outlined the backdrop and glass panels revealed the illuminated workings of the organ. 
At this venue there is always a screen showing an overhead view of the three manuals and the organist’s hands playing and selecting from the extensive array, the various stop tabs that give the appropriate voices for the music.
Byron opened his programme playing tunes with Welsh flavour including ‘Men of Harlech’ and ‘God Bless the Prince of Wales’.
He followed this with the traditional selection of brisk Marches to get our feet tapping.
Byron told us that the organ can now be tuned electronically and Gordon Haley had been able to accomplish this with the aid of a single keyboard.
In appreciation of a good job done, he dedicated his next tune ‘My Buddy’ to Gordon.
A change of tempo brought ‘Granada’ using the real castanets from the percussion section and ‘Lady of Spain’.  Both tunes bringing to mind visions of the dancers with stamping feet and swirling crinoline dresses with hands held high.
Byron then announced that we would be leaving Spain and going to Aberdare in Wales by way of introducing a lovely Welsh soprano singer Pamela Fields to take the stage.
A slim lady with dark hair and wearing a black sequinned dress came to the microphone.  With a smile she announced she would be singing her first song in Welsh, and was accompanied very sensitively by Byron on the Compton organ.  Her quiet but clear speaking voice belied her strong vocal ability to fill the hall with sound.  She then enchanted us with a lovely song ‘My Dearest Dear’ by Ivor Novello who was born in Cardiff.  The audience applauded and Byron told us that Pamela would sing for us again in the second half.
At this part of the programme Byron said that, as tomorrow would be Mothering Sunday, he would like to dedicate a lovely piece of music not only his own mother, but to all the other Mothers and so he played ‘My Mother’s Eyes’.
He continued with a bright version of ‘Whispering’ and ended with a slower haunting Carpenters hit tune, ‘Solitaire’.  With barely a pause Byron struck up with ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’, ‘Wonderful Copenhagen’ and ‘Somewhere my love’, the theme tune from David Lean’s film Dr Zhivago.
A change of mood and tempo with a serious and well known work by Edward Elgar from his Enigma Variations No 8 ‘Nimrod’ that demonstrated the non-tremulant sound of the Compton to great effect.
Applause melted into Byron playing a lively version of ‘Some of those days’ to once more lighten the mood.  He took us up to the Interval playing a request for the theme tune from the film Ghost, ‘Unchained Melody’.
The Interval heralded the unusual offering of ‘Mothering Day’ buns with our tea and coffee that may be partaken of in the adjacent beautiful church wherein lay its own church pipe organ.
The audience returned to the hall to try their luck at winning the Raffle of prizes or to purchase any of Byron’s CDs and videos in order that ‘he might afford to buy a bone for his lovely dog Melody’.
The second half of Byron’s concert opened in a truly spectacular manner.  To the majestic sound of the descending chords of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, the lights dimmed and the curtains drew aside.
We were greeted with the vision of a sinister figure wearing a long black cloak and black hat seated at the console and surrounded by increasing clouds of smoke.  A flickering candelabrum containing three candles glimmered through the smoke.  His selection of music from the Phantom included, the title song, ‘Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Wishing you were somehow here again’ and ‘All I ask of you’.
At the end of the music the figure swung to face the audience revealing a red lining to the cloak while his features were concealed by a half mask. 
It was, of course Byron, acting out the role of the Phantom of the Opera to dramatic effect for our delight and he hoped that it would not frighten anyone when he removed the mask.
Byron followed this with a selection of songs including, ‘Crazy’, ‘When I fall in love’, ‘The Skater’s Waltz’ and ‘Poor Wandering One’.
He then re-introduced Pamela Fields to the microphone.  For her first number she sang ‘If I loved you’ from Carousel.  She followed this with, ‘I could have danced all night’ from My Fair Lady and finally ‘You’ll never walk alone’ by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II.  She smiled and thanked us for the enthusiastic applause.
In spite of requests Byron insisted that he would carry on playing and continued with many more songs.  These included ‘Sentimental Journey’, ‘Moonlight Serenade’, ‘In a Monastery Garden’ (with birds chirping), ‘We’ll all go riding on a rainbow’, ‘Poor Butterfly’, ‘I love you and don’t you forget it’, ‘How Great Thou Art’, ‘Londonderry Air’, ‘Mary of Argyle’ ‘Myfanwy’ and ‘Friends for Life’.
Byron finished with a general singalong set of tunes to round off the evening.  They included, various Scottish tunes like ‘Cock o’ the North’, ‘A Hundred Pipers and all’, then ‘If you’re Irish, come into the parlour’, ‘When Irish eyes are smiling’, and ‘Bread of Heaven’.  A good time was had by all and Ray Hulbert was sincere in his appreciation of Byron’s efforts to promote this as a worthy and now famous venue for music at the Wizard Compton.
This was an excellent programme of music with unusual and memorable aspects.  Byron always enters into the spirit of true show biz entertainment in terms of both the visual and sound presentation and is playing better than ever.

