Organist Directory :- Theatre

For information on the Graphic Icons used on this site click here

Quick link to names beginning with :- A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - R - S - T - U - V - W
Click to jump to the Electronic orHammond section for this player.
Top of page icon
Harry T. Abley b. 24th Mar 1917
Harry T. Abley was born 24th Mar 1917 in Nighton, Radnorshire.
He studied under the local parish organist and at secondary school. Harry passed all Association Board organ examinations with honours, the final with distinction at the age of 15.
He spent five years as organist at St. Davids parish church, Nighton. He joined ABC in 1938 holding appointments at Regal, Uxbridge; Ritz, Richmond and Commodore, Hammersmith.
Joined the Forces in 1940, served for six years in R.A.S.C & R.A.O.C.. Last nine months of service taken up with army entertainments. Demobbed MArch 1946.
Rejoined A.B.C on April 1st at the Savoy, Enfield then moving to the Regal Putney
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Jenny Allan
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Joyce Alldred
MP3 of Joyce Alldred organist Joyce Alldred
Stockport Town Hall 4/20 Wurlitzer
Website link icon
Joyce Alldred started her musical career in her native town of Hyde in Cheshire, UK, taking piano lessons, from the age of seven. During her teens the pull of the pipe organ saw her taking lessons at the organ of Flowery Field Church.
Joyce's interest in the Theatre Organ was as a result of a visit to the Regal Cinema in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Some years later due to the kindness of George Baker, General Manager of the Gaumont Theatre, Manchester, Joyce had use of the Theatre`s 4/14 Wurlitzer for practice. This eventually led Joyce to taking lessons. Her Theatre Organ playing started with the ABC Minors Matinees at the Apollo, Ardwick, Manchester, and the Children's Matinees at the Odeon, Sale, Manchester. Joyce often played at Theatre Organ Club and Cinema Organ Society meetings throughout the country, travelling by train and bus to reach venues as far away as London and the South Coast. Joyce was among the first members to join the C.O.S after its inception in 1952 by her teacher Hubert Selby.
Over the years Joyce Alldred has played many of the fine theatre organ installation in the UK prior to the wreckers ball demolishing the theatres and the organs being sold for scrap or broken down to enlarge other instruments.
Extract:- Joyce Alldred Web site →
Top of page icon
Sidney Amos 12th Nov 1917 - Feb 1994
Sidney Amos organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Sidney Stephen Amos was born on the 12th Nov 1910 in Ashford, Kent.
Studied piano, organ and theory under Dr. C. Merrill. First appointment aged 13. Conducted the Ashford Male Voice Choir at the age of 18.
Sidneys first theatre organ appointment was at the Capitol, Tonbridge then the Granada, Dover. After five years he left Dover and went to the Majestic, Reigate.
Joined Gaumont British in August 1945, playing at Plymouth and Chadwell Heath leaving Gaumont in April 1946 to go freelance.
Sidney Amos died February 1994.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Cecil Atkinson 11th Apr 1910 - Jul 1967
Cecil G. E. Atkinson was born 11th April 1910.
Trained under Cannon Cully, M.A. and Dr. M.P. Conway at Ely Cathedral
Joined Gaumont British in Scotland in 1932, transferring to London in 1935.
Left to go to the Regal, Cambridge in 1937.
Served in the Beds and Herts regiment 1940-1944.
Returned to play at the Regal Cambridge after being demobilised.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Martin Atterbury Facebook link logo
Burton's Wurlitzer Organ
Burton-On-Trent town hall Wurlitzer organ CAMRA beerfest
I do like to be beside the seaside
There always be an England CAMRA beerfest
Organist Martin Atterbury
Image from Martins FaceBook Page
Website link icon
Martin Atterbury profile will be updated when information becomes public.
Top of page icon
Stephen Austin OrganFax link logo
My Wish For Christmas
Royalty Wurlitzer Organ
Organist Stephen Austin
Image from Stephens COS page
Cinema Organ Society web page link icon
Article icon Article icon
Stephen Austin was born in 1952 in Taplow, Buckinghamshire and spent the next 21 years living around the home counties during which time he studied piano and classical organ in Essex to Grade 8.
On leaving Shenfield High School 6th form, Stephen was offered a position at Hammond Organ UK in Edgware on the recommendation of Ena Baga whom he had come to know through local Hammond Organ Societies, Stephen was appointed as Assistant to Keith Beckingham and George Blackmore at a time when Ena Baga, Bryan Rodwell, Hubert Selby, Len Rawle and Stanley King were regular visitors to the office.
Stephen was then offered a job as demonstrator/salesman/in-house teacher at the famous Cavendish Organ Centre in London's West End. During this period, Stephen was able to spend lunch hours at the New Gallery Wurlitzer and Saturday mornings were "lesson time" with John Stewart at the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn and also continue classical organ studies through the Royal College of Organists although he dare not tell his tutors about his theatre organ activities!
In 1974, Stephen moved up to Blackpool to go into partnership with organist and photography expert John Nunns and together they opened "Camera & Organ Centre" selling a wide range of photographic equipment together with electronic organs and keyboards and also famously stocking a vast range of theatre organ LP records - much visited by theatre organ enthusiasts when in Blackpool.
Stephen is also quite busy on the concert scene and has appeared at various theatre organ venues including The Paramount Studios (Bolton), The Cannock Wurlitzer, The LTOT Heritage Centre at Peel Green, Stockport Town Hall, Ossett Town Hall, The Rex at Elland, Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Gosport, Blackpool's Opera House, Saltaire, Harworth, The Royalty at Bowness as well as a host of electronic organ societies.
Extract:- COS Web page →
Top of page icon
Harry Austin
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Celeste Baga 28th Nov 1889 - 1st Aug 1962
Sister to Ena Baga and Florence De-Jong
Married to Alex Wilhelm Coenen Sep 1919 in Rochford, Essex. The Coenen's were all musicians as well, from Holland.
1946 Playing Independently.
Played the The Kingsway Compton in 1960.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World & Family history
Top of page icon
Ena Baga 5th Jan 1906 – 15th Jul 2004
Granada Harrow Wurlitzer
Remembering the Silents

LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Organist Ena Baga Wikipedia logo
Article icon Article icon Article icon Article icon
cd icon
Ena Rosina Baga was born in Clerkenwell London on January 5th 1906, her father, Constantine, was Italian and her mother, Charlotte, was Irish. Her father conducted a cinema orchestra at the Angel, Islington.
The family moved to Southend on Sea for the good of Ena's health.
Aged 12 she became the organist at the Roman Catholic church.
Ena Baga had three sisters, all musical - two of them, Florence (De Jong) and Celeste, became cinema organists, the fourth sister, Beatrice, played violin and saxophone.
When the sisters played together they formed an ensemble called Bagatrix.
Enas first cinema appointment was as assistant to her sister Florence De-Jong at the New Gallery Kinema, Regent Street. She went on to be soloist at the Tivoli, Strand where she remained for many years.
Ena has the distinction of being the only lady organist to be invited to play for King George V at Balmoral Castle.
Between 1925 and 1928 Ena played for silent movies, with the 'talkies' not requiring an organist Ena Baga changed direction to entertainer.
From 1940 to 1945 Ena Baga replaced Reginald Dixon at the Tower Ballroom while he completed his 'National Service'.
With many cinemas, including their organs, destroyed during the war and 'Talkies' taking over Ena changed direction again and embraced the new electronic 'Hammond' organ. Changing her repertoire to match the modern technology.
Ena Baga Married Elliot Turnbull in 1929 and Thomas J Hamilton Brown in 1936.
Ena Baga died 15th July 2004.
Extract:- from various sources
Top of page icon
Ray Baines 20th Apr 1920

Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946

Ray Baines was born 20th April 1920. When he left school he took up accounting but decided he preferred music and at the age of 16 was accompanying Kitty Masters.
Ray studied with Sydney Torch and started playing theatre organ at Union Cinemas. From there he went to the Savoy, Dublin then to the Capitol, Wembley.
Ray completed another tour with Kitty Masters before returning to the theatre organ with Granada Theatres. After five years at Granada he joined Gaumont British.
Recorded for Regal, Zonophone & Columbia. Started regular radio broadcasts in July 1941, did first broadcasts from Granadas Walthamstow & Kingston
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Charlie Balogh LinkedIn logo
Patriotic Americana - Organ Stop Pizza Wurlitzer
The Entertainer - Organ Stop Pizza Wurlitzer
Puttin on the Ritz - Organ Stop Pizza Wurlitzer
Phantom of the Opera - Organ Stop Pizza Wurlitzer
Charlie Balogh organist
Image from Charlies ATOS page →
Charlie Balogh is originally from Trenton, New Jersey. His interest in music began at age 11, at which time he started organ instruction. He studied with various teachers and eventually attended Trenton State College where he immersed himself in classical studies with Albert Ludecke. For a short time, he studied with Lee Erwin in New York.
Charlie worked as a staff organist at Organ Stop Pizza in Phoenix, Arizona from 1973 until 1976. In 1977 he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan to become organist at the Roaring 20's restaurant. In 1986 Charlie and his family purchased the business, which was renamed Good Time Charley's.
He had his own radio program on WGHN in Grand Haven, Michigan. After 14 years at the console of the Wurlitzer, he decided to close the restaurant in September 1991. After closing Good Time Charley's, Balogh decided to move back to Arizona to play for Organ Stop Pizza, this time in Mesa, at their magnificent new restaurant which features one of the largest Wurlitzer theatre organs in the world. In addition to his schedule at the restaurant, he maintains an active concert schedule throughout the country and abroad. For eight years he was a featured artist at the Century II Civic Center in Wichita, playing the former NY Paramount Wurlitzer with the Wichita State University Jazz Band as part of the Wichita River Festival.
Extract:- Charlie Balogh ATOS page →
Top of page icon
Gordon Banner b. 5th Sep 1911
Gordon Banner was born 5th September 1911. He began to play the organ at the age of fourteen, receiving tuition from his uncle, the late Alfred Banner , who was organist and choirmaster of the parish church of Tipton, Staffs.
It was Reginald Dixon who introduced him to the cinema organ in 1929, and in 1930 he went to America and made the acquaintance of Jesse Crawford. He appeared as guest organist at various cinemas in the U.S.A.
In this country he has held appointments at the Ritz Oxford, the Commodore Hammersmith, and the Odeon Manchester.
Extract:- Radio Times BBC Home Service 17 December 1940
Top of page icon
Clarence Barber 7th Sep 1903 - 25th Mar 1988
Clarence Barber organist
Image from private collection. Believe taken at New Victoria, Bradford, July 1939
(Herbert) Clarence Barber was born 7th September 1903 in Bardsley, Lancashire.
Was resident organist of the New Victoria, Bradford, for several years. He broadcast on the BBC Home Service from there.
Clarence had many active interests in the city. He founded the Midday concerts at the Bradford Technical College in 1939, and gave many a pianoforte recital there. He also gave recitals to the Bradford Music Circle, of which he was secretary.
He was a member of the Bradford City Police, whose musical talents were well known in Yorkshire.
His signature tune was 'On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at'
Clarence Barber died 25th March 1988 in Worcester, Worcestershire,
Extract:- Radio Times
Top of page icon
Eric Barlow
Conn Theatre Organ
Wurlitzer Organ
Conn Theater Organ
Eric Barlow organist
Image from the Eric Barlow web site
Website link icon
Eric Barlow was born in 1929. Music has been in Eric's blood since appearing in his first engagement at the age of 12 wearing short trousers! Eric's long and extensive career in music has taken him from having his own dance band to holding many organist positions in the North West of England. Eric's long career is too extensive to fully list here,
Highlights of his career include a 40 year residency of playing for dancing on several nights per week at St Peter's RC Social Club in Hazel Grove, Stockport, finishing in 2005. A 20+ year residency as organist of Stockport Town Hall, where as well as dancing, he played for Mayoral Making and other civic functions as and when required.
In 1976, Eric made a strict tempo dance recording using the superb Wurlitzer Organ of the Gaumont Theatre in Manchester. This record, became the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust's top selling recording, a fact that is still true to this day. 'Ballroom Favourites' is now considered a major work of reference for ballroom dancers everywhere, and has been reviewed in America and Australia. Due to its enormous popularity, Ballroom Favourites was re-issued on CD in the mid 1990's. After he had personally initially sold over 1000 copies, Eric was awarded a special engraved tankard by the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust. Since making Ballroom Favourites, he has made other recordings and has been featured on radio and television. Eric is one of the very few professional ballroom organists who can play for dancing without the aid of a metronome (time keeping device) as he did with Ballroom Favourites.
Extract:- Eric Barlow web site
Top of page icon
John Barnett Facebook link icon
Wurlitzer Organ Blackpool Tower
Hammond Organ Medley audio only
Pipe Organ Medley audio only
Organist John Barnett
John Barnett comes from Willenhall, near Walsall in the West Midlands.
During a visit to Blackpool Tower at the age of eleven, John became interested in and enthusiastic about organ music and was given tuition by a local organist. He was a church organist at the age of thirteen and also at this time played on occasions at the Majestic Cinema, Cradley Heath on its Christie Pipe organ.
In 1989 John became one of the resident organists at the Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, playing an electronic organ alongside the Wurlitzer for the popular Saturday Party Nights.
Top of page icon
Arthur Barraclough 24th Jan 1908 - 1979
Arthur Barraclough organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Arthur Barraclough was born on 24th January 1908
Arthur studied music under Alfred Robinson while attending King's School, Chester.
At the age of 21 he gained his first cinema appointment, as assistant to Felton Rapley at the Coliseum, Burslem, then at the Super Cinema Oxford ( a Spurden Rutt) and the Pavilion, Reading
In 1933 joined ABC, in 1946 playing at the Savoy, Saltergate.
While serving in the R.A.F. in India broadcast several times on the All-India Radio. He also did a considerable amount of camp concert work.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Stuart Barrie 26th Oct 1898
The Virtual Radiogram website has two recording of Stuart, click here for more information
Another clip can be found at Stories of London
Stuart Barrie organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Eugene Stuart Barrie was born 26th October 1898 in Louisberg, Nova Scotia, Canada.
He was educated in Paris, Berlin, London, Kassel and Leipzig. Honour student at Beyor-Royal Conservatory. Doctor of music, Bachelor of Science in Musicology.
Spent seven years as organist with Paramount Publix Theatre Corp., U.S.A. Five years as chief organist for Warner Bros, Vitaphone Corp. Theatre, U.S.A. opening the Mastbaum Theatre, Philadelphia then seven years with the B.B.C.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Matthew Bason Facebook logo Twitter logo Likedin logo
Medley on 3/13 Wurlitzer
Organist Matthew Bason 1999
Web Site logo
StarNow logo
Matthew Bason began his performing career in 1994, working at a range of venues as a pianist and organist
Matthew graduated with a B.A.(Ed) Honours degree in Music and Education in 2002.
From 1994 to 2004 he was Resident Pianist at Sopwell House, St. Albans, where he played as a solo jazz pianist and accompanied other instrumentalist and singers.
From 2000 to 2003 he was Resident Musician at Ashorne Hall, Warwick, where he played the Compton and Wurlitzer Theatre Organs, Piano and Yamaha HX-1, as part of the "Mighty Cinema Organ Show" for the "Nickelodeon Collection" tours, and for their highly-popular "Variety Shows" and "Musical Tea-Parties".This residency was cut short by the sudden death of the owner, Graham Whitehead,
In 2005, Matthew began to produce concerts known as "One-Man Musical Variety Shows".These shows feature Roland AT350c Organ, Yamaha P105 Piano, Weiltmeister Accordion and Vocals.
In May 2014, Matthew became a concert artiste and demonstrator for Allen Organs U.K.
Extract from Matthew Basons web site
Top of page icon
Jack Bath 2nd Dec 1901 -
Jack Bath organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Jack Bath was born 2nd December 1901, he studied organ under George Guest at St. Pauls Bournemouth.
Between 1921 & 1935 served in silent picture orchestras.
In 1935 he joined Gaumont British as organist, staying there until he was called up to join the R.A.F. in 1940.
On being demobbed joined A.B.C. at the Regal Cinema Torquay.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Miss G. Baxter
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Frederic Bayco 22nd Aug 1913 - Mar 1970
Humoresque' & 'Ay-Ay-Ay' - Silent film accompaniment
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Frederic Bayco organist
Image Origin YouTube - Lady Beautiful
Wikipedia link logo
BBC Logo
Discogs link icon
Frederic Bayco was born in 1913 in London.
He attended Brighton School of Music, where he attained an ARCO. He was later made a fellow of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO)
Best known for his Tudor pastiche 'Elizabethan Masque' other pieces include 'Lady Beautiful, and his marches 'Royal Windsor' and 'Marche Militaire'.
He opened cinemas for Gaumont Exeter, Wolverhampton, Lewisham, Finchley & Wood Green; Empire Palace Theatre, Cardiff
Frederic Bayco died in 1970 in London.
Extract:- Frederic Bayco Wikipedia page + other sources
Top of page icon
Ronald Baugh
Ronald Baugh organist
Christie 2/6 - Theatre Royal, Preston 1949
Ronald Baugh began his love affair with music as a 10-year-old Horwich schoolboy with piano lessons. By 13 he was the school pianist at Horwich Junior Technical College.
He was introduced to the organ at Horwich Independent Methodist Church, and quickly progressed to playing Handel's Messiah from cover to cover.
After school he signed on as an apprentice at Horwich Loco Works. But the lure of the bright lights of show business proved too much for trainee engineer - especially after a visit to the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.
Ron recalls: "I was hooked on the idea of becoming a theatre organist because the job looked so glamorous - you could wear a white tuxedo jacket, rise up from the depths in a blaze of spotlights for around three 15-minute periods a day, and people actually asked for your autograph.
"You have to remember that back in the 40s and 50s organists were the pop stars of the day."
But like most so-called 'glamorous' jobs, reality turned out to be rather different. It was hard work, although well-rewarded. As an apprentice he was picking up £6 a week but would earn £11 as an organist.
After being coached in the art of the cinema organ by Reginald Liversidge at the Lido Cinema in Bolton, Ron set about forging a career. Following a lengthy spell with ABC Cinemas in Preston and Barrow-in-Furness, Ron became resident organist at the Odeon, Manchester before moving to the Navada, where he remained for 30 years. Extract:- Bolton News
Top of page icon
Howard Beaumont OrganFax logo
The Grasshoppers Dance
Royalty Cinema
Organis Howard Beaumont Cinema Organ Society logo
ATOS logo
cd icon CDlogo cd icon
Howard Beaumont was born in Halifax, Yorkshire.At the age of seven he commenced with piano tuition, later graduating to the organ.
Howard learnt the art of demonstrating organs during the late 60’s from the late Jerry Allan, Bill Skidmore and Harold Smart.
Having turned professional he toured the country in Cabaret.
Howard later entertained passengers aboard Luxury Cruise Liners in the U.S.A. and, whilst in America, he discovered the mighty Wurlitzer theatre Organ at Radio City Music Hall.
On his return to this country Howard started playing these great organs in various locations around the country, including the famous Wurlitzer Organ at Blackpool Tower.
As well as a full Concert diary Howard is frequently engaged by various electronic organ manufacturers to give promotional demonstrations.
1989 proved to be an important year for Howard as he was appointed resident organist at the Scarborough Spa Park complex where, each summer season, he entertains countless holiday makers in the Sun court.
Howard is regularly featured on the popular BBC Radio 2 programme ‘The Organist Entertains’ and has made over 25 recordings.
Extract from the Howard Beaumont ATOS page
Top of page icon
Dudley Beaven
LP link icon

Soundcloud Icon
Dudley Beaven organist Discogs link icon
Dudley Beaven began his career as a chorister in Westminster Abbey, and leaving there he studied piano and organ at the Royal College of Music. One of his earlier appointments was as resident organist at the New Victoria Theatre.
He broadcast on the BBC Theatre Organ as a soloist, with ' Band Waggon', and with the Granada Three.
Dudley gave the very first broadcast of Music While You Workon 23rd. June 1940
Extract:- BBC Genome page
Top of page icon
John Bee
John Bee organist
4-9 Compton + Melotone at the Odeon, Birmingham. c. 1980.
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
James Bell
In 1937 opened the Odeon, Leicester Square 1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Leon Berry 1914 - 27th Aug 1996
2 part. LP recording-The Beast
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Leon Berry Slideshow link icon
Wikipedia link logo
Discogs link icon
Leon C. Berry was born in Alabama in 1914.
He learnt to play the organ while still very young. While a student he took a job at the Hammond Organ factory. A Hammond salesman had sold an organ to a roller rink on the basis he would get someone to play it, Leon auditioned and was given the job.
Leon went on to play pipe organs at a number of Roller Rinks, most notably playing the theatre organ at The Hub roller rink where he resided from 1950 to 1967. His reputation earning him the title Dean of Roller Rink Rock.
Leon Berry was a name familiar to those enjoying the new stereo LPs, Leon released many records that were very popular at the time. The tone of the theatre organ suiting the new recording medium.
In 1953 Leon released his most popular recording, 'Misirlou' it reached No. 6 in the Billboard magazine charts.
Leon installed a theatre organ in the basement of his home, he called it 'The Lion'. All subsequent recordings were made on this instrument.
Extract: Various
Top of page icon
William Birchall
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Frank Bird
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
C. Birmingham
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
F. Bishop
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
George Blackmore Link to Hammond page icon Died 24th Feb 1994
Russian Medley
The Music of Harry Warren
Butterflies in the Rain

LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Organist George Blackmore cd icon cd icon
George Blackmore was born in 1921 in Rochester, Kent. He commenced his musical studies as a chorister, attending the Cathedral Choir School.At the age of 12 he became the youngest ever to win the organ scholarship at King's School, Rochester. George developed an interest in the theatre organ and after playing the Compton at the Palace, Chatham he began occasional deputy work at the Compton in the Majestic, Rochester where he finally became organist in 1939 and made his first broadcast in 1941.
In 1946 he took up the post of organist at the Gaumont, Birmingham.However, the Rank Organisation who now ran Gaumont and Odeon theatres began to make cuts in the numbers of circuit organists and in February 1950 George found himself out of a job. George spent seven years in Aberdeen as organist at the Astoria and the Capitol, broadcasting frequently and also acting as Musical Director for Donalds' other live entertainmentsHe also held the post of organist at St John's Episcopal Church.
Finally in 1957, concerned at the general downturn in cinema-going, George left to become editor and arranger at Bosworth's.
Soon he returned to full-time organ playing, initially as demonstrator for manufacturers of electronic instruments and then as one of Britains' foremost freelance performers on both pipes and electronics, his concert tours taking him to the USA and Australia
His death in 1994 robbed the organ world of one of its most popular and talented figures.
Short extract from Aberdeen Theatre Organ Trust OrganFax page.
Top of page icon
Ray Bohr 2nd Nov 1919 - 15th May 1987
Interview about RCMH and the organ(audio)

LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Ray Bohr
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Discogs link icon
Slideshow link icon
Ray Bohr was born in Nyack, New York on 2nd November 1919.
He started playing piano at six but he really wanted to play the organ.
By the age of 14 Ray was working for a local organ builder.
Ray took classical organ lessons at St. Johns church, Greenwich village and Wulitzer lessons at the Rockland Theatre Nyack.
Ray served in the Army Signal Corp during WWII.
after the war he worked for the Wurlitzer company as a demonstrator.
Ray Bohr released two albums under the name of Van Talbent.
Ray Bohr went on to be the Radio City organist.
Extract from Organ Celebrities slide show
Top of page icon
Al Bollington
LP link icon LP link icon
Sound cloud icon
Al Bollington organist
Discogs link icon
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
When Al Bollington was only ten years old he was playing the organ in the chapel of his home village, South Normanton, in Derbyshire. A very few years later he got a post as pianist in a local cinema, and was at the same time helping his parents to run a sweet shop, and teaching children to play the piano. In 1924 he started playing in the orchestras of luxury steamships.
He began to study the organ when in America at a time when cinema organs in that country were just becoming the rage. Returning to England Bollington got an appointment with Spiero's orchestra at the Tower, Blackpool, and he later obtained his first solo organist appointment at the Streatham Astoria. He was there for five years, spent two years at the Plaza, Piccadilly Circus, and succeeded Reginald Foort at the Paramount, Tottenham Court Road. In 1937 he opened the Paramount cinema Birmingham He has given a number of broadcasts on the Paramount organ as well as transmissions from the BBC Theatre Organ. Extract:- BBC Genome
Top of page icon
Trevor Bolshaw
LP link icon Organist Trevor Bolshaw Cinema Organ Society link logo
Trevor Bolshaw is a native of Walsall in the West Midlands. He began studying music at the age of 9 with the well-known Midlands broadcasting organist Leslie Taff.
He displayed a great interest in and aptitude for the theatre organ which he took up at the Regal Cinema, Darlaston, and was playing interludes in the theatre at the age of 16. This was soon to be followed by his first broadcast. From this he progressed to performances in such famous theatres as the Odeons at Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester and, during the same period, taking up cabaret accompaniment and work in theatre orchestras.
Extract from the Trevor Bolshaw COS page
Top of page icon
Reginald Bolton 16th Oct 1907 -
Reginald Bolton was born 16th October 1907.
He studied organ under Charles Hylton-Stewart at Rochester Cathedral. He held church organ appointments in London until 1936.
Reginald the joined Gaumont British as a relief organist the resident at the Regal, Leamington Spa. I(n 1938 joined A.B.C. as resident at the Regal, Handsworth.
Served in H.M. Forces until 1946 then returned to the organ as resident at the Pavilion Cinema, Stirchley, Birmingham
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Edwin Bosworth 29th Dec 1908
Edwin Bosworth organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Edwin Bosworth was born 29th December 1908
Spent ten years playing for Gaumont British as solo organist. Moved to Palace Theatre, Long Eaton as M.D. and organist.
Edwin also played at Scala Theatre, Long Eaton; Regent, Bristol, Coliseum, Burslem; Savoy, Leyton; Super Cinema, Stratford & Lonsdale, Carlisle.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Kennedy Bott
1946 Playing the Lou Morris Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
John Bowdler OrganFax logo
The Tower Ballroom19th March 2013
The Tower Ballroom 14th March 2014
The Brighouse Wurlitzer
Favourite Foxtrots Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer
Organist John Bowdler Web Site logo
cd icon cd icon
Born and educated in Wigan, Lancashire, Blackpool Tower organist John Bowdler has been playing the organ since the age of 8.
He has been one of the team of resident organists at the famous Tower Ballroom since 1987, a position he took up at the age of 16 straight from school.
In addition to his commitments at The Tower, John also travels the length and breadth of the country undertaking concerts for organ societies and social groups as well as playing for dance events. He also makes several appearances at organ festivals across the UK.
Extract from the John Bowdler web site
Top of page icon
Jasper Brentnall
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Ronald Brickell 4th Sep 1902
Ronald Brickell organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Ronald Brickell was born 4th September 1902 in Bournemouth.
He studied organ and pianoforte under Enos J. Watkins.
Ronald started his musical career as a orchestral and dance pianist in 1922. Went on to be pianist at W.H. Smiths Restaurant in Bournemouth for twelve years.
He performed with his own band at leading hotels and country functions. Performed before Queen Mary.
In 1935 studied theatre organ under Terence Casey. Went on to be assistant to Frederick Baycoat the Dominion, Tottenham Court Road. In 1937 became solo organist for Gaumont, Haymarket; and played every Gaumont British organ in the West End.
In 1940 was appointed to Regent Theatre, Bournemouth. He created the popular Western Home Service program 'Melody For Late Evening'
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Frederick Bridgman 11th Jun 1896 -
Frederick John Bridgman was born 11th June 1896 in Reading. Was admitted as a choristor to Westminster Abbey staying until 1911. Last official duty taking part in the coronation service of George V.
Scholarship Trinity College of Music. In 1915 was appointed as private organist to Evelyn, Countess of Craven, at Ashdown Park, Shrivenham.
Joined up for military service in France with the Military Transport section.
On being demobbed in 1919 returned to Ashdown Park. Saw a girl he wanted to marry so moved to Manchester, playing a Mustel harmonium.
In 1921 joined Rhodes Pictures Ltd, Manchester staying for six years. In 1927 moved to Futurist Theatre, Scarborough.
In 1932 was engaged to open Savoy Cinema, Cork, staying for 13 years. He then moved to the Gaumont, Lewisham.
Did a number of broadcasts on Radio Eireann.
Died March 1985 in Gravesend, Kent
Top of page icon
Albert Brierly
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Noel Briggs 9th Jan 1920 - Q4 1983
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon Noel Briggs organist Discogs link icon
Noel Briggs was born on the 9th January 1920.
He received classical organ training with Mr. F. Keal. He made his first theatre appearance at the age of 17 during a series of concerts at the Queens Hall, Grimsby.
Noel Joined A.B.C. when he was 20 and went on to hold resident positions at Ritz, Scunthorpe; Savoy, Lincoln; Savoy, Leicester; Ritz, Cleethorpes and Regal, Grimsby.
Top of page icon
Norman Briggs 17th Nov 1909 - 1973
Norman Briggs organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Norman Briggs was born 17th November 1909 in Bradford, Yorkshire
Norman started piano lesson aged seven taking up organ while working for an organ builder when he was fourteen.
Started his professional music career as an orchestral pianist in various local cinemas. At eighteen was appointed pianist and assistant organist at St. Georges Hall, Bradford. In 1934 he was appointed assistant organist and stage pianist with Sidney Phasey and his orchestra at the New Victoria, Bradford.
Other cinema appointments included Regent Theatre, Hanley; Theatre Royal, Halifax; Gaumont Cinemas in Derby, Sheffield & Norwich and New Victoria & Ritz, Bradford.
He also gave numerous broadcasts on the BBC organ.
Norman Briggs died in 1973 in Bradford, Yorkshire.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Harrold Britton
1946 Playing the Granada Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Ernest Broadbent 1910 - 19th Jan 1994
For You
Just For You (selection)
LP link icon
Ernest Broadbent cd icon
Article icon
Ernest Broadbent was born 22nd of December 1910 in Oldham England.
Ernest married Dorothy Pickard in 1934.
From 1948 to 1952 he was accompanist to Joseph Locke.
In 1952 Ernest joined the Blackpool Tower Company, playing Hammond organ with an orchestra in the Pavilion Theatre and solo in the Tower Lounge.
In 1966 he became resident on the Empress Ballroom Wurlitzer and also played the Opera House and Tower Ballroom Wurlitzers.
In 1970 Earnest Broadbent took over as resident organist at the Tower Ballroom until ill health forced him to retire in 1977.
Earnest Broadbent died 19th January 1994
Extracts - various
Top of page icon
Norman Brooks 22nd Apr 1913
Norman Brooks was born 22nd April 1913. Musical training at Associated Royal College.
Started his organ career at the Baptist Church, Sittingbourne, in 1931.
Conscripted in 1940. N.C.O. in charge of the Unit Orchestra and Corps of Drums. Toured South West England and Northern Ireland.
On Demobilisation took a position at Tonic Cinema Co. Down.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Charles Brown
St Peter's Anglican Church - Conn Theatre Organ
Wurlitzer Organ Stockport Town Hall
St Peter's Anglican Church- Conn Theatre Organ
Charles Brown organist Website link icon
Like many organ enthusiasts, as a young man, Charles Brown became captivated by the broadcasts of the legendary Blackpool Tower Organist Reginald Dixon. Although music hasn't been his full time profession, Charles's musical career has nevertheless been an extensive one. From his time playing the Compton Organ of the Davenport Theatre in Stockport, to his long residency in command of the Stockport Town Hall Wurlitzer Organ, Charles's musical experience is both varied and interesting.
In the 1980's Stockport was unique in having two Compton Theatre Organs in their original homes and playable. Charles would feature the Compton Organ of the former Plaza Cinema, then a bingo hall on a Saturday evening, and then travel up the road to the Davenport Theatre and play for the film shows. Playing the organ at the Davenport gave Charles rare experience of playing an original cinema organ in a venue that was little changed from when it was opened in the 1930's.
In the late 1990's Charles was introduced to Eric Barlow, then resident organist of Stockport Town Hall. Charles is appreciative of the guidance he has received from Eric, in regard to the special technique required for strict tempo playing. As Eric had indicated his desire to retire from the Town Hall, Charles began to share the alternate Monday night dances with Eric, eventually taking over as resident organist upon Eric's retirement in 2000. With 15+ years of playing the Stockport Town Hall Wurlitzer Organ twice a month, Charles has notched up well in excess of 300 appearances at this organ.
Extract:- Charles Brown web site
Top of page icon
Jackie Brown
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Frank Burrows
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Cyril Busfield 6th Oct 1897 - Dec 1977
John Cyril Busfield was born 6th October 1897 in Calverley, Yorkshire.
Studied piano and organ under Norman Strafford at the Grove School, Apperley Bridge, Yorkshire.
His first organ appointment was playing in church performances aged 15. He was organist and choirmaster at Bradford Church until he was called up for military service.
He served with the West Yorkshire Regiment, played clarinet and acted as concert party pianist while in Cologne.
His first cinema appointment was on a two manual harmonium accompanying silent films with an orchestra, often acting as conductor.
On introduction of the talkies returned to playing the organ, and went on to play all types of organ including the Hammond.
Played to Royalty at the Dome Brighton, then went on to play at Gaumont, Chelsea.
Died December 1977 in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946) & other sources
Top of page icon
Jerry Caranagh
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Sydney Carmen
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Gaylord Carter 3rd Aug 1905 – 20th Nov 2000
Silent Movie Organist
on TV 1989
TV 1989, 2nd Show
Final Performance
San Gabriel Civic Wurlitzer
I Can't Give You Anything But Love

LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Organist Gaylord Carter Wikipedia logo
cd icon
Article icon
Gaylord Beach Carter was born August 3rd, 1905 in Wiesbaden, Germany. His father was a church organist and taught music, while his mother taught voice. His family emigrated to the United States, settling in Wichita, Kansas, where his father opened a conservatory of music and also served as a church organist.
Young Gaylord displayed the family talent for music and became a soloist in a church choir. He also played the organ in another church from the age of ten. As the "Jazz Age" evolved, Gaylord found himself drawn to the new musical form and dared to try jazz on the church organ.By the time he was fourteen Gaylord was playing at a local movie theatre, accompanying the silent films at children's matinees.
The family remained in Wichita until 1922 when theymoved to Los Angeles, California, where 16-year-old Gaylord was enrolled at Lincoln High School in the Lincoln Heights district. Gaylord found employment at a local theatre accompanying movies on the piano and then, as the theatre prospered, a new Estey organ. After graduating from Lincoln High, he attended UCLA where, by 1926, he was engaged in pre-law studies. He continued playing in theatres to finance his education.
Gaylord Carter was spotted by an agent of the Harold Lloyd Company. Impressed by the description of Carter's playing, Lloyd recommended him to Sid Grauman, who offered the 21-year-old $110 a week to be the full-time organist at his downtown Los Angeles movie palace, the Million Dollar Theatre.
Through the remainder of the 1920s, Carter played at the Million Dollar and other theatres. The introduction of sound films, and then the onset of the depression, led to a declining demand for theatre organists, and by the mid-1930s Carter had launched a career in the booming new medium of radio. He played on several network shows and also had his own local music show on Los Angeles station KHJ. In 1936 Carter became the staff organist for the hugely popular Amos N Andy radio show, a position he maintained until entering the Navy in 1942.
Gaylord spent the war years serving in the Navy as a film officer in Alaska. Following the war he resumed his radio career. He then moved on to television in the 1950s where he was the musical accompanist on the Pinky Lee Show. In 1961-1962 Carter had another local show of his own, "Everybody Sing with Gaylord" on Los Angeles channel 13 KCOP-TV.
In the 1960s Carter helped fuel a revived public interest in silent movies with his production company Flicker Fingers Productions. In the 1970s Carter was hired to provide recorded scores for theatrical re-releases of several Mary Pickford movies. Starting in 1975, Carter began recording Wurlitzer organ scores to classic silent films for Blackhawk Films. In the 1980s, he scored a dozen silent classics for home video release by Paramount Pictures. During the late 1960s he also performed as the organist at Los Angeles Lakers games at the Forum
Gaylord Carter remained active into the 1990s. He made tours of North America, Europe, and Australia, performing on many of the world's surviving theater organs.
Gaylord Carter died peacefully in his home overlooking the Pacific ocean at the age of 95.
Extract from the Gaylord Carter Wikipedia page
Top of page icon
Terence Casey
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Cecil Chadwick -d. c. 1970
LP link icon LP link icon Cecil Chadwick organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
BBC logo
Discogs link icon
Cecil Chadwick was born in Middleton, Lancashire.
He studied under Fred Forrest & Dr. G. Wilmot Cooper.
Cecil worked in a cotten mill from the age of 12. Joined the Manchester Regimentin 1914 and served in France, Belgium and Italy until February 1919.
On demobilisation started work as a pianist at the Palace Cinema, Middleton, he played there for eighteen months. Cecil then went to the State Cafe, Manchester.
Cecil left Manchester c.1923 to be musical director at the Palace Cinema, Southport where he stayed for seven years, when talkies started.
Took his first organ appointment at the Plaza Cinema, Stockport in 1932, opening the cinema, He resigned on July 1st to take up a post at the Classic Cinema, Belfast. He started broadcasting from there on 24th July 1933 and by July 1934 had made 100 broadcast.
Cecil resigned in 1936 to join Union Cinemas for a year, he then moved to the Savoy, Leicester and then in 1938 moved to the Paramount, Leeds.
In 1940 he moved to Granada Theatres then on to Gaumont British in November 1944 playing at the New Gallery
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Doreen Chadwick Link to Hammond page icon 7th Aug 1918 - 26th June 2014
Marching Strings Compton Organ at Louth Town Hall
Hammond Selection
Me and My Girl - Compton Organ at Louth Town Hall

LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Organist Doreen Chadwick cd icon cd icon
Doreen Chadwick was born 7th August 1918 in Maesycoed, Pontypridd, South Wales.
Doreen started playing the piano aged seven and then organ at sixteen, on one of the earliest organs installed in Wales. The Palladium, Pontypridd.
Studied straight organ and won the organ solo at the Carmarthen Eisteddfod. She also won four gold medals at the Reading Music Festival.
At 17 she did her first broadcast. Her first post was at the Rex, Aberdare. After two years she decided to try her luck in London. She was taken on by Granada Theatres and appointed to the Granada, Tooting Doreen was with Granada for three years before moving to the Savoy, Leicester then the Ritz, Richmond.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Raymond Charles 16th Jul 1908 - 1987

Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Raymond Charles was born 16th Jul 1908 at Herne Hill, London.
As a boy he played at All Souls Church, Camberwell, became organist to Camberwell Grammar School two years later.
Raymond studied at Trinity College London and was a pupil of Professor Edward d'Every. Raymond became a senior student and pupil teacher at Trinity College. He held several posts as organist and choir master in South London.
Became a theatre organist in 1926. Held appointments with Provincial Cinematograph Theatres, Paramount, and Associated British Cinemas.
Commenced broadcasting for the BBC in 1930 from the provincial Paramount theatres.
From 1938 to 1941 was resident at Savoy, Northampton.
Joined the R.A.F., formed and toured R.A.F. dance orchestras and camp shows.
After demobilisation in 1946 returned to Associated British Cinemas and became resident at the Savoy, Stoke Newington.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Michael Cheshire
pseudonym for Reginald Foort
LP link icon LP link icon
pseudonyms were often used by players to allow them to record for other record labels.
Obviously if the contracted record company found out there would be big trouble so no photographs of the player were ever on the record cover.
Some record companies had strict rules that covered what could and could not be recorded by an artiste, if an artiste enjoyed playing a bit of jazz but the contract didn't allow it they could record a jazz album for another record company without the original company knowing. Satisfying there inner creativity and putting a bit more cash in the bank.
Top of page icon
Robinson Cleaver 25th May 1906 - 23rd July 1987
Pathe logo Mr and Mrs Robinson Cleaver perform a duet
Molly & Robinson Cleaver - Granada, Clapham Junction
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Robinson Cleaver Web logo
H Robinson Cleaver was born Harold Arthur Robinson in Eckington, Derbyshire on May 25th 1906 and by the age of nine he was organist at Bramley Parish Church. He took his first cinema organ position at the Albert Hall in Sheffield and commencing studies at the Royal Manchester College of Music where he gained his ARCO degree at the age of 21.
From Sheffield he moved to the La Scala cinema in Hyde, Greater Manchester, here he met Molly Bailey, who was the pianist, she became Mrs Robinson (Cleaver) in 1930.
It was at the Piccadilly Theatre in Manchester that Robbie first got the idea of adding 'Cleaver' to his name after seeing the large, and then well known, department store 'Robinson and Cleaver' opposite the Piccadilly.
After four and a half years at the Piccadilly, Robbie moved to his first unit organ position on the Christie organ of the Lonsdale Cinema in Carlisle for the Sidney Bacon circuit.
He arrived at Bexleyheath in late 1935 and began broadcasting weekly from January of 1936, cutting two 78rpm discs for the Octacros label before signing a recording contract with Parlophone.
The Regal was subsequently taken over by Union Cinemas, which meant touring the circuit
Robbie joined Granada Theatres in early 1938 and made his first broadcast from Clapham Junction Granada before being chosen to play for the opening of the new theatre at Welling in Kent.
Recording and broadcasting continued at Welling and later at Tooting Granada, after which he recorded the Compton organ at EMI Abbey Road studio, both solo and in combination with other soloists, orchestras and dance bands, most notably with Billy Thorburn's band under the title 'The Organ, The Danceband and Me' as well as session work, often un-named, both for EMI and Decca using their Wurlitzer organ at Hampstead.
Robbie stayed with Granada until the cuts of 1958, he then formed a new music publishing company and produced weekly shows and Sunday concerts at Teignmouth and at the Odeon Llandudno. He then did a ten-year stint playing summer seasons at Bognor Regis and Scarborough with winters at Richmond Sportsdrome.
Opened Regal, Bexleyheath; Ritz Barnsley, & Luton and Granada Welling
H Robinson Cleaver died on July 23rd 1987.
Extract The Theatre Organ Club
Top of page icon
Rosalind Clynes
Rosalind Clynes organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Rosalind Clynes was born in Dublin.
She studied piano and organ at the Royal Irish Academy of Music under Dr. George Hewson.
Rosalind received her first theatre organ lesson from Sidney Gostard at the Trocadero Cinema, Liverpool. Her first cinema organist appointment was at the Savoy Cinema, Dublin. She had the distinction of being the first lady organist in Ireland.
Her musical career was temporarily halted when she married a doctor. The war intervened and her two boys were evacuated and she was persuaded to return to the theatre organ.
Returning to the Odeon circuit she played every key theatre in London including Leicester Square finally at the New Odion-Astoria Streatham
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Buddy Cole Link to Hammond page icon 15th Dec 1916 – 5th Nov 1964
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon Buddy Cole Slideshow link icon
Wikipedia link logo
CD link icon
Edwin LeMar Cole, known as Buddy Cole was a jazz pianist and orchestra leader.
Buddy Cole was born in Irving, Illinois, and started his musical career in the theater playing between movies.
He moved to Hollywood and played with a couple of bands, including the Alvino Rey big band, before becoming a studio musician.
He played piano for Bing Crosby and toured with Rosemary Clooney.
Although primarily known as a pianist, he had an abiding love for the organ, both Hammond and theatre organ. He worked extensively with Henry Mancini, who used his distinctive Hammond organ sound for the sound track to the TV series "Mr. Lucky". He also recorded several albums for Warner Brothers records on piano, Hammond organ and theatre pipe organ.
He married Yvonne King, member of the King Sisters, They had two daughters, actress Tina Cole and Cathy Cole Green.
He later married Clare Cole.
Extract from Wikipedia
Top of page icon
Allan Conwell
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Charles Cooksey b. 1909 -
Charles Cooksey was born in 1909. He studied organ and violin theory at the Guildhall School of Music, became organist at a Sydenham Church and to the Sydenham Choral Society.
His first cinema organist appointment was at the Prince of Wales in Harrow Road, he left after six months and became musical director at the Grand Cinema, Holloway Road.
In 1930 he joined Francis Day & Hunters show at Clacton. At the end of the season he moved to the Old Cornet, Notting Hill, playing a Jones' organ, while there managed to practice on the organ at the Palladium, Shedherds Bush.
His first cinema organ job was with County Cinemas in August 1931, playing at Staines, Wembley, etc. In 1934 he left to work for Granada but left them to work at the Corona, Leigh 0n Sea.
He joined the R.A.F in 1940, accumulating 1800 hours flying with Coastal Command.
On return to civy street joined A.B.C. at the Adelphi, Slough
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Harold Coombs
Harold Coombs organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Top of page icon
Jack Coombs 5th Oct 1913
Jack Coombs was born 5th October 1913 in St Helier, Jersey.
He studied with Leonard Herivel. For two years he accompanied the Jersey Male Voice Choir. He was deputy organist at Gt. Union Rd. Methodist Church.
In 1939 Jack led his own dance orchestra playing Hammond organ at the Plaza Ballroom.
During the German occupation became resident at The Forum Cinema.
Specialised in playing dance music on a Hammond.
Became resident organist at The Regal Cinema, Ilford.
Top of page icon
Hubert Cooter
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
A. Courtney
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Jack Courtnay 14th Sep 1895
LP link icon LP link icon Jack Courtnay organist
Jack Courtnay was born John Ferguson Taylor (brother to Alex Taylor) on the 14th September 1895 in the parish of Garturk, Scotland.
Taught to play the violin and piano by his father. Gained an open scholarship to the Glasgow Atheneum School of Music. Appointed to Coatdyke Parish Church when quite young.
Ran away from home and joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers. 'bought out' by irate father after six weeks. Then went to work as a pattern maker at an iron foundry. Then worked on the railways as a weighing clerk, then disappeared back into the armed forces and enlisted in Royal Marine Bands. Appointed organist at the Shotley Barracks Training Establishment.
On the outbreak of war joined H.M.S. Implacable. History was made when the squadron was hove to so the brothers could have a conversation. At the time Alex was on H.M.S. Cornwallis. After service in the Dardanelles John was discharged disabled.
John emigrated to Toronto, Canada, started working in a bank, quit to play in a Nickleodeon, was appointed to play Loew's Theatre and Winter Garden. Having heard a Wurlitzer took a job at Allen's Beaver Theatre (for lower pay). Toured Canada, opened Capitol Theatre, Winnipeg. Left there to take a position at the State, Minneapolis.
Returned to the UK for a holiday, took a job as a tram conductor in Bournemouth. Was inducted into making valves for submarines, had to retire as only one in ten were serviceable. Ended up washing bottles in a Bournemouth brewery.
Returned to the USA where he opened at Loew's Lexington, then toured. Returned to the UK and introduced the first slide solo at the Kings Theatre, Sunderland. Opened the first five Wurlitzers in the UK and was responsible for introducing Reginald Foort to the Wurlitzer.
Returned to America and located in Florida and held a number of appointments. Broadcast regularly on W.I.O.D., W.T.O.C. and W.J.A.X.. Opened the Wurlitzer at the De Soto Hotel, Savana.
When the slump hit ran one of the largest chicken farms in Florida.
Back to the UK to work for Southend Council. Returned to cinema organ playing in 1943, opening at the Regal, Old Kent Road.
Appointed musical contributor to Kinema Weekly and Ideal Cinema in 1945. In 1946 published Theatre Organ World.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Top of page icon
Jesse Crawford Link to Hammond page icon 2nd Dec 1895 – 28th May 1962
Pathe logo Filmed on his first visit to England
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Organist Jesse Crawford Wikipedia logo
cd icon cd icon
Article icon Article icon- link to The Organ Forum page on Jessie Crawford Article icon
Jesse Crawford was born December 2, 1895 his father died when he was one year old, leaving an impoverished wife and mother, she placed the baby in an orphanage asylum near Woodland, California. Jesse Crawford taught himself music there. By age nine, he was playing a cornet in the orphanage band. At age 14 he left the orphanage to play piano in a small dance band, and then took a job playing piano in a ten-cent-admission silent film house.
His early theatre organ experience was at Washington's Spokane Gem Theater in 1911 and at the Clemmer-owned Casino He next played briefly at theatres in Billings, Montana, Spokane, Washington and Seattle. When he met Oliver Wallace.
In the 1920s Crawford began forming a fan base and was dubbed the 'Poet of the Organ' for his style of playing ballads in Chicago. In 1921, he was employed by the Balaban and Katz theatre chain playing its 29-rank Wurlitzer in the Chicago Theatre.
From 1926 to 1933, he performed at New York City's Paramount Theater, with his wife Helen Anderson playing a twin organ console. They met in 1923, and married in 1924.
After some recordings for the small local Autograph Records label, Crawford made a series of gramophone records for the Victor Records label which proved very popular with record buyers.
With the end of the silent film era, work for theatre organists in movie houses dried up. Crawford played a Kilgen organ at Chicago's Century of Progress World's Fair in 1934, and in 1936 he got a job as staff organist in NBC Radio studios in Chicago.
In the 1930s, Crawford switched to the Hammond organ, and began playing engagements across the United States. Between 1937 and 1940, he appeared with his wife Helen in several Vitaphone short films released by Warner Brothers
Jesse Crawford died May 28th 1962.
Extract from the Jesse Crawford Wikipedia page
Top of page icon
Harry Croft
1946 Playing the Granada Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Henry Croudson 13th Nov 1898 - 30th Nov 1971
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon Henry Croudson organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Article icon
Henry Croudson was born 13th Nov 1898 in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
Originally a bank clerk working for the Midland Bank, Leeds, gave up counting notes to take up playing them.
After seven years at the Majestic, Leeds joined Paramount playing Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow to name a few.
Commenced broadcasting while at Leeds in 1934, went on to make over 300 broadcasts.
Made twenty four double sided albums for Regal-Zonophone while at the Paramount, Manchester, just prior to the war.
Organised and conducted a number of bands of all kinds, including a ladies orchestra called 'The Rhythm Girls'
After being Blitzed in Liverpool he gave up playing and became a publican at the Ship Inn at Briggate, just across the road from the Paramount cinema.
After a month behind the bar he was asked to go back and play at the Paramount, which he did.
After the war he went on to play at the Gaumont, Haymarket.
In 1959 Henry decided to give up regular cinema organ recitals and returned to being a publican, this time at the Red Lion in Nazeing, Essex. He took with him his Selmer Electronic Organ, with which he entertained the customers.
Henry died 30th Nov 1971 at St Margeret's Hospital, Epping, Essex, England.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946) + other sources
Top of page icon
William Crozier
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Frederic Curzon 4th Sep 1899 - 6th Dec 1973
Some of Frederic Curzon compositions performed by various orchestras.
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon

March of the Bowmen - Martin Ellis
Frederic Curzon organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Wikipedia link logo
Article icon Article icon Article icon
BBC Logo
Frederic Curzon was born 4th September 1899 in Lambeth, London.
Frederic studied piano and violin from the age of 9, and became pianist in a small orchestra at 16.
After the 1914-18 war became musical director of a cinema in the West End of London.
Eventually turning his attention to the organ, became one of the first demonstrators of the then new electronic organ.
Went on to succeed Quentin Maclean at Shepherds Bush Pavilion, remaining there for eight years.
Frederic then spent twelve years with Gaumont British playing at all their largest London theatres.
Frederic had been composing music since 1920 with some success. When his health started to fail it was logical for him to give up public performance and devote his time to composition.
He was put under contract with Boosey & Hawkes and went on to write many popular pieces of music.
Frederic Curzon died on the 6th December 1973 in Weymouth, Dorset.
Top of page icon
Basil Cuthbert 30th Mar 1912
Basil Cuthbert organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Discogs link icon
Basil James Rollo Cuthbert was born 30th March 1912 in Sibford, Oxfordshire.
A student at King Alfred's College, Winchester.
First appointment at the Regal, Winchester from 1931 to 34. Then the Majestic, Reigate from 1934 to 37. followed by the Embassy, Waltham Cross.
Basil joined the A.B.C. at the end of 1937 and played their cinemas at Horsham, Chatham and Hastings.
Joined the R.A.F. and while in service broadcast from the Regal, Torquay & Regent, Leamington Spa.
Rejoined the A.B.C. at the Ritz, Oxford in 1945
Basil Cuthbert died in 1994 at Oxford, Oxfordshire.
Top of page icon
Thomas Dando 1st July 1902 - 1982
Thomas Dando organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946

Article icon
Thomas Dando was born 1st July 1902 in Atherton, Lancashire.
Thomas commenced organ studies at the age of eight and held his first church appointment at the age of eleven.
He continued his studies under Dr. R. H. Mort. Commenced his theatre organ career playing for silent films in Manchester, aged sixteen.
Other appointments included the Capitol, Didsbury; Broadway, Eccles; Plaza, Worthing; Regal, Rotherham; Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road & Gaumont, Manchester.
He toured both the Granada and L. Morris circuits.
He used his own electric organ for appearances in the North and Midlands. He also had his own variety band.
He started broadcasting in 1935 on the BBC Home & Empire wavelengths from all parts of the country, including the BBC organs at St. Georges Hall, Evesham & Llandudno
His signature tune was 'Keep Your Sunny Side Up'.
Thomas Dando died in 1982 at Leigh, Greater Manchester.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946) + other sources
Top of page icon
F. Davenport
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
William Davies 25th Jun 1921 - 2nd Mar 2006
Robert Farnon medley
Toy town trumpeters/ Grasshoppers dance
Litolff scherzo
Alphabetical Selection -
G to L - M to R - S to Z

LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
William Davies Article icon Article icon
cd icon
Slideshow link icon
William Arthur Davies was born at Bolton, Lancashire, on June 25 1921. At the age of seven he began taking piano lessons, and by the time he was 11 he was learning the organ with his uncle, who played at the local Methodist Chapel. William was soon to be found practicing on the local Lido and Odeon cinema organs. At the age of 18 he joined the RAF, and served in Ceylon.
Davies's professional career began at the Gaumont cinema, Wolverhampton, in 1946. By late 1947 he was playing at the Gaumont, Finchley. He then moved to the West End of London. There, after a short spell at the Metropole, Victoria, he spent 18 months at the Dominion in Tottenham Court Road.
In 1950 he moved towards arranging and composition, and began writing for the BBC Light Music Unit. He then embarked on his long association with the popular radio program, Friday Night is Music Night, as conductor, arranger and featured piano soloist.
In 1956 Davies joined British Lion at Shepperton Studios and scored several films for them. By the 1960s he was Musical Director for Southern Television, and in 1972 he provided the music for Alistair Cooke's epic radio series Letter from America.
In 1975 Davies worked with Alan Bennett on his television play Sunset Across the Bay, and three years later wrote the score for the film The Last Tasmanian.
Throughout this time Davies could be heard on the BBC Theatre organ in London. He also played at various cinemas including, in 1960, the first organ broadcast in stereo, from the Trocadero at Elephant & Castle.
In the 1970s Davies provided the backing for Gracie Fields. He later did a series of 15-minute programs for BBC Radio 2, At the Piano.
He was still working in the 1990s, and in 1992 he wrote a completely new score for Ernst Lubitsch's German film from 1919, The Oyster Princess.
Davies played the organ in his local church, first at Stoke Poges, and then at Sutton, Surrey. He was also connected with the Carmelite Priory in Kensington, where he played the organ for special Sunday services, religious holidays and at Christmas.
Bill Davies married Eileen Watts in 1943. The marriage ended in 1987. In 1991 Davies married Felicity White.
William Arthur Davies died 2nd March 2006.
Extract Daily Telegraph obituary
Top of page icon
Frank Davis
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Herbert Dawson
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Terence Dene
Terence Dene organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Terence Dene was born August 1910 in London.
He studied music at the Guildhall School of Music. He began his musical career at the age of 17 as an orchestral organist at the Avenue Pacilion Cinema, Shaftesbury Avenue.
Subsequant appointments were; Tussauds Cinema, London; Carlton Cinema, Upton Park & Gaumont Palace, Chadwell Heath where he was resident organist.
Terence joined the Civil Defence Service as a stretcher bearer in 1939 and served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves from 1941 to 1946. Saw war service in Orkneys, on the Kent Coast during the flying bomb attacks, and in Belgium, Holland, Germany and Denmark, taking part in their liberation.
While in Copenhagen was given special permission to play the 3 Manual 7 Rank Wurlitzer at the Palladium.
After the war returned to Gaumont Palace, Chadwell Heath
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Bruce Denham
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Barbara Dennerlein born 25th Sept 1964 Facebook logo
Jazz on the Church Pipe Organ
Interview Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 -
barbara dennerlein Web logo
Wikipedia logo
cd icon cd icon
Barbara Dennerlein was born in Munich in 1964, she fell in love with one sound at an early age. While others were practicing "Für Elise" or strumming "All You Need Is Love" on the guitar, Barbara was fascinated by the sound of the Hammond organ.
She was eleven when her father, himself an organ fan, was acting a little bit out of self-interest when he bought the Christmas present. If Barbara lost interest, he could always play it himself! But it all turned out quite differently. Barbara never took her hands off the instrument again. And things didn't stop there either. The fourth instrument on which Barbara indulged in her passion was the "Holy Grail" of organs: an original Hammond long since out of production - the legendary Hammond B3.
And so began Barbara's own journey of discovery into the world of music. In addition to studying the classical repertoire of standards, she began to compose her own numbers very early on.
Following first performances as a thirteen-year-old, she began to play in clubs at the age of fifteen. In the early eighties she was already celebrated as the "organ tornado from Munich". Later on, "Harper's Bazar" wondered:"How did this Fräulein get so funky?" and the Los Angeles Times headlined with: 'German Organist Pumps You Up'.
For years Barbara Dennerlein has topped critics' polls in American jazz magazines and can call a worldwide community of devoted jazz friends her own. Yet through all this she has remained modest and uncomplicated, like the proverbial 'girl next door', never failing to mention the support of her parents in interviews.
Extract from the Barbara Dennerlein web site
Top of page icon
Reginald Dixon 16th Oct 1904 – 9th May 1985
His last TV Interview
Playing thePlayhouse theatre and Free Trade Hall in Manchester
On the ex Paramount / Odeon Wurlitzer

LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Organist Reginald Dixon Wikipedia logo
cd icon cd icon
Slideshow link icon
Reginald Herbert Dixon was born 16 October 1904 in Ecclesall, Sheffiel. By the age of two, Dixon started to play the organ and piano. By the age of twelve he was performing in concerts at local music festivals. He enrolled at the University of Sheffield studying counterpoint and harmony, and was awarded Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM) when he was 17 years old.
Reginald Dixon auditioned at the Stocksbridge Palace, near Sheffield, he was employed as pianist and musical director, for the sum of £3 per week. After eighteen months, Dixon accepted a job as pianist and deputy organist at Chesterfield Picture House, where his wage was £5 a week. When he was 21 he became a fully professional theatre organist.
In March 1930, Dixon was invited to audition for the position of organist at Blackpool's Tower Ballroom, which, at the time, contained a 2/10 Wurlitzer. The Wurlitzer's job had been to provide music for dancing. Dixon was given a trial, with the ultimatum that, if he did not make a success of playing the Wurlitzer for dancing, both he and the Wurlitzer would go. Once he had mastered playing in strict tempo, Dixon further developed his playing style, with a strong bass line, and both hands providing accompaniment and melody. Dixon was mainly left handed and he often played the accompaniment rhythm with his left hand as well as the melody using second touch. This left his right hand free to supplement the music. This became Dixon's trade mark instantly recognisable style. Soon enough, Dixon had fully exploited the 2/10 Wurlitzer's capabilities. Since this was holding him back, and the dancers, this made Dixon plan a larger, more suitable instrument. Within weeks of his appointment at the Tower, the BBC were broadcasting Mr R. H Dixon from the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool.
By 1931, Dixon's broadcasts were becoming highly popular, and the time slot was expanded from 30 minutes, to 45 minutes, and were made as often as 5 times a week to the UK alone. Regular broadcasts were also being made to the British Empire, and Dixon was often in the ballroom in the very early hours of the morning, broadcasting live to places such as Canada, India, Africa and Australia.
In March 1935, the organ which Dixon had longed for was first broadcast. The new 3/13 Wurlitzer was broadcast to the British Empire.
In 1940, Dixon joined the R.A.F. During his time there, he was often called upon to entertain service personnel, and was still to be heard on radio occasionally, as well as playing for concerts at the Tower Ballroom. While in the RAF he attained the rank of Flying Officer.
By 1952, Dixon had made over 1,000 broadcasts, and had already made several television appearances. In the later half of 1952, Dixon fell ill, through being overworked and completely exhausted. After a few months, he was back in full health, and returned to the Tower Ballroom. In 1954 he starred in BBC's You're only young once and in 1955, he performed for Queen Elizabeth II, at the console of the 3/13 Wurlitzer of Blackpool's Opera House, for the Royal Variety Performance. By now, Dixon had been at the tower, and on radio, for 25 years, and had performed to over 60 million people live at the Tower ballroom alone, and radio listening figures were now topping 6 million for each broadcast he made.
In 1956 he had his own radio show on the BBC called Meet Me at the Tower, which he was joined with guest organist and often by the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra.
In December 1956 a fire, which started in the Tower Lounge Restaurant, spread to the Ballroom. Fortunately the organ survived owing to its position above the proscenium arch, however, the console was badly damaged but was later fixed. While the Tower ballroom was being restored at the cost of £500,000, Dixon resumed his schedule in the Empress Ballroom. In 1958, he returned to the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer, and things proceeded as normal, in the newly restored ballroom.
In 1966 Dixon was awarded an MBE for his services in entertaining the public and radio listeners the world over.
In 1969, he was also awarded by the BBC for the years of pleasure he had given to millions. The same year, Dixon announced his retirement from his Tower Ballroom post in order to spend more time with his family.
At the end of the season, Dixon retired from playing for Dancing at the Ballroom, but continued to play for Sunday concerts as normal. It was on Easter Sunday 1970 that he gave his final concert on the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer.
Dixon's retirement from the Tower did not mean retirement altogether. He was still broadcasting to a very large audience, and he was also on tour across the UK and Europe.
Reginald Dixon died on 9 May 1985.
Extract from the Reginald Dixon Wikipedia page
Top of page icon
S. Dixon
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Con Docherty 3rd May 1908
Cone Docherty organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Con Docherty was born 3rd May 1908 in Newcastle on Tyne.
He was a pupil of Dr. J. E. Hutchinson. He won first prize and silver medal for organ at the North of England Musical Tournament in 1923.
Held a number of appointments as organist and choirmaster.
Offered a post as relief organist at Queens Hall, Newcastle on Tyne,and enjoyed it.
On the introduction of the 'talkies' took over at the New Coliseum, Whitley Bay
In 1933 joined Gaumont British, playing at Queens Hall, Cricklewood. Transferred and opened the Gaumont, Derby. In 1936 moved to Ashton-under-Lyne to open the Gaumont cinema. He then moved to the Gaumont, Camden Town.
The following year he spent spent as guest organist playing at principal and provincial theatres, settling at the Gaumont, Finchley, he then moved to the Gaumont, Lewisham.
During the blitz the theatre was closed and his home bombed so he took his family back to Newcastle.
Con joined the R.A.F. and at the end of 1940 was posted to Northern Ireland. In 1942 arrived in India and was stationed near Calcutta. Was attached to the Bengal Entertainments Services Association (run jointly by the Army & RAF) Travvelled over 70,000 miles and gave over 500 shows to troops all over Bengal, Assam and Burma.
Demobbed in 1945 and rejoined Gaumont British, with his family based in the North he asked for a position near home, he took over as resident at Gaumont, Doncaster.
Made radio broadcasts from the BBC and Durban, South Africa.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Philip Dore
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Jack Dowle
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Clifford Dulson
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
H. Eader
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Jelani Eddington Born 1974
Star Wars
William Tell Overture
Over The Rainbow
Of Thee I Sing
Organist Jelani Eddington Website logo
American Theatre Organ Society logo
Article icon
cd icon
arrangements for theatre organ
Jelani Eddington was born in Muncie, Indiana and grew up in a very musical family.Between the interests of his mother, a professional music teacher of many years, and those of his grandmother, a well-respected piano instructor, it was no surprise when Jelani demonstrated an inclination toward music at a very early age.
Shortly after beginning piano instruction at the age of four, Jelani began studying classical piano under the direction of his grandmother.At the age of eight, a trip to hear the 4-manual 42-rank Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ installed in the Indianapolis, Indiana restaurant, the Paramount Music Palace, introduced Jelani to the sounds of the theatre pipe organ.Soon thereafter, he began to pursue classical organ lessons and ultimately began studying theatre organ under the direction ofJohn Ferguson.
At the age of 13, Jelani won the American Theatre Organ Society's Young Theatre Organist Competition, prevailing over competitors ages 13-21 from the United States, England, Australia, and New Zealand.Jelani remains the youngest competitor ever to win this title.Jelani went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Indiana University in 1996, and later received a Juris Doctor degree from the Yale Law School in 1999, after which time he was admitted to practice law in New York and later in Wisconsin.
During the course of his concert career, Jelani has been featured at numerous national and regional conventions of the American Theatre Organ Society, and has toured extensively throughout the world.He has also produced and marketed over 30 theatre organ albums on some of the best-known and most dynamic instruments in the country.
Extract from the Jelani Eddington web site
Top of page icon
Guy Eldridge
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Dagmar Elissen
Dagmar Elissen organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Dagmar Elissen came from Denmark. She made a series of appearances for Odeon theatres.
Lived in Paddington
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946) +
Top of page icon
Martin Ellis Facebook logo
My Heart Will Go On - Sanfilippo estate Wurlitzer
Star Wars / Raiders of the Lost Ark - Sanfilippo estate Wurlitzer
There's A Rainbow Round My Shoulder - Sanfilippo estate Wurlitzer
Love Is Where You Find It - Markworth 3/24 Kimball
Baby It's Cold Outside - Markworth 3/24 Kimball
Brazilian Sleigh Bells - Markworth 3/24 Kimball
Bach 'Dorian' Toccata - St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Michigan City
Fiat Lux - St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Michigan City
Holy, Holy, Holy
Martin Ellis organist ATOS Logo
Martin Ellis began organ studies in the 6th grade, and at 15 began studying with Gary Deavel at Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana.
At DePauw University in Greencastle, Ellis majored in keyboard performance and composition. The Central Indiana Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS) was extremely supportive, engaging Martin in performances regionally throughout his college years. Ellis was also head accompanist for the DePauw Choirs, touring to Carnegie Hall and Williamsburg, Virginia. He was active as a vocal coach to the voice department and assistant conductor for three opera/musical theatre productions produced by the DePauw School of Music. He graduated from Depauw in 1990.
Before accepting the position playing for Rose City Park Presbyterian in 2014, Martin was Assistant Organist/Choirmaster at Second Presbyterian Church (Indiana's largest church) under Robert Shepfer, playing the 4m/81r Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ from 1990-1998. He then moved to Portland, Oregon, serving as Music Director/Organist at St. James Lutheran Church in downtown Portland. In 2004, Martin was appointed the Assistant Director of Music and Organist at North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, playing the restored 4m/76r Kimball orchestral pipe organ and two other organs.
Ellis' initial exposure to the theatre organ occurred at the Paramount Music Palace in Indianapolis when he was 7 years old. During his senior year, he served as the weekend artist at Milwaukee's Piper Music Palace, as an alternate organist at the Pipes and Pizza in Lansing, Illinois, and performed concerts in and around the Chicago area. Ellis is now an active featured theatre organist for ATOS and has been a regular theatre organ soloist in both the Chicago and Indianapolis areas for the last twenty years. After his move to Portland, Theatre organ came into play again as he served as an associate organist at Uncle Milt's Pipe Organ Pizza in Vancouver, Washington and played for the local organ clubs. He has appeared on the Ohio Theatre's summer movie series for several years. Mr. Ellis has been a featured artist at conventions of The American Guild of Organists, The Organ Historical Society, and The American Theatre Organ Society.
Extract:- Martin Ellis Wikipedia page
Top of page icon
Nelson Elms 9th Nov 1905
Nelson Elms organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Nelson Elms was born November 9th 1905 in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. He studied organ under J. H. Pawley. In his early teens Nelson was Assistant organist at St. Johns Parish Church, Southend and organist at St. Marys, Langdon Hills. Nelson also became assistant organist at Garons Cinema, Southend.
At 19 Nelson was appointed solo organist at the Garons Cinema, a position he held for seven years. In 1927 Garons installed the first 'theatre organ' in Essex, Nelson opened it.
In May 1931 Nelson joined the A.B.C. as resident organist at the Forum, Liverpool, After three years he returned South to succeed Sidney Torch at the Regal, Marble Arch.
Nelson made his radio debut from the Ritz, Leeds, on the 24th April 1935.
In 1936 Nelson joined Granada Theatres, where he stayed until he was called up for service in the R.A.F. in 1941.
Nelson was posted to the Middle East for 3½ years. During his time in the R.A.F. he gave did about 50 broadcasts on piano plus a few from the only theatre organ in Jerusalem, a four manual Austin..
In 1946 Nelson was 'demobbed' and returned to Granada Theatres.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Top of page icon
Arthur Esgate 23rd Jul 1915
A recording of Arthur Esgate can be found at
Sounds of Australian Theatre Organists
Arthur Esgate organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Article icon
Arthur Esgate was born 23rd July 1915 in Newton Abbot, Devonshire.
Entered the trade as an apprentice organ builder, and experimenter in electronics. During the war he was a radio instructor.
His appointments as an organist include Paramount theatres at Streatham, Brixton & Newcastle; Granada theatres at Tooting & Maidstone; Gaumont British at Gaumont, Manchester then Odeon Leeds, Astoria, Finsbury Park and then Odeon, Brixton.
He moved to Johannesburg, South Africa in 1953. Then in 1956 he and his wife moved to Australia where he gave radio broadcasts from a number of Sydney theatre organs. He was the inaugural president of the Theatre Organ Society of Australia (NSW division) in January 1960 but only remained with the society for two months.
His home was in Wahroonga, an upper north shore suburb of Sydney. He assembled two theatre organs in his home at different times. The second of these had a Compton theatre organ console that had been in the Astoria theatre, Brixton, England. An organ he had played during his professional career.
Top of page icon
Handel Evans
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Jack Evans 10th Sep 1916 - 1986
Jack Evans organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Jack William Raymond Evans was born 10th September 1916 in Ipswich, Suffolk.
Early training was on piano, played in dance bands, gave this up to play organ.
After three years instruction on straight organ had lessons on a Wurlitzer.
Joined Gaumont British at Leicester in July 1942, then transferred to the Gaumont, Birmingham in 1943, staying there until 1946 when he transferred to the long silent organ at the Rink, Smethwick. Made many guest appearances at Sunday concerts both at Newcastle-on-Tyen and The Tower Ballroom, Blackpool.
Gave regular recitals on a Hammond in the concert hall of a large Birmingham engineering works.
Served two and a half years in the Army, discharged as medically unfit.
Returned to the organ at The Rink Smethwick.
Died 1986 in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946) + other sources
Top of page icon
A. Faray
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Edward Farley
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Harold Farmer c.1909 - 1986
Harry Farmer orgaist
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Tony Fenelon LinkedIn logo
On A Wonderful Day Like Today
Blaze Away
Theatre Organ Convention - Sydney, 2000
Interview by Jack Moelmann
Tony Fenelon oranist cd icon
Tony Fenelon holds a Bachelor of Science Degree as well as a Licentiate Diploma in Piano Performance.
Tony was appointed head of the department of Biomechanical Engineering at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in 1991. He is actually accredited as the joint designer of Australia's first cardiac pacemaker!
It was perhaps his musical activities that put him more in the public eye; he has been a frequent performer with The Australian Philharmonic and Australian Pops Orchestra.
Piano aside, it was Tony's love of the organ which lead to him being appointed Resident Organist at Melbourne's Regent Theatre in 1965 playing the Mighty 4/19 Wurlitzer.
More recently in 2002 Tony was both delighted and honoured to receive the distinction of 'Organist Of The Year' by the American Theatre Organ Society. His finest accolade yet came in 2003 when he was awarded the Medal Of Order Of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to music.
Extract from OrganFax Spotlight
Top of page icon
Andrew Fenner 14th Feb 1908 - 1979
Andrew Fenner organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
BBC Logo
Andrew Valentine C Fenner was born 14th February 1908 in Wandsworth, London.
He studied under G. Thalben-Ball, Dr. Kitson and Sir Frederick Bridge at the Royal College of Music. Won an open organ scholarship in 1924 and the Sir Hugh Allen Prize for extemporisation in 1927.
Appointed organist and Master of Choristers at Coventry Cathedral in 1928 the on to a similar post at Carlisle Memorial Church, Belfast from 1929 to 1931.
Broadcast from Belfast as solo pianist and solo/accompanist on the Mulholland Grand Organ (built by William Hill & Son) for the B.B.C. orchestral concerts from the Ulster Hall.
He taught harmony and counterpoint at Harrow and Battersea Polytechnic.
In December 1931 Andrew was appointed at the Savoy, East Acton; other appointments included Carlton, Upton Park; Astoria, Purley; Regal, Yarmouth; Ritz, Southend; Astoria, Folkstone and Regal, Wimbledon. In 1938 joined A.B.C. playing the Regal, Bexley Heath.
From 1940 to 1942 served as a War Reserve Constable.
Between 1941 and 1943 toured the Granada circuit then to A.B.C. at the Ritz, Bowes Rd. then joining Gaumont British at the Gaumont, Hammersmith in 1944.
Did broadcasts from B.B.C. instruments at St. Georges Hall, Evesham, Bangor and the Jubilee Chapel (ex Foort Moller).
Andrew Fenner died in 1979 in Brighton, East Sussex
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946) + other sources
Top of page icon
Jack Fenner
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Harry Field b.12th Jul 1906
Born 12th July 1906. He studied piano at the London College of Music and organ at Guildhall.
Played Gaumont, Chester; Earls Court Ice Rink, Royal Theatre of Dancing, was M.D. for the Blackpool Pleasure Beach Co. Also played Savoy, Enfield
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Horace Finch 23rd Jul 1906 – 28th Sep 1980
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Horace Finch Wikipedia logo
Horace Finch was born in St. Helens in 1906 and began piano studies at the age of four. By nine he was a Church organist. At 13, he moved to Blackpool.
He continued to study piano under Robert Gregory and had every intention of becoming a concert pianist. During this time, he practiced up to eight hours each day.
In 1926, Mr. Finch was approached by Arthur Davies of the Tower Ballroom and was auditioned to become solo and orchestral pianist with the Tower Ballroom Orchestra. He commenced work for the Tower Company in April and continued under Dan Godfrey Jnr. and the famous Bertini.
1935 saw the installation of a new 'Wonder Wurlitzer' in the Tower Ballroom to the design of Reginald Dixon. The original Tower Wurlitzer was enlarged and installed in the huge Empress Ballroom, part of the Wintergardens complex. Horace was chosen as organist from many applicants, the job being to play mostly for dancing. Apart from dance sessions, Sunday afternoon and evening recitals of light and popular music were introduced by Horace.
Horace was soon a great hit on the radio and through his broadcasts of both strict-tempo dance music and light music selections, a whole page article about him appeared in the Radio Times in 1936.
1939 saw the installation of a Wurlitzer in the New Opera House, next to the Empress Ballroom. The specification was drawn up by Horace himself.
At the outbreak of WWII, Horace Finch continued to play and broadcast both the Empress and Opera House Wurlitzers until joining the RAF in 1941. There were two Hammond organs on the camp and he was to be found playing for the officers and air-men's dances as well as making guest appearances at other camps. After reaching the rank of Flight-Lieutenant, Station Adjutant, and having being mentioned twice in dispatches, Horace was released from the RAF in 1945.
On his return, a new feature was introduced at the Opera House during the winter film season, in the nature of interludes with organ and orchestra. This was a tremendous success. As well as this, the evening dance sessions in the Empress continued during the winter. In the summer, Horace was back full-time in the Empress for dancing and Sunday concerts.
Horace Finch died on September 30th 1980, aged 74.
Extract from Cannock Chase Organ Club A Brief Biography of Horace Finch
Top of page icon
Phil Finch
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Harold Flatman
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Joseph Flitcroft
Joseph Flitcroft organis
Joseph Flitcroft was born 9th February 1899.
Resident and touring organist for Union Cinemas and the Associated British Cinemas.
Resident at Savoy, Northampton 1937 to 1938.
1946 at the Forum, Birmingham.
signature tune 'Alone'
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946) +
Top of page icon
Reginald Foort 23rd Jan 1893 – 22nd May 1980

Pathe logo St. George's Hall, London
Pathe logoWith His New Wonder Organ (1939)
Pathe logothe celebrated organist
Pathe logoSignature tune Keep Smiling
An Old Sailor's Story
Organist Reginald Foort Wikipedia logo
CD ogo cd icon
Article icon
Reginald Foort was born in Daventry, England, on 23 January 1893. His father was a church organist Foort learnt the piano from the age of seven and took up the organ at eleven after his family moved to Rugby, studying with Basil Johnson, Master of Music at Rugby School. Foort became both an Associate and a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO) by the age of only 17 under the tutelage of Sir Walter Parratt and began his career as organist at St Mary's Bryanston Square, London. Having served in the Royal Navy during World War I, he worked as a piano accompanist for silent films in the 1920s, from which it was a natural progression to become a cinema organist.
Foort's first performance on a Wurlitzer was at a theatre in Edinburgh, and a few weeks later he took up a job as organist at the New Gallery Kinema, Regent Street, London, where in the late 1920s he passed what he described as 'one of the happiest periods of my life', popularising the theatre organ as a 'one-man orchestra' through broadcasts and recordings of his performances on the cinema's F2/S Wurlitzer. This was followed by spells at the 2 Manual 10 Ranks Wurlitzer at the Paramount Theatre, Paris; the London Palladium, and with Sandy MacPherson, the Empire, Leicester Square.
In 1930 Foort became solo organist at the Regal, Marble Arch, performing on a Christie organ. In 1932 he was appointed the first resident organist at the Regal, Kingston-upon-Thames. During a visit to the USA in 1935 he performed on the 4 manual 36 ranks Wurlitzer organ at the Paramount Theatre, New York City. Touring back home in Europe, he was warmly received at the Jerusalem kirk in Denmark owing to a popular following from his radio broadcasts. He did a five-month spell playing a 4 Manual 17 Rank Strunk theatre organ at the City Theatre, Amsterdam, and broadcast on the Dutch radio station Hilversum Radio, returning to London to take up a post as organist of the four-manual Compton at the Paramount Theatre, Tottenham Court Road.
In 1936 Foort was appointed as Staff Theatre Organist at the BBC, performing at St George's Hall, Langham Place, and attained widespread popularity, not only for his musicality but also for his personal charm. Each episode began and closed with his beguiling signature tune 'Keep Smiling'. In 1937 Foort was voted the most popular radio entertainer in Britain, with twice as many votes as Gracie Fields, beating his friend and fellow organist Reginald Dixon into third place. He remained in the role of Staff Theatre Organist until 1938, continuing to make broadcasts for the BBC on a freelance basis.
In 1938 Foort designed and commissioned a mobile organ from the American firm M. P. Möller, which was first set up at the Drury Lane Theatre, London in only five days, enabling him to make his first recording on it on the fifth day. During the next few years he made a series of memorable recordings of classical and light music on the Möller. In 1941 he loaned the mobile organ to the BBC, and for the next ten years travelled round the country, often by train, giving performances. His warm and personable style, combined with his patriotism, were a boost to wartime morale, and he set himself a punishing schedule with the result that a decade later, in his words, 'there was not a town or city anywhere in Great Britain that I had not visited'.
Having greatly enjoyed his 1935 visit to the USA, when he played the organ of the Paramount Theatre (New York City), Foort vowed to return to the States to live. The opportunity came in 1951, when he was invited to establish an American foothold for a Dutch firm, the Standaart Organ Company. He settled with his wife (Betty) and family in Suffolk, Virginia, in 1952. Foort made recordings on the Mosque Theatre organ in Richmond, Virginia, and used the pseudonym Michael Cheshire for his recordings of light music, which were not considered serious enough to fit with Standaart's reputation. However the Standaart project was discontinued after only ten months owing to lack of capital.
Foort and his family chose to remain in the USA. He was invited to work for the Chicago-based firm Baldwin Organs, a role that he retained for many years. Having resettled in Chicago he enjoyed another active period of his career, including as organist for the Jewish Reform Temple (Temple Sholom), playing its horseshoe-shaped Wurlitzer. According to Foort's friend Ben M Hall, Foort could 'thrill huge audiences... with deft interpretations of serious classics, light classics, show tunes and pop tunes,' being 'the master of each genre'.
Extract from the Reginald Foort Wikipedia page
Top of page icon
Molly Forbes b. 1911 - d. 1994
Pathe logo Springtime Melodies. Warner Leicester Square London Organist Molly Forbes BBC logo
Article icon Article icon

Mary Elsie 'Molly' Forbes was born 10th August 1911 in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales.
Initially Molly trained to be a piano teacher, Molly gained LRAM ARCM diplomas at 18. After having organ lessons with Al Bollington Molly Forbes decided on a change of career path.
She was resident organist at the Dominion, Tivoli and Warner Theatres in London and also St. Annes Hotel Buxton.
In September of 1948 Mary Elsie (Molly) Forbes married Thomas Hutt Holliday
Molly Forbes died December 1994 in Hastings, East Sussex, England
Extract - various
Top of page icon
Leslie Forder 26th Jun 1905 - 1975
Leslie Forder was born 26th June 1905
At the age of 4 was resident at the Moberley School, Westminster (Used by military families)
Leslie joined Provincial Cinematograph Theatres in 1925, then on to the Majestic, Staines in 1930.
In 1931 joined the Mears circuit, leaving them in 1940 to join Dominion. In 1944 transferred to New Victoria, served in the War Reserve Police while there.
Then moved to the Odeon, Leicester Square
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946) + other sources
Top of page icon
Reginald Foxwell 1903–1957
Reginald Foxwell organist Article icon
Reginald Gilbert Foxwell was born 1903 in St George Rd, Camberwell, London.
He studied under Frederick D. L. Penny and Alan Brown.
In 1936 joined Granada theatres then in 1941 moved to Odeon.
Unfit for military service he obtained a commission in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as an instructor in Wireless Telegraphy.
1946 at the Odeon. Southend on Sea.
1953 until his death was music master at Southend High School for Boys
Reginald Foxwell died 1957 in Thorpe Bay, Essex.
Extract:- Various
Top of page icon
Kitt Frances
1946 Playing the Lou Morris Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Jack Fretwell 31st Mar 1910 -
Jack Fretwell organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Jack Fretwell was born 31st March 1910 in Pisley, Chesterfield.
Began studying piano aged 12 and had lessons on the organ at Duvington Parish Church. Won a scholarship for the Royal College of Organists.
For three years worked in silent pictures then moved to Union Cinemas, training at the Plaza, Mansfield.
Jack joined the Army but was discharged in 1936 when he was appointed assistant to Eric Smith at the Granada, Bedford.
He was then appointed solo organist at the Lonsdale, Carlisle; followed by the Ritz, Barrow-in-Furness
Recalled to forces in September 1937, played in Young Men's Christian Association Jerusalem; Tripoli and Tunis Cathedrals.
On being demobbed in 1946 he joined A.B.C. at the Ritz, Bradford
Top of page icon
Cyril Gell 5th Jun 1909 - 4th Sep 1994
Cyril Gell organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Cyril William Gell was born 5th June 1909 in Bedford, Bedfordshire.
Cyril won the Elizabeth Stokes Open Scholarship 'Piano' and in three years gained the A.R.C.O. and I.R.A.M (performer) Piano.
He was appointed organist to the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey in 1930 and from 1931 to 1934 was an organ scholar at Worcester College, Oxford.
In 1935 gained position of Assistant Director of Music, Bradford College, Reading. In 1936 went as Musical Director to Bedale's School, Petersfield.
Joined Granada Theatres in in 1937. In 1938 Commenced a series of piano and organ shows with Dudley Beaven, including broadcasts and recordings. Started regular broadcasts in 1940.
Joined the R.A.F. on being demobbed in 1946 returned to Grenada Theatres.
Cyril Gell died 4th September 1994.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946) & other sources
Top of page icon
Lewis Gerard 1908 - 1995
Lewis Gerard organist Article icon
Lewis Gerard was born 1908 in Liverpool.
Lewis Gerard started his career as a cinema organist in 1926 at the Coliseum Cinema in Liverpool. From 1929 to 1930 played at the Rivoli, St. Helens. 1930 to 37 was at Orpheum, Golders Green; he moved to the Empire, Coventry in 1935; the Ritz, Leeds in 1936; then from 1936 to 38 at A.B.C. opening Dreamland, Margate; then playing the Regal, Walton-on-Thames in 1939.
He also played the Palladium in Copenhagen and the Royal, Halifax, broadcasting there 1939-1940.
He then went on to play State, Grantham; State, Dartford and Capitol, Wembley. At these last venues was musical supervisor as well as organist.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
David Gray 1990 -
A few moments with David Gray
Hot Dog! Send In The Clowns
Jack Moelmann Interview
Organist David Gray
David Gray was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1990 and first showed an interest in music at the age of four. He first taught himself how to play the piano by ear, and his first lessons followed a year later. At the age of 13 he began attending St Mary's specialist music school in Edinburgh with a principal focus on piano, but also started studying classical organ in St Mary's Episcopal. It was around this time he had his first encounter with theatre organ, and the first instrument he ever played was a 3/8 Compton organ in Glasgow. With the help of Duncan Sinclair he began to learn to play the instrument, and in 2005 won the ATOS Young Theatre Organist of the Year competition.
Towards the end of his high school studies, he chose to stop playing and studying classical organ as there simply was not enough time to do everything. However, he kept the theatre organ going as it is just too much fun and enjoyment to ever let go of!
Extract:- ATOS David Gray page
Top of page icon
Lew Green
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Kevin Grunill OrganFax logo
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer
Music from Sunset Boulevard. Penistone Compton Organ
Highland Cathedral
Pie in the face polka
Cinema Organ Society logo
cd icon
Kevin Grunill was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire in 1972 and had shown an interest in all matters of a musical nature at an early age.
However, it was not until the age of twelve that he began to learn the electronic organ as his chosen instrument. At the age of sixteen, Kevin began to take an interest in the sound of the mighty theatre organ and it was a natural musical progression that he should begin to study this type of instrument, for which he developed a different playing style from that of his electronic organ performances.
It was not long after this that Kevin began performing concerts throughout the country, featuring both electronic and theatre organs. In addition to his concert appearances and providing music in strict tempo for ballroom dancing, Kevin decided to continue his musical education and studied at a performing arts college before furthering his skills at Leeds University where, in 1994, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in music.
Kevin is heavily involved with the 4 manual Compton that once graced Birmingham’s Paramount/Odeon Cinema. This instrument is currently installed in the Penistone Paramount theatre in South Yorkshire, where it is used on a regular basis for film and concert events.
Extract from the Kevin Grunill COS page
Top of page icon
Frieda Hall 1913 - 2002
Organist Frieda Hall Discogs link icon
If you have information on Frieda that could be added please get in touch
Top of page icon
Margaret Hall
I Don't Need Anything But You
A Whole New World
Tango in D
Stevie Wonder Medley
Voices of Spring
Deep Purple concerto
When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder
Me & My Girl Medley
margaret hall organist
Top of page icon
Wynne Hallford
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
David Hamilton
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon David Hamilton Discogs link icon
David Hamilton was born in 1944 in Melrose, Scotland.
David started his musical education at the age of 10 on the piano, graduating to the church organ when he was 14.
When David left school he trained as a catering manager, this involved studies in Geneva, Paris and Bradford. While he was at Bradford he heard Arnold Loxam on the Wurlitzer, this sparked Davids interest in the theatre organ.
David took a catering management post in the South of England, fortunately close to a number of theatre organs, including the Gaumont Theatre Wurlitzer.
In 1962 David became one of the resident organists at the Gaumont theatre playing the Wurlitzer organ.
David went on to work for C. G. Conn (UK) Ltd as marketing director. In this role he travelled the world.
In 1977 David was offered and accepted a post with the Conn parent company in America. David moved to America where he presented and promoted the Conn organ.
Extracts:- various
Top of page icon
Vic Hammett
Latin American Selection - Granada Tooting Wurlitzer
Medley - One Edmonton Christie
Medley - Two Edmonton Christie


LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Organist Vic Hammett Discogs link icon
Top of page icon
Gilbert Handy
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Stella Hannan
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Ryan Hardy Twitter logo YouTube logo
Jack Moelmann interview
Anything Goes - Fargo Theatre Wurlitzer
Trumpet Voluntary - 4 manual classical organ at First Lutheran Church
From This Moment On - Wurlitzer
Master of the House - Wurlitzer
Hungarian Dance No. 5 - 4 manual classical organ at First Lutheran Church
Bumble Boogie - Wurlitzer
Little Drummer Boy - Wurlitzer
Organist Ryan Hardy
At 18, Ryan Hardy was the youngest member of the Red River chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS) and the organization's President.
Ryan started playing piano at y years old and moved onto organ aged 11 after hearing the organ at the Organ Stop Pizza
Ryan Hardy was awarded second place in the 2015 National young organists competition at the ATOS Convention in Philadelphia.
Top of page icon
Elizabeth Harrison OrganFax logo
Elizabeth Harrison (also known as Liz) was born 1st December 1976 just outside Preston, Lancashire.
Elizabeth has established herself on the concert circuit not only as a musician but also as an entertainer. Her varied musical repertoire along with her cheerful Lancashire humour has made her one of the country’s favourite performers.
Elizabeth has been playing on the concert circuit for over 24 years. She has a wealth of experience playing both electronic and theatre organs.
Elizabeth plays her portable Roland Atelier AT350C and also owns a beautiful Allen MDS theatre 3 organ which is kept at home.
Extract for the Elizabeth Harrison Organfax page
Top of page icon
Edgar Harrison
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Syd Harrop
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Jack Hartland
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Frank Hayward
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Peter Hayward Link to electronic page icon Youtube logo
Peter Hayward at Blackpool Tower
Strike Up The Band Medley
Jealousy Medley
Somewhere Over The Rainbow Medley
Organist Peter Hayward
Peter Hayward has been a professional musician for over forty years in the UK, before emigrating (and semi-retiring) to be near to his daughter and grandchildren.
Peter has been a regular monthly contributor to Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade since its conception, his popular article covering all aspects of keyboard music.
Peter has written many successful books on music : his motto being 'Professional Tips - Just for Fun - All explained in plain English - No Jargon'.
It is this down to earth philosophy that has made him a popular figure at the Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Festivals, where he is always happy to share his musical knowledge, gathered over a lifetime.
Peter now lives in Sweden, where he is actively engaged with various choirs, concerts and regular radio broadcasts, featuring many of the forty plus recordings which he has made over the years.
Extract from the Keyboard Cavalcade Peter Hayward biography.
Top of page icon
Reginald Hayward
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
W.J. Helmsley
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Richard Hills
the Royal Albert Hall organ
Tiger Rag
The Music of Al Jolson
The Dancing Years
The Deadwood Stage
Interview by Jack Moelmann

Camera icon Camera icon Camera icon
Organist Richard Hills ATOS logo 1993
Cinema Organ Society logo
Article Article
Richard Hills is one of the very few musicians truly to have bridged and mastered the divide between the world of the classical organ and that of the theatre organ. Having commenced classical organ studies under William Whitehead at Rochester Cathedral, he became Organ Scholar at Exeter College Oxford, studying with David Sanger. Further organ scholarships followed at Portsmouth Cathedral, where he studied with Rosemary Field and at Westminster Abbey.
He now pursues a freelance career and is Organist at St Mary’s, Bourne Street, London. His career in the theatre organ world has been equally prestigious. He has numerous·prizes and awards to his credit, both in this country and in the USA, where he was named by ‘Organist of the Year’ in 2010 by the American Theatre Organ Society.
Extract from the Richard Hills COS page
Top of page icon
E. C. Hinden
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Billy Hobson
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Leslie Holman
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Harold Honess
1946 Playing the Granada Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Chris Hopkins YouTube logo
Plays Latin on the Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer

Chris Hopkins
It was Frank Lythgoe, the highly regarded Steam Organ Enthusiast, who first recognized Chris Hopkins' talent, and Chris openly accredits Frank's support. Chris is the first to say that Frank's support was instrumental in his moving to Blackpool's Tower Ballroom in 1995.
Chris Hopkins entered his first season as a Blackpool Tower Ballroom organist in 1996 and has come to be regarded as one of the lynch pins by many who regularly frequent the Tower ballroom.
Chris is to be found entertaining his audience not only through the season, but also through most of the winter months when it is mainly the 'Regulars' who frequent the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
The Wersi Louvre entered the Blackpool Tower Ballroom in 2001 and Chris eagerly embraced its advanced technology and rapidly developed a rapport with the instrument, developing a repertoire that enables him to demonstrate not only the versatility of the Wersi, but his own, individual style.
Chris now plays the Roland organ at the Tower Ballroom. With the decline in the hours the ballroom is used for dancing Chris needed a second string to his bow to make money, he now teaches people to drive as well as playing at the Tower Ballroom.
As a hobby Chris tours Scotland taking photographs, he has a great eye and has put many of his pictures on Facebook.
Top of page icon
Tom Horton
The Cotton Wurlitzer
Gershwin medley
Romantic Medley
Selection from Oliver
Popular tunes Medley
The Organ Shifters
Organist Tom Horton Web site link icon
All great things start unintentionally, and that could be truer when it comes to Tom Horton's musical career. Tom started playing the Electronic Organ when he was nine years old when his grandparents updated their organ. This new digital instrument caught Tom's eye and after asking if he could have a go on it he was told that he could, but he would have to learn to play properly. Little did Tom know, that he was beginning some that would change his life forever.
He started by learning "Merrily We Roll Along" from the Kenneth Baker series and was taught by his grandparents for a about a year after. He then attended the Yamaha Music School in Lowestoft, Suffolk and under the tuition of his organ teacher he obtained many grades with the London College of Music and Associated Board of the Royal School of Music in both performance and theory, passing all his exams with very high marks. In 2001 Tom took his DipLCM diploma with the London College and passed this exam with an amazing 95 marks out of a possible 100! He currently holds an ALCM diploma with the London College of Music.
Tom's love of the cinema organ began at the age of twelve, with a visit to the Mechanical Music Museum at Cotton, Suffolk where he was allowed a ten-minute play on the Wurlitzer organ. After being heard by the museums resident organist, he was given some hints and tips on theatre organ playing.
In 2000, Tom won the UK Young Theatre Organist of the Year award, conferred upon by the American Theatre Organ Society, UK chapter.
Since becoming a professional musician in 2001, Tom has had a very varied musical career. As well as concerts and teaching, he has held the position of piano teacher at a private boarding school, has written & arranged exam music for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), as well as playing at numerous weddings, services and many other musical events.
Tom Horton is on a lifelong mission to popularise the organ whatever its type to new audiences.
Since 2005 Tom Horton has been performing on Lowrey organs at his electronic organ concerts.
Extract from the Tom Horton Web Site
Top of page icon
John Howlett
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Robert Hunter
Organ Celebrities
Recorded as George Montalba
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Robert Hunter organist Wikipedia link logo
Robert Hunter was a child prodigy. By age six he was working in radio alongside Shirley Temple and Judy Garland; by 19, he was playing with the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra.
His stupendously prolific music career spanned 60 years, which took him from classical concert piano to big bands to Broadway to TV, and eventually to acclaim as a respected and sought-after chorale arranger.
Most fascinating is how, after gaining notoriety as 'Bob Hunter, he was given the opportunity to become George Montalba; and how he continued to live out two different musical careers for over eight years—as two different artists. There was the humble Bob Hunter, who excelled at all facets of his career, yet always intentionally skirted the spotlight of fame, preferring to work in the background. And then there was George Montalba, who became a worldwide sensation performing to packed houses throughout the world, including Radio City Music Hall.
Extract:- Devil in Disguise
Top of page icon
Leslie James
LP link icon LP link icon
Opened numerous cinemas including:- Queens Hall, Cricklewood; Majestic Theatre, Clapham; Palace Theatre, Birmingham; Rink, Smethwick; Gaumonts at Chester , Middlesbrough; Haymarket Picture House, Norwich; Plaza, Southampton; Royal Hippodrome, Nottinghasm; City, Leicester; New Victoria in Edinburgh & Bradford.
Top of page icon
Leslie Jenkins
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
B. Johnson
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Jane McKee Johnson - 1996
LP link icon Jane McKee Johnson Spring Is Bustin' Out All Over Jane McKee Johnson organist
Jane McKee Johnson was born in Seattle, WA, United States.
Jane was Musical Director, Staff Organist and Pianist for KVI radio for three years during the 1940's. She owned and operated McKee Organ & Piano studios in Tacoma for many years. Jane was heard many times at Tacoma's Temple Theatre Kimball organ, most notably during the 1971 ATOS national convention. In 1976, Jane and her husband Homer travelled to England and France where Jane was able to play many Compton and Wurlitzer theatre pipe organs.
Jane had done considerable serious church work, and in 1975 she became Staff Organist for Pizza & Pipes in Tacoma. She accompanied numerous stage shows on the Kimball at the Temple Theatre.
Jane recorded the albums 'Just Playin' Jane' and 'The Second Time Around' on the Tacoma Pizza & Pipes 3/17 Wurlitzer. These fine stereo LPs include "Under the Double Eagle March," "Yellow Days" and many other numbers.
Jane McKee Johnson died 1996
Extract:- Puget Sound Pipeline
Top of page icon
Byron Jones OrganFax logo
The Welsh Wizard at the Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer
Henley Town Hall Allen Organ
Borden Rutt Organ
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes +
Hauptwerk Paramount 4/50
Hauptwerk Salisbury Organ
Panis Angelicus
Byron Jones Web Site logo
Cinema Organ Society logo
cd icon cd icon cd icon
Hauptwerk logo
Byron Jones was born in 1949 in Risca, Gwent, South Wales - hence the name of The Welsh Wizard.
As a child, he showed great promise on the piano, and then later on the organ. He played in a local church, and developed his style over the years.
Whilst still at school Byron played at the local chapel and then progressed to the working mens clubs of Wales when he was a teenager, accompanying many of the big stars who came to Wales in cabaret - Donald Peers, Ruby Murray and many more.
Byron later progressed to the larger clubs, where he would be engaged to play for artistes straight from the London Palladium.
Since then, over the last thirty years, Byron has played for many Summer Season Spectacular shows, made countless radio broadcasts and made many television appearances in Great Britain and America.
Byron produces his own recordings on CD and DVD and has his own Music Society of loyal fans and friends from all over the world.
Extract from the Byron Jones OrganFax page
Top of page icon
>C. Jones
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
E. Jones
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Florence De Jong 1894-1990
Compton Theatre Organ of the Regal Cinema Bridlington (1939)
Remembering the Silents

LP link icon LP link icon
Organist Florence De Jong Wikipedia logo
cd icon
Article icon
BBC logo
Article logo
Florence De Jong was born on August 1, 1896 in Holborn, London, England as Florence Louisa Baga.
She learnt to play the piano while at school.
Along with her sisters she played theatre organ at the Garons cinema Southend-on-Sea
Her first residency was at a cinema in Finsbury park. This was followed by 13 years at the New Gallery playing the Wurlitzer.
Opened the Rialto Cinema, London and Ritz, Sheerness playing a Comptrone, the same instrument at both cinemas.
Florence played for both the Union Castle and Cunard cruise liner companies.
She was married to Louis Morris (Cinema owner) and Herman J De Jong .
Florence De Jong died on July 11, 1990 in Wimbledon, Surrey, England.
Extract - various
Top of page icon
Geoffrey Keith 20th Apr 1914 - Dec 2000
Geoffrey Keith organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Geoffrey Newman Keith was born 20th April 1914. Studied under Edwin Crusha, Edmunton.
Assistant to Leslie James, Regent;Alex Taylor & Harold Ramsey Granada. Opened Regal, Winchester
Broadcast for Radio Normandy. Called up to the R.A.F. in 1940. Was engaged in maintenance work, later due to fluency in languages acted as liaison for the Polish Fighter Wing, No 317 Squadron. Later worked on technical research on the German A/C M.E. 109 and the F.W. 190. Demobilised with the rank Sergeant.
Returned to playing at the Savoy, Wandsworth .
Opened the Odeon Cinema Winchester
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Top of page icon
Phil Kelsall M.B.E Linkedin logo
Dance time at the Tower Ballroom Blackpool
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer
Plays for dancing
More dance music
very unusual take on the changeover waltz
At The Buttermarket
Organist Phil Kelsall M.B.E Wikipedia logo
COS logo
ATOS logo
Web Site logo
cd icon cd icon
Phil Kelsall has now completed over 40 years playing the Wurlitzer in the Blackpool Tower's Ballroom, having been appointed in 1975, initially as organist in the Tower Circus band with occasional appearances in the Ballroom.
In 1977 Ernest Broadbent the then Tower organist, retired through ill-health and Phil was the obvious choice as the new principal resident organist.
Phil has met many famous people throughout his career however meeting the Queen at the Tower Ballroom on the occasion of the Tower's centenary celebrations in 1994 is without doubt his most memorable meeting. Television and film crews never seem to be far away from the Tower Ballroom and Phil has been filmed on numerous occasions.
The demands on Phil for concert appearances have always been heavy and his touring season begins at the end of October and continues until May each year when he returns to the Tower Ballroom for the summer season. A significant engagement is playing the Wurlitzer at the Thursford Collection for their season of Christmas shows, which runs to around 70 performances each year. Phil performs frequent concerts in the the USA and has undertaken a highly successful tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Phil Kelsall's first recording, Thank You for the Music, was released by EMI in 1978. Together with recordings made on various electronic instruments, notably the Technics SX FA1, Phil has over 40 albums to his credit. t has been estimated that he now has more recordings available than any other organist in the world. No fewer than three of Phil's recordings have won the Music Retailers Association's award as best middle of the road non-vocal recording. In the summer of 2001 a compilation double album of some of his light classical recordings was released on the prestigious Universal Classics label and in its first week entered the Classical Albums Chart as the highest new entry of the week at number six. Phil's album was to remain in the Classic Top 20 for an amazing twelve consecutive weeks, an unprecedented achievement for a theatre organ album.
It is in recognition of Phil Kelsall's contribution to the world of organ music that several other honours have been bestowed upon him. He has held the title of 'Organ World Personality of the Year' and he was elected Patron of the Theatre Organ Club on four occasions. In 1987 he was voted President of the Theatre Organ Club, and is only the second person to hold this office in the Club's long history.
In 1993, Phil Kelsall was particularly proud to receive the coveted Gold Badge Award of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for his service to the British music industry.
Phil was extremely proud to have unexpectedly received the MBE in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to music.
Extract from the Phil Kelsall web site
Top of page icon
Peter Kilby 11th Nov 1916
LP link icon Peter Kilby
Peter Kilby was born on 11th November 1916 in London.
He started playing piano at the age of 4 and organ at 14. Peter was appointed organist at Lady Bary Church, West Bridgford, Nottingham.
In 1936 Peter opened the Palace at Chatham. he transferred to the Palace Derby then the Regent, Sheffield.
Peter was unfit for military service but served three years in the Army Auxiliary Motor Repair Shop.
On discharg he took an appointment with G.B. playing Hammond at the Regent Dance Hall and Wurlitzer in Brighton. While there he formed a eight piece band.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
H. Kington
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Maria Kumagai
Maria Kumagai Discogs link icon
Slideshow link icon
Maria Kumagai was born in Japan. She became interested in the piano when she was seven. Several years later she heard a recording of a theatre organ for the first time, quite unusual as there is only one theatre organ in Japan.
Wanting to learn the theatre organ Maria Kumagai moved to the USA where she introduced herself to Bill Thompson who became her teacher. Maria made rapid progress and Bill suggested she included classical studies, this she did with Richard Purvis.
Two years after arriving in the USA Maria Kumagai performed a concert in a Cathedral. She soon received invitations to play at a number of prestigious venues in the USA and also abroad including England, Europe, Australia and the country of her birth Japan.
With little warning Maria returned to Japan, nothing has been heard of her since.
Extract from The Maria Kumagia Organ Celebrities 24
Top of page icon
Herbie Laws
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Ann Leaf 28th Jun 1906 - 3rd Apr 1995
At the Wurlitzer tracks
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Ann Leaf ATOS link logo 1981
Slideshow link icon
Ann Leaf was born 28th June 1906 in Omaha Nebraska.
Due to her height was called the Mighty Mite.
Her signature tune was her own composition and was called 'In Time'.
Her debut recording was Ann Leaf at the Mighty Wurlitzer.
Ann made her first concert debut at the age of 11 playing piano. She moved from piano to theatre organ and aged 17 became organist at the Graumen Million Dollor Theatre.
She married Elias Halevy Kleinert.
In 1929 she started working for the Columbia Broadcasting System. Initially Ann played the Paramount Studio Wurlitzer as used by Jesse Crawford. Eventually CBS installed a Kimbal organ and added a few pipes, Ann used this instrument to make numerous broadcasts.
During the fifties Ann played the Wurlitzer organ at the Rainbow Centre New York.
Ann Lief died 3rd April 1995.
Extract from the Ann Leaf Organ Celebrities page
Top of page icon
Derek Leask
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Leonard Leigh
LP link icon Leonard Leigh Slideshow link icon
Discogs link icon
Leonard Leigh became organist for the KsSTP radio station in 1934, a post he held for 13 years. He played a Robert Morton organ for the broadcasts.
During the 1920s Leonard had held a number of cinema organ appointments.
In 1947 Leonard moved to Hollywood. When work for theatre organists dried up he moved to demonstrating Hammond organs, he then moved to Baldwin where be became sales manager for the Arizona region.
Extract from the Leonard Leigh Organ Celebrities page
Top of page icon
Norris Leslie
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Leroy Lewis 7th May 1935 - 2000
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon Leroy Lewis Discogs link icon
Slideshow link icon
Born in Reading, Pa., Leroy Lewis started playing the piano at the age of 3.
At 14 years old, he was playing professionally.
Leroy Lewis was just a teenager when he played his first theatre pipe organ, a mighty Wurlitzer seen commonly in large churches -- when he visited a church in Ohio.
Leroy Lewis was playing at the Promenade in Newark NJ when he was heard by George Bowles, owner of the Surf City Hotel on Long Beach Island. Engaged by Bowles to play at the Surf City Hotel in 1957, Leroy Lewis assisted by Ted Campbell, an organ technician, installed the first visual (pipes behind glass, allowing all the pipes to be seen) Wurlitzer Theatre Organ in the United States. At that time Leroy Lewis was only 21 years old.
From The Surf City Hotel, Lewis opened at the newly-built Lighthouse Inn on Long Beach Island. In the early 60s, Lewis met John Doyle, at that time manager of the Panama Hilton Hotel in Panama City , Panama. Doyle was anxious to present Lewis at the El Panama and give him the freedom to choose any Wulitzer organ he desired. Lewis selected the three-manual, 27-rank Wurlitzer originally installed in the Stanley-Warner Theatre, Atlantic City.
In 1989, he retired and moved to Central Florida, but he still played periodically in various clubs and other venues in the area.
At the age of 65 Leroy Lewis died of cancer.
Extract - various
Top of page icon
David Lobban OrganFax logo FaceBook logo
Blackpool's Empress Ballroom Tower Wurlitzer - Rumba Medley
Blackpools Opera House - Quiet Village
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Organist David Lobban
David Lobban has been playing organ and piano ever since he completed his apprenticeship as a pipe organ builder with Hill, Norman & Beard in 1977. In that year he emigrated to Canada and played organ in a number of venues including ice hockey stadia and circuses.
On his return to the UK in 1988 David had a number of different jobs including Resident Organist at ‘The Bygone Village’, Musical Director for the ‘Gerry Cottles Circus’ and show/keyboard player and cocktail pianist on a cruise ship.
In 1992 he joined the team of organists at the Blackpool Tower playing the famous Wurlitzer.
Extract:- David Lobban COS page
Top of page icon
Arthur Lord 1921 - 2010
LP link icon Arthur Lord
Arthur Lord Started playing the piano at the age of 5 then moved on to the organ with V. Johnson Lewis at the Astoria Boscombe.
Arthur had his first engagement at the age of 16 with Union Cinemas as assistant to Robinson Clever. Six months later he was appointed to the Rivoli at Southend on Sea.
On the outbreak of war Arthur transferred to the Piccadilly in Birmingham. Arthur joined the R.A.F. in 1940 and demobbed in 1946. He was reinstated by A.B.C. and appointed to the Ritz Aldershot and Ritz Woking.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Eric Lord
Medley - Conn 652 electronic theatre organ in 1985
Playing in the style of Jesse Crawford
Organist Eric Lord cd icon cd icon
Slideshow link icon
Eric Lord held a number of cinema organ appointments between 1935 and 1940. He was eventually appointed resident organist at the Paramount Cinema Newcastle Upon Tyne.
He served in the RAF and on return to civvy street returned to the Paramount.
When cinema organs lost popularity Eric became a cinema manager.
He left the world of the cinema and joined Lowery as a demonstrator.
During the 70s and 80s Eric Lord was the presenter of the radio program 'Organ Showcase' on BBC Radio Blackburn.
Extract from the Eric Lord Organ Celecbreties video
Top of page icon
B. Lowe
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Arnold Loxam 13th May 1916 - 14th Mar 2010
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer (1)
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer (2)
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer (3)
Louth Town Hall Compton
CasaLoma 1992
Organist Arnold Loxam Wikipedia logo
Article icon
cd icon cd icon
Arnold Loxam was born 30th May 1916 in Wibsey, West Yorkshire.
Arnold gave his first broadcast there as a child pianist in 1925. Arnold Loxam made his first appearance on the Wurlitzer theatre organ at the then New Victoria cinema in Bradford.
In 1946 he began playing regularly for New Victoria audiences and broadcasting from the theatre for BBC Radio. He was appointed deputy organist playing every Sunday and deputized for Norman Briggs until 1948.
Arnold was famous for his bouncy playing style.
He gave his first solo broadcast on the BBC Theatre Organ on 29 November 1947.
The association with Bradford continued until 1962 when the BBC switched its broadcasts to the Leeds Odeon.
Arnold Loxam met his future wife in 1948 when she was working at the New Victoria as an usherette. Mrs Audrey Annie Loxam was his driver for 25 years, chauffeuring him around to fulfil a busy schedule of engagements in this country and overseas.
Arnold Loxam died 14th March 2010 in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire
Extract predominantly the Arnold Loxam Wikipedia page
Top of page icon
Sandy Macpherson 3rd Mar 1897 – 3rd Mar 1975
interview (1939)
B.B.C. Compton Theatre Organ 1939
Any Broken Hearts to Mend
Bruno Aymone Channel
Organist Sandy Macpherson Wikipedia logo
cd icon
Roderick Hallowell 'Sandy' MacPherson was born 3rd March 1897 in Paris, Ontario, Canada.
From 1928 to 1938 Sandy MacPherson was the resident organist at the Empire, Leicester Square, before being appointed BBC Theatre Organist in succession to Reginald Foort.
During the war years Macpherson instituted parents speaking to their evacuee children in America live on the radio. He ran a number of request programmes.
When the BBC briefly switched to broadcasting only light music in September 1939, MacPherson played up to twelve hours per day, also filling in with announcements and programme-notes whilst the organisation hastily evacuated its staff from London to various locations around the British Isles. Pressure from listeners and the press, who quickly tired of this seemingly unending diet of theatre organ day after day, soon caused the BBC to resume broadcasting a wider range of music.
In the dark days of late 1939 - early 1940, Sandy's original signature tune, "Happy Days Are Here Again" was decidedly inappropriate to the times and he replaced it with his own composition, "I'll Play To You", a slow waltz.
In the early fifties he was best known for his regular programme of light-religious music 'The Chapel in the Valley'. Sandy also had a request programme running at the same time which concentrated on slightly lighter music and was very popular with the older generation.
He retired from the position of BBC Theatre Organist in . After retirement, Sandy continued to broadcast from time to time, usually on the 4-manual 16-rank Wurlitzer in the Gaumont State Cinema, Kilburn, North London.
He was the subject of This Is Your Life in November 1961 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.
Sandy McPherson died on his 78th birthday, 3rd March 1975.
Extract from the Sandy McPherson Wikipedia page
Top of page icon
John Mann OrganFax logo
State Theatre, Kilburn 1
State Theatre, Kilburn 2
State Theatre, Kilburn 2
Plays Compton
Compton Organ Haarlem
Dome Brighton Christie and piano
Organist John Mann Web Site logo
Appreciation logo
Cinema Organ Society logo
cd icon cd icon
Music has always been the prime priority in John Mann's life. From an early age he showed his enthusiasm, and was quickly encouraged by his parents, who bought him a piano.
John worked hard on that piano, and his music teacher was so interested in the young Mr Mann that she gave more than the set lesson time, John went on to pass his Royal School of Music examinations and participated in many musical festivals in Brighton, his hometown.
There was a deep flair for the show business side too. John went to the Brighton School of Drama where he took part in acting, elocution and dancing lessons
The knowledge of dance and stage craft has helped him over the years in his varied work.
John applied for and got the job of organist at the local sports stadium. Up to this time John's organ playing was confined to church organ lessons with the study of Voluntary's and some Bach works. Secretly when he was left alone in the church at night he would let rip with a few extemporisations on well-known songs of the day - all done in the best possible taste!!
By now he was in full flight on the road to becoming an Entertainment Organist, with variations, producing the Summer Season Concert Party and Band shows that have served him well to set up his present position as Britain's number one Entertainment Organist.
Extract from the John Mann biography
Top of page icon
Donald MacKenzie OrganFax logo
Odeon Leicester Square
On The Bench with Dr. Carol Williams
Organist Donald Mackenzie Web Site logo
Cinema Organ Society logo
cd icon
Donald MacKenzie was born in 1970 in Ayrshire (Scotland), and after learning to play the piano and classical organ with renowned Scottish organist Gordon Frier, he received his first engagement in 1988 as the resident organist to the Glasgow Garden Festival. In 1991 Donald was the winner of the Senior Young Theatre Organist of the Year in the A.T.O.S. International.
In July 1992 Donald began his long association with the Odeon Leicester Square Compton organ, by playing it for a number of events including a preview of 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Chaplin'. In November 1993 he was engaged to play the organ before each performance of the film, 'Aladdin'. He was then appointed House Organist. He has broadcast from the Odeon on BBC Radios 2, 3, 4 and the World Service.
Donald regularly plays the Bournemouth Pavilion Compton Organ Concert Series. 2006 also marked his third concert at the Albert Hall Nottingham. In 2005 and 2006 Donald gave concerts at the International Johann Strauss Festival held in Bucharest. In July 2006 Donald made his debut at the world famous Spreckels Organ housed in the magnificent surroundings of Balboa Park in San Diego.
When he is not playing for concerts Donald specialises in the accompaniment of Silent Films. He has now more than twenty feature films 'under his fingers' including the major classics of the silent screen - The Phantom of the Opera, Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, King of Kings, Carmen, The Black Pirate, Metropolis - as well as many different types of short silent films. One of his most treasured memories was playing for the film 'Nosferatu' at the Usher Hall Edinburgh in October 2005 to a very enthusiastic full house. In December 2005 Donald appeared at the Odeon on an ITV programme, demonstrating the art of silent film accompaniment.
Donald has a degree in music from the University of London.
Extract from the Donald McKenzie Biography
Top of page icon
Quentin Maclean 14th May 1896 - 9th Jul 1962
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon Quentin Maclean organist
Quentin Maclean, born in London on 14 May 1896, was one of the most popular church and theatre organists of the mid-20th century, pursuing a dual career as a performer and recording artist that encompassed both popular and classical music, in addition to being a composer and teacher.
From 1921 until 1939 he played the organ at various British movie palaces. After a long residency at the Regal Cinema, Marble Arch, which featured what was then one of the largest theatre organs in England, he designed the Wurlitzer Cinema Pipe Organ - the largest instrument of its kind - for the new Gaumont State Theatre in Kilburn, the biggest movie palace in England.
From 1925 onward, he was also a fixture on the BBC, where his performances included a huge volume of light-classical pieces as well as the British premieres of both Paul Hindemith's and his own organ concertos.
He relocated to Canada in 1939, where he continued to play in movie theatres during the '40s, while holding academic and church posts. He also broadcast extensively on the CBC.
Extract:- Clan Maclean Heritage Trust
Top of page icon
Stephen Mann
Abba Selection
Mamma Mia
Lay All Your Love On Me
Thank You For The Music
Super Trouper
Organist Stephen Mann
Top of page icon
Nicholas Martin OrganFax logo Facebook logo
Tower Ballroom Quicksteps
Ossett Compton Organ
The Orion Centre Wurlitzer
Medley on the Rochford Compton
Organist Nicholas Martin Web Site logo
Cinema Organ Society logo
cd icon cd icon cd icon
Nick Martins musical career started when he first studied the piano at nine years of age. He began to take a keen interest in the organ shortly afterwards.
During a family visit to Blackpool, in 1969 , he overheard the Wurlitzer organ being played in the famous Tower Ballroom by none other than Reginald Dixon, Nick was totally smitten - in fact, he never quite got over it!After he started learning to play the organ, at age eleven, it became his driving ambition to perform at this famous venue.
Nick's Tower Ballroom ambition was realised in 1981, and he accepted a post as resident organist - He played there solidly, seven days a week, during the 1981 and 1982 seasons
Whilst at Blackpool in 1982 Nick was approached by Nigel Turner a businessman from Northampton. Mr Turner proposed opening a new organ entertainments complex - "Turner's Musical Merry-go-Round". The feature piece would be a large Wurlitzer theatre organ
Nick commenced duty at "Turner's", as resident Wurlitzer organist, in April 1983, and remained there until its closure in June 2004. Nick recorded over thirty albums on "Turner's Wurlitzer" as well as Video's and DVD's
One of the major highlights in Nick's musical career was an offer (in 1985) to perform in concert at the Kirk of Dunedin - a community church on the West Coast of Florida. Since that first visit, he has been asked to return many times.
After Turner's closed in July 2004, Nick became Musical Director at Wicksteed Park (Kettering, Northants.) -His work there consisted of performing all the music for the afternoon variety shows and accompanying the various acts - by using his Technics G-100. His "term of office" came to an end there in December 2008.
Nowadays, Nick's career finds him performing for the many organ societies and clubs around the U.K. as well as church recitals.
Extract from the Nick Martin OrganFax page.
Top of page icon
Jean Martyn Linkedin logo Facebook logo Twitter logo You Tube logo
Plays Compton in Haarlem
Beer wurlitzer part 1/2
Beer wurlitzer part 2/2
Organist Jean Martyn Web Site logo
Cinema Organ Society logo
cd icon cd icon
Jean Martyn moves effortlessly between grand piano, electronic keyboards, mighty 1930'scinema organs. Jean's range of music is vast, extending from classical to jazz and modern dance.
Jean performed at an International Reception for approximately 600 Rotarians at the Metropole Hotel and gave two performances at the NEC International Convention Centre in the City of Birmingham.
Next came a classical organ recital in Lichfield Cathedral, the city of her birth, along with her Yamaha electronic organ. Then at the Symphony Hall Birmingham she played the classical organ, giving a pedal solo.
Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre is a regular venue, where Jean performs on the mighty Compton cinema organ, and Steinway grand piano. Jean makes several appearances each year in Europe and America in addition to her busy programme of tours around Britain. She performed with James last at the Apollo Theatre in Manchester in 1993.
Musically trained at Trinity College, Trent Park and The Guildhall School of Music, London, Jean is the only female organist to have recorded on the famous Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer Organ during the last 50 years.
She has given three concerts at the Cheshire residence of the Duke of Westminster and has appeared for the 'Not Forgotten Association' at St James's Palace in London for Chelsea Pensioners.
In 2010 she performed in Hamburg for the BBC, and celebrated 30 years as a professional musician.
Jean is now performing on the fabulous TRX system.
Extract from the Jean Martyn OrganFax page
Top of page icon
Henson Maw
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Kay Mcabee Gacebook logo
Tea for Two - Kimball
Raintree Country - Kimball
Who - Kimball
Kay plays the 5 manual Wurlitzer
5/28 Wurlitzer - 2009
At the Rialto
Kay McAbee Interview by Jack Moelmann
Kay McAbee organist ATOS logo
Article
Kay Arthur Mcabee was born in Joliet, Illinois on 17th November 1930.
Kay Mcabee started his professional career as staff organist for the W.W. Kimball Company in 1952. After completing his musical education at the Chicago Musical College and the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, he went on to become a featured soloist in at least five national conventions for the American Theater Organ Society (ATOS), and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1985.
He was a pioneer in the theatre organ world and well-remembered for the series of concerts he performed at the Rialto Theatre in Joliet, Illinois and the Aurora Paramount in Aurora, Illinois, and then at the Phil Maloof Roxy Organ at the Albuquerque Ramada Classic, Fred Hermes residence organ in Racine, Wisconsin and concert series for the St. Louis Theatre Organ Society.
Kay taught up to fifty students per week in Joliet for years at the World of Music. Kay was a member of the American Guild of Organists for 50 years, choir master and organist at St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Frankfort, Illinois for 23 years and then organist for Covenant United Methodist Church.
Kay passed away 8th January 2012 after a month-long illness.
Extract:-Kay Arthur Mcabee obituary
Top of page icon
Frank Matthews
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Ashley B. Miller 22nd Mar 1918 - 20th Mar 2006
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon Ashley B. Miller Article icon Article icon
Slideshow link icon Slideshow link icon
CD link icon
Ashley Miller was born March 22nd 1918 in Brooklyn, NY.
His first encounter with an organ was at the age of twelve. His first appearance as an organist was on the organ in the Leonia Theatre, Leonia. He also played a 3 manual Welte-Mignon organ in the Plaza Theatre, Englewood, NJ.
As a student at the Juilliard School of Music, Ashley studied organ for four years and studied conducting for three years.
In 1939 Ashley gave a series of Sunday morning organ concerts on the Fifth Ave Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ broadcast on WQXR radio. Also worked at WBNX playing programs of popular music on the pipe organ in their studio. At the New York World's Fair, he played an early model Hammond for the IBM exhibit.
In 1946, after completing military service, Ashley Miller was appointed organist of the New York Society of Ethical Culture playing a Hope-Jones organ. He also started as organist at Radio City Music Hall.
In 1948 he started his own trio (guitar, drums, and organ) which was featured at the Park-Sheraton Hotel, NYC and broadcast over the CBS network.
Ashley returned to RCMH in 1950 and played there until Jan 1956.
In 1966 Ashley started playing organ for soap operas such as "Love of Life", "The Secret Storm" and "Search For Tomorrow".
Classical credits include an Associate Degree from the American Guild of Organists.
As official organist of the New York Knicks and the Rangers he has entertained thousands in Madison Square Garden.
Ashley Millers credits as a classical artist include performances with the New York Philharmonic, The London Philharmonic and, under Leopold Stokowski, the American Symphony Orchestra.
Ashley Miller was the first staff organist at the Toronto Organ Grinder pizza parlour.
Ashley Miller died 20th March 2006
Extract from Ashley Miller obituary
Top of page icon
Raye Miller
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
George Montalba
SeeRobert Hunter
Top of page icon
Kevin Morgan LinkedIn logo
Royalty Cinema Wurlitzer Organist Kevin Morgan COS logo
cd icon
Kevin Morgan started playing piano at the age of three. When, as a choirboy, his voice broke, he was persuaded to try playing the organ instead of singing! All went well and he played for his first Choral Evensong in Salisbury Cathedral at the age of eleven.
He took 'O' and 'A' Level Music (amongst others) and passed his Grade Eight Piano, Organ, Singing, Theory and General Musicianship examinations (winning prizes for the highest marks) along with a Performance Diploma at the piano before going up to University College, Durham.
In 1986, he was appointed organist and choirmaster at Bolton Parish Church that has a fine three-manual Hill organ.
Kevin Morgan is a prize-winning Fellow of The Royal College of Organists, a Licentiate of The Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music, London, in addition to holding Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees.
Extract from the Kevin Morgan COS page
Top of page icon
R. Motten
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
George Mount
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Harry Myres
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Harold Nash 6th Sep 1906
Harold Nash Slideshow link icon
Harold Nash was born 6th Sep 1906 in Northampton.
Harold had his first church organ appointment at 12 years of age.
He played at the Regal, Harrogate and the Savoy, Northampton 1945 to 1956 (last resident organist at this venue). Harold was among the first Hammond players in the UK.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Reginald New
Opened Majestic Reigate
Top of page icon
F. Neasam
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Frank Newman
LP link icon LP link icon Frank Newman organist Article icon
Frank Newman was born in London in 1894, He started piano and organ lessons at the age of 12. He was appointed organist at the London Church when he was sixteen.
In 1914 he volunteered for the army serving in the artillery in France, the Balkans, Egypt and Palastine, contracting malaria whilst in the Jordan Valley. Frank returned to church work in 1919 but spent most of the year in hospital following a recurrence of malaria.
Moved to Lowestoft and became an accountant. In 1922 was chosen for the post of organist at of St. Peter Mancroft. In 1927 commenced broadcasting while at Lozells Picture House Birmingham. In 1929 joined Sandy Macpherson as assistant at the Empire Leicester Square.
Opened the Regent, Ipswich and Plaza, Rugby. Frank made about fifty recordings between 1929 and 1936. He went to the Metropole, Victoria then succeeded Sydney Torch at the Regal, Edmonton.
After the outbreak of war volunteered and was recommissioned joining the Royal Norfolk Regiment. Served in England for the duration of hostilities as captain. During the war broadcast from Llandudno and Bangor on the BBC Theatre organ.
After the war played for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Everett Nourse 8th Jun 1911 - 31st Jan 2000
Ramona on Wurlitzer
Dance Ballerina, Dance
Nightingale
Everett Nourse organist
Everett Nourse was born on June 8th 1911 in Chico, he grew up in Oakland and began playing the piano when he was six years old. Within two years he was composing his own music and at 14 he became enthralled by the Wurlitzer pipe organ at his neighbourhood Parkway Theatre.
He began taking lessons, practicing in the Park Boulevard Presbyterian Church near his home, playing occasionally for the church and eventually giving his first public concert there when he was 16.
After his Oakland High School music teacher arranged for his first chance at a Wurlitzer, demonstrating the organ in the Diamond Theatre in Oakland, the theatre's manager invited him back to play whenever he wished. He began playing occasionally for Saturday afternoon stage shows.
From 1928 to 1934, Nourse played programs on several East Bay organs, and in 1935, he finally got to play the Fox Oakland downtown for a New Year's Eve singing program. But his career was mainly limited to the weekends when he entered the University of California at Berkeley in 1929, later getting a job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Berkeley.
He married his wife, Louise, in 1936, and they moved to Vacaville where he worked as a farm adviser in Solano County. He took a leave to earn a master's of science in agronomy from University of California at Davis in 1957.
Nourse continued to play the organ, performing at the Paramount Theater in Oakland and others around the Bay Area, finally landing the job as organist for the 5,000-seat Fox Theater in San Francisco in 1944, where he delighted audiences until the theater closed in 1963.
The last show to be held at the Fox Theater was the fabulous Farewell to the Fox stage show on February 16, 1963.
Inducted into the American Theater Organ Society Hall of Fame in 1998, Nourse continued to play the organ at the Trinity Baptist Church in Vacaville and for the Vacaville Rotary Club until his death.
Extract:- Farewell to Everett Nourse
Top of page icon
Nigel Ogden
at the Kilburn State Wurlitzer Organist Nigel Ogden Wikipedia logo
Cinema Organ Society logo
Stainer and Bell logo Compositions

cd icon cd icon
Nigel Ogden was born in Manchester. His father was a church organist, and also a lover of the theatre organ. At an early age, Nigel was taken to hear the great Reginald Dixon playing the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer organ, and was instantly 'hooked'.
He first broadcast in 1971, and on 3rd March 1980 took over from Robin Richmond as the presenter of the BBC Radio 2 programme The Organist Entertains.
Nigel is equally at home on church organs and electronics, particularly Hammonds. Cathedral organs too have received the very special Ogden treatment.
The theatre organ is Nigel Ogden's first love, and he has recorded many CDs at the organ that first sparked his imagination - the Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer.
Extract from the Nigel Ogden Stainer & Bell web site
Top of page icon
Edward O'Henry 1896
Popular Melodies played on a Wurlitzer
Pathe film, no sound
Edward O'Henry organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
BBC Logo
Discogs link icon
Edward O'Henry was born in 1896 in Brislington.

Educated at the Worthing School of Art & Royal Academy of Music. Assistant to Dr. Davon Wetton & Frank Idle.
Served in the Army and took part in the Occupation of Cologne 1918-1919.
Escaped from Jersey June 1940 as a refugee just prior to the German occupation.

Broadcast from Madame Tussaud's for five years from 1928, and for Music While You Work.
Played opening concerts at Playhouse Windsor; La Scala Cinema, Glasgow; Capitol Theatre, Aberdeen; Capitol Theatre, Didsbury; Paramount Theatre, Newcastle on Tyne; Forum, Jersey.
Made over 70 recordings.
Extract:-Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Top of page icon
Hector OliveraLink to electronic page icon
Improvisation in Berlin
Shake the hall - 1
Shake the hall - 2
Mouret's Rondeau Roland C-200 Classic Organ
W. Ralph Driffill's Toccata
Giacomo Meyerbeer's Coronation March
Organist Hector Olivera Web logo
cd icon cd icon
Appreciation logo
Article icon
Born in Buenos Aires, Hector Olivera's first teacher (who was his father) encouraged him to begin playing the pipe organ when he was three. Two years later, he was appointed organist of the Church of the Immaculate Conception. At six, he entered the Buenos Aires Conservatory to study harmony, counterpoint and fugue. At age twelve, Mr. Olivera entered the University of Buenos Aires where he studied with Hector Zeoli and Juan Francisco Giacobbe. By eighteen, he had performed more than three hundred concerts throughout Latin America.
In 1965, New York's Juilliard School of Music offered him a scholarship. He immediately moved to the United States to study with Vernon de Tar and Bronson Reagan. Three years later, Mr. Olivera won the National Improvisation Contest sponsored by the American Guild of Organists.
In 1988, after years of performing in the United States, Maestro Olivera was invited to play once again in Argentina.
Mr. Olivera has performed as guest soloist with orchestras throughout the world.
In 1992, Mr. Olivera was guest artist at the American Guild of Organists' convention at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta performing the world premiere of a commissioned work written by William Albright.
In 1996, in celebration of the Olympic games, Mr. Olivera was given the honour to perform a solo concert at Spivey Hall, Atlanta.
In 2002, Mr. Olivera was invited again to perform for the American Guild of Organists' National Convention.
Extract from the Hector Olivera biography
Top of page icon
Frank Olsen
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Bobby Pagan
Short clip
Pathe logo Regal Glasgow Compton Organ

LP link icon LP link icon
Bobby Pagan
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)

If you can add to the Bobby Pagan story please get in touch
Top of page icon
Phil Park
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Vincent Parker
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Roy Pearce
1946 Playing for H.M. Forces.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
James Peters
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Edgar Peto c. 1893 - 7th Jun 1940
Edgar Peto organist BBC Logo
Craving to be an organist from an early age, Edgar Frederick Peto realised his ambition when, at the age of twelve, he became the organist of a large church in Paddington.
Subsequently he gained a scholarship at the Trinity College of Music and at the Royal Academy of Music.
Thereafter his studies were cut short by a serious illness. A diseased bone of the right arm laid him up for two years and a half, in the course of which he underwent twenty-two operations.
For some years he combined church and cinema organ work, and opened the second Compton organ in London.
He was resident organist at the Astoria Cinema, Ashford, when he was tragically killed by a lorry while on his way home from the Astoria Cinema on 7th June 1940
Extract:- Various
Top of page icon
Reginald Porter-Brown
1946 Playing the Granada Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Chris Powell OrganFax logo

At the Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer
Cole Porter medley
Camera icon
Organis Chris Powell Web Site logo
Cinema Organ Sociaety logo
cd icon cd icon
Chris Powell was born in Manchester in 1971. At the age of 2, his parents emigrated to live in Christchurch, New Zealand where he first became exposed to organ music as a pre-schooler at the Cathedral Boys Grammar School. A return to England in 1977 saw him further his musical activities both as a chorister and also with piano and subsequently electronic organ lessons.By the age of 16, he was already giving concerts as well as playing for dancing around East Lancashire and West Yorkshire. Living in North West England, it was not surprising that the family made an outing to the world famous Blackpool Tower.On hearing the Wurlitzer, Chris remarked to his parents that he would "play in here some day!"....At the age of 18, he was successfully auditioned to join the team of organists there as a relief player during the winter of 1990.
During 91 Chris was invited to undertake work for the Farfisa Company of Italy and subsequently, he enjoyed working with the Orla range of products from Italy.
1994 saw an invitation to return to New Zealand to play a series of theatre and electronic organ concerts.The 4 week sell-out tour saw him performing to capacity crowds from Dunedin in the South right up to Auckland.Other destinations have included frequent visits to Germany and Holland as well as Italy and the United States.
In 2000, he was invited by the Roland Corporation to tour with one of their flagship Atelier organ products.The initial AT-80R has subsequently given way to various newer models leading up to the current AT-900C model which he tours with right around the country.
Extract from the Chris Powell Biography
Top of page icon
Bob RalstonLink to electronic page icon 1938


Amazing Grace - Renaissance Wurlitzer
Wunderbar - Renaissance Wurlitzer
Tchaikovsky PC #1 in Bb Minor - Duet
Rondo ala Turk - Duet
Bob Ralston organist Website link icon
Wikipedia link logo
Discogs link icon
Robert "Bob" Ralston was born 1938 in San Bernardino County, California.
Bob Ralston is probably best known for his 47 years as pianist/organist/arranger with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. In addition to his concerts for the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS), he continues to work as a pianist, show producer, arranger, conductor, composer, teacher, and recording artist.
A former conductor of the Hayward Symphony Orchestra (1976-1977), Bob has guest-conducted several other symphonies as well.
From 1996 to 2000, Bob demonstrated his talent for hosting when he produced and anchored the "Gee Dad! It's a WurliTzer!" radio show.
Extract:- Bob Ralston Biography
Top of page icon
Harold RamsayLink to Hammond page Icon Aug 1901 - 29th Jan 1976
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon Harold Ramsay organist Discogs link icon
Article icon
Harold Arthur Ramsay was born Aug 1901 in Great Yarmouth, England.
He moved to Calgary aged 10, studying music at Mount Royal College and becoming organist of Hillhurst United Church at 13 and of Knox United Church at 15. After training with Lynnwood Farnam in New York in the early 1920s he was a vocal coach for Paramount Studios in New York and Hollywood and organist at Broadway's Rivoli Theater.
In 1932 he moved back to England, where he became a leading theatre organist, performing on some 1000 BBC broadcasts, appearing weekly at London's Granada Theatre, and touring with his Rhythm SO, Eight-Piano SO, and the revue Radio Rodeo.
His signature tune was the theme from Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. In 1950 he returned to Calgary, where he was organist-choirmaster at Wesley United Church until 1971. He was the founder of the Calgary Choral Society, and director and teacher of voice and organ at Mount Royal College Cons.
His songs were published by Boosey & Hawkes, Chappell, and others. His 'Britain, Remember!' became a Royal Air Force theme during World War II, and Rodeo March was adopted as the theme song of the Calgary Stampede.
He opened cinema:- Winter Gdns, Llandudno; Ritz Aldershot Penzance, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Chatham & Woking ; Granada, Mansfield; Regal Beckenham
Harold Ramsay died 29 Jan 1976 at Salmon Arm, near Kamloops, BC.
Extract:- The Canadian Encyclopedia
Top of page icon
Donnie Rankin Facebook logo
Star Trek Medley
All's Fair In Love And War
The Stars and Stripes Forever
Skyfall
Repasz Band March
There Ought To Be A Moonlight Saving Time
All the Things You Are
Interview by Jack Moelmann
Roller Coaster
Donnie Rankin ATOS logo
Website link icon
Donnie Rankin was introduced to the theatre organ at the age of three. He often tried playing his grandfather’s home organ, then in 2000 his own organ was bought and tuition began.
Two years of home organ lessons and then on to classical piano by 2005. Winning the title of ‘The American Theatre Organ Society’s Young Theatre Organist of the Year’ in 2007, Donnie began studying theatre organ in earnest under the tutelage of Jelani Eddington. Since then he has performed all across the country on numerous occasions.
Top of page icon
Felton Rapley
Played at the Coliseum Burslem
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Len Rawle Link to electronic page icon
Wurlitzer In The House
Howden le Wear Wurlitzer
Wurlitzer Organ & Pianola Duet
Maybe It's Because
Rochford Compton
Radio Brockley interview
Camera icon Camera icon
Len Rawle Wikipedia logo
Cinema Organ Society logo
cd icon
Len Rawle was born in Tonypandy, South Wales in 1938, Len's classical training, starting at age 4, came from the London College of Music in Cardiff. Later his studies transferred to London where he also came into contact with many leading organists.
He was also fortunate in having the UK's first residence Wurlitzer from the Granada Wandsworth Road, London in the family home. Eventually he purchased the famous 4 manual Wurlitzer of the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, which became the centrepiece of his own, self-built home at Chorleywood. Described by many, as the finest sounding residence Wurlitzer in the World, he has recorded, broadcast and televised this Wurlitzer many times. Two particular highlights were appearing on the very first 'The Organist Entertains' Programme (plus many subsequent ones) and also in the much celebrated and often repeated Sir John Betjamin BBC T.V. documentary 'Metroland'.
Len has given numerous concerts and 'workshop sessions' in the USA, Australia and Europe.
Extract from the Len Rawle COS page
Top of page icon
L. Ray
1946 Playing the Granada Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Albert Raynor
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Douglas Reeve 7th Jan 1918 - 18th Jul 1999
Medley
Hornpipe from Fantasia on British Sea Songs
Rule, Britannia

LP link icon LP link icon
Douglas Reeve Article icon
Douglas James Reeve was a real Brightonian, He was born in the Lanes, Brighton 7th January 1918. His potential as a musician was spotted at an early age and piano tuition was arranged. Aged 14, Reeve was appointed Assistant to H.G. Goddard at the Savoy Cinema in Brighton, and while there was spotted by the BBC staff organist Reginald Foort when visiting the Regent cinema in the town.
Reeve was immediately engaged as a "Wonder Boy Organist". Dressed in an Eton collar and what he described as a "bumfreezer" jacket, Reeve toured the UK for County Cinemas.
From the beginning of 1936, he played for variety acts at the Regal and Orpheum cinemas in Golders Green, sometimes appearing at the organ in a solo spot.
From the end of 1938, variety ceased at both theatres and Reeve performed organ interludes up to the outbreak of the Second World War, following which he spent a short spell as a manager for County Cinemas. In 1940 he joined the Army and later that year, by candlelight (there was a power cut), married a singer, and the youngest member of the ATS, Joyce Jackson.
Invalided from the Army in 1941, Reeve returned to Brighton and, aware that the superb dual-purpose organ at the Dome concert hall was not getting much use, he approached the authorities with the idea of playing it for dancing, as the Dome had been converted into a dance hall for the local forces. His idea was so successful and Reeve was so popular, that he was appointed Borough Organist, a position he held for more than 50 years.
His name soon became synonymous with that of the Dome. His Pack Up Your Troubles concerts were the high spot in the weekly Tuesday at the Dome variety shows. The latter ran for 1,600 performances and earned Reeve a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
In the 1950s, Reeve was appointed manager of the Dome and Corn Exchange for Brighton Corporation, and in 1977 he became Assistant Director of the Resort and Conference Department at Brighton; in effect, being responsible for all indoor entertainment in the town. Finding that he had little time for his music, he retired from that position in 1979, but continued as Borough Organist and producer of Tuesday at the Dome.
Throughout his life, Reeve was a prolific broadcaster. He made his first broadcast at the age of 18, in 1937.
Douglas James Reeve died Brighton 18th July 1999
Extract Douglas James Reeve obituary
Top of page icon
Robert Reeves
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Robin RichmondLink to Hammond page Icon 1912–1998
Gaumont Manchester Wurlitzer
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Organist Robin Richmond Wikipedia logo
cd icon cd icon
Article icon
Slideshow link icon
Robin Richmond was born in London in 1912, the son of a doctor. Neither of his parents had any musical talent, but the boy became interested in the organ while at Westminster School. Advancing to London University to study law, Richmond failed his exams three times before finally giving up. He decided to turn his hobby into his full-time job.
Richmond's earliest employment, however, was as organist at the Lambeth Mission Hall. The hall showed silent films during the week and held services all day on Sunday. The job did not last for long; the minister sacked him for using drum-style percussion whilst accompanying the hymns.
Richmond now concentrated on popular dance music. His first West End appearance was in the stage revue It's in the Bag (1935) which was so devised that he had two special scenes created around his "organantics", a slang term coined around that time. In 1936 he joined the cast of Radio Pie, a touring revue starring the Two Leslies.
In 1937 Richmond travelled to Holland to play the organ at the Palais de Danse, Scheveningen in support of the famous American black dance band led by Benny Carter. Returning home he made his first radio broadcast in the BBC's popular old time music-hall series Palace of Varieties (1938).
The war began, and Richmond volunteered for the Navy. Rejected for reasons of health, he was appointed organist at the Paramount cinema in Tottenham Court Road. Like several similar West End venues, this was bombed. He remained organist at the Paramount until March 1946, then crossed over to the Gaumont-British cinema circuit travelling around London and its outskirts playing musical interludes between the films.
Richmond's main radio work began during the war, and in time he would clock up more broadcasts than any other organist. He appeared on the Sunday night spectacular Variety Bandbox
The Fifties brought better times. Richmond supported Robert Moreton, known as "The Bumper Fun Book" comedian, in the radio series Bumblethorpe (1951).
The longest-lasting tribute to Robin Richmond is the radio series The Organist Entertains, which he created in the post-war Forties and which can still be heard on the air every week to this day.
Robin Richmond died 27th July 1998.
Extract from Robin Richmond obituary
Top of page icon
Rosa Rio 2nd Jun 1902 - 13th May 2010
Every Things Coming Up Roses - Tampa Theatre Wurlitzer Organ
Don Blair interviews Rosa Rio on Broadcast Pioneer Biographies
Tampa Theatre Part 1
Tampa Theatre Part 2
Tampa Theatre Part 3
Tampa Theatre Part 4
Tribute to Rosa Rio on CBS
Somewhere Over the Rainbow Tampa Theatre
Rosa Rio
Rosa Rio was born Elizabeth Raub on June 2nd 1902 in New Orleans.
Rosa began playing piano at the age of four and started taking lessons at the age of eight. At age nine she played piano at a silent movie theatre for the first time. She studied music at Oberlin College and at the Eastman School of Music. Her instrument of choice was a Wurlitzer pipe organ.
As a theatre organist, Rosa Rio performed in Syracuse, at Loews theatres in New York City, at the Saenger Southeastern theater chain, the Scranton Paramount, Brooklyn Fox Theatre, RKO Albee, and the Brooklyn Paramount.
Known as 'Queen of the Soaps,' Rosa worked for 22 years in radio, providing the organ background music for 24 radio soap operas and radio dramas, and playing an average of five to seven shows per day.
Rosa Rio made a smooth transition into television, playing for shows such as As the World Turns and the Today Show. However, compared to radio, television offered fewer opportunities for work. Rio later moved to Connecticut, where she opened a music school with classes in voice, organ and piano.
During the 1980s, she provided scores and Hammond organ accompaniment to more than 370 silent films released on video by Video Yesteryear.
In 1993, Rio moved to Hillsborough County in Florida, where she played accompaniment to silent films at the Tampa Theatre. It was from the stage of the Tampa Theatre in 2007 that she first publicly gave her real age, which she had kept to herself for decades due to age discrimination dating back to her network radio years. Because Rio never celebrated birthdays, some of her family members were not aware of her age until the night before her Tampa Theatre 'confession.' She celebrated her 107th birthday in June 2009.
Rosa Rio died on May 13th 2010, three weeks short of her 108th birthday.
Extract:- Rosa Rio Wikipedia page
Top of page icon
Elton Roberts
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Paul Roberts b. 1960 -
Pot Puree Theatre organ
Classical organ
Paul Roberts organist Website link icon
Paul Roberts was born in Warrington, UK in 1960. In his formative years, he studied the piano, classical organ and clarinet. Whilst reading Economic History at Liverpool University he also successfully completed several music diplomas.
His tutors have included Noel Rawsthorne and Arthur Hutchings.
For well over thirty years Paul has been a consistently prominent name in the keyboard world. A regular broadcaster in the U.K. (including the BBC) and internationally, Paul has also appeared on TV in the U.K. and the USA and has been a prolific writer for music journals.
Extract Paul Roberts Web Site bio page
Top of page icon
Adolph Rochester
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Bryan Rodwell Electronic organ link icon
Theatreland
Moonlight Becomes You
Tea for Two
Scherzino
Organist Bryan Rodwell cd icon cd icon
Slideshow link icon
Bryan Rodwell was born in Kieghley in Yorkshire, England. (8th June 1929 not verified)
Bryan studied the classical piano at an early age and then he moved on to the organ,Bryan's future changed when he came into contact with theatre organist Charles Saxby, who was responsible for encouraging Bryan to consider playing the theatre organ. He made his debut performance at the age of just 10 years of age. He had the rare talent of being comfortable playing either pipe or electronic organ. Bryan's early career was on theatre organ. He was employed to play for the ABC Cinema chain at The Ritz in Hereford and also at The Granada in Clapham, London. It was during this time that he made a number of recordings and broadcasts.
In 1968 Bryan Rodwell took up a position with Hammond UK, where he was demonstrator for many years. He later moved on to be more involved with Hammond managing the quality development department. He made a number of recordings on the Hammond 'Concorde'. As well as Hammond Bryan played many other electronic organs, including Rogers and Orla. He spent the last few years playing Yamaha