The next artiste will be Len Rawle on 22nd April 2006,

 For details of times and ticket prices Tel 0117 949 7742 or write to:- 
Wizard Compton c/o Byron Jones, Melody House, 523 Filton Avenue, Horfield, BRISTOL BS7 0QF
See web-site: www.wizardcompton.org.uk

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

Hugh Wallington

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Re: Compton organ concerts at Eden Grove, Bristol
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2006, 11:57:54 AM »
THEATRE ORGAN CONCERT by LEN RAWLE
At the Wizard Compton organ, Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall, Filton, Bristol
7pm Saturday 22nd April 2006 - Presented by Byron Jones




Photos by Paul Dolman

LEN RAWLE AT THE WIZARD COMPTON

Now that the lighter evenings are upon us, the curtains had to be closed at Eden Grove Methodist hall to exclude the strong daylight from our concert within.  Byron Jones took the stage and announced that whereas the last concert commemorated Easter and St David’s day, this one was for the English with the flags of St George on display.   He said that tonight’s artiste has been a dear friend of his for the last twenty-seven years and he first met him at his parents’ house, Wurlitzer Lodge, where Edith and Les Rawle had a beautiful three manual nineteen rank Wurlitzer organ from the Granada cinema Wandsworth.  Now Len has his own four manual twenty-five rank Wurlitzer organ from the Empire, Leicester Square, and has custom built his house around it.
Without further ado Byron introduced LEN RAWLE.
The red curtains parted to reveal Len standing beside the Compton.  He told us how he had long wished to play this Compton and hoped to extract many sounds from it for our delight during the evening.  He said he would pay tribute to our wonderful lady, the Queen, now at her eightieth birthday, with his opening music.
Len recounted how he and his wife had been invited to a Royal Garden Party because of recognition of his ‘Services to the Organ World’ for which he felt greatly honoured.
Len then seated himself at the console and commenced with his signature tune, ‘There’s no business like Show Business’ with his impression of the orchestra tuning up.  He followed this with a selection of music that included, ‘As time goes by’ using the chimes, ‘Speak easy’, ‘Romance’, ‘What is this thing called love?’, and culminating in a wonderful arrangement of  ‘’Swonderful’.
Next Len gave us another lovely harmonious rendition of that well-known number, ‘Fools rush in’ full of throbbing tibias and chromatic runs.
A classical piece of music featured next, the sort you could tap your feet to.  The composer, Gordon Young, an American, wrote over six hundred tunes but this one was the most popular and known as, ‘Prelude in Classic Style’.  This transformed the theatre sound into a non-tremulant Classical organ played in the form reminiscent of the music from earlier Masters of Classical writing.
Len decided to employ one of the brass foot pistons in his next piece as Byron had told him there was a bird warble on this organ.  Max Jaffa, an expert violist, used to play this by sliding up and down the strings of his violin.  As a contrast to the classical piece Len then played, ‘The Hot Canary’ making full use of this effect together with high pitched ‘whistle’ pipes. The end was complete with the sound of a single -‘cuckoo’.
Some very fast finger work tested both the organ and the organist with a familiar tune called, ‘The Dance of the Comedians’, from the Bartered Bride by Smetna.
Len proceeded to enlighten us about the composer Ronald Binge who used to arrange the cascading effect for the Mantovani String orchestra.  He also wrote background music that had been used in a Children’s programme called ‘The Secret Garden’.  Likewise during the early TV Interludes when they used pictures of a Water Wheel to fill time.  This piece, which most of us had forgotten or never heard, Len played next, called, ‘The Water Mill’.
A change of tempo enlivened the next tune, played as a Samba and called ‘The Anaconda’ where Len tried to make this dangerous snake wriggle in time with the music.
To take us up to the Interval Len had decided to find a replacement tune for ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ that had often been requested over the years and that he had played many times.  He finally came up with a similar type of tune called ‘Honky Tonk Trains’ made famous by Mead Lux Lewis. 
Starting with a good imitation of the American train whistle it proceeded to rattle along at a regular rhythmic pace on the railroad, crossing points on its journey, sounding the cowbell en route and finally slowing to a halt with a hiss at its destination.   The strains of ‘There’s no business like show business’ heralded the end of the first half, promptly greeted with much applause from the audience.
At the Interval the audience filed out for refreshments and conversation and a visit to the adjoining church where Byron graciously came around to have a chat with us all.
Refreshed for the second half, Len opened with a bright little number he had written for EMI as a sort of Showbiz tune called ‘Curtain Up’, and continued with a selection of tunes that included Al Jolson songs, ‘Rock-a-bye your baby with a Dixie Melody’, ‘Sonny Boy’ and ‘Babyface’.
Quieter more relaxing music next in order that Len could explore the host of individual voices within this organ, built almost eighty years ago in 1927.  His selection commenced with clock chimes and featured the piano sound with, ‘I’ll close my eyes’.  A contrasting mixture voice for, ‘Time after time’, and sweeping glissando for ‘This is a lovely way to spend an evening’.  High cascading sounds for, ‘The stars will remember’ and a low melody line for ‘You’ll never know how much I love you’. .
Such descriptions are inadequate as Len is constantly changing sounds during his exploratory rendition.
Len recounted how the next tune reminded him of happy memories spent at Bournemouth in his youth where among other things he had his first organ lesson in the Pavilion from the Civic organist, the late great Harold Coombs.  Also he would listen to the band playing in the bandstand and wait for the percussionist to come forward to play the xylophone at the front.  Len played ‘Zirkus Renz’ being a German Gallop by Gustav Peter written as a xylophone solo and formerly used as a signature tune by the German Renz Circus and some military bands over here.  And now to be heard on the Wizard Compton xylophone performed at break neck speed.
At a more leisurely pace came next a tune familiar to most in its past association with the popular request programme on radio for some fifty years, Housewives Choice, and called ‘In Party Mood’.
A very emotive piece of music next with special meaning to Len, ‘Wishing you were somehow here again’ from Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber.   A Klaus Wunderlich creation followed with ‘Rhythm’ where Len brought in the piano again on the left hand.
Another beautiful piece of music, by Jerome Kern, once the signature tune of Ena Baga and in the keys of E flat and B, requiring three flats and five sharps in its execution of ‘Smoke gets in your eyes’.
A more upbeat selection followed immediately with, ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ by Johnny Mercer and ‘Anything Goes’ by Cole Porter.
Len complimented all those responsible for keeping this organ in such fine fettle, he said it handles so well and is a sheer joy to play.
Finally he chose to enchant us with his selection that included, ‘You were meant for me’, ‘They can’t take that away from me’, ‘I’ve got you under my skin’ and ending with his ‘Ho-down’ version loosely based on ‘The Orange Blossom Special’ with more lightning finger-work.  ’There’s no business like show business’ rang out for the last time to applause and cheers for more from the audience.
For an Encore Len played ‘That Lovely Weekend’ and ‘It’s all right with me’, underlining his own pleasure he had found at playing this organ.
Byron thanked Len Rawle for a wonderful evening and the audience for supporting the concerts.

Len Rawle writes a monthly article ‘Len’s Notes’ in the Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade magazine.

The next concerts will be to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the Wizard Compton organ at Eden Grove Methodist Church Hall on Friday 23rd May 2003.
The artistes will be:-
Gordon Haley and Byron Jones at 7pm Friday 26th May 2006 (tickets £5)
Kevin Grunill and Byron Jones at 7pm Saturday 27th May 2006 (tickets £5)
For all concert details and ticket prices Tel 0117 949 7742 or write to:- 
Wizard Compton c/o Byron Jones, Melody House, 523 Filton Avenue, Horfield, BRISTOL BS7 0QF
See web-site: www.wizardcompton.org.uk

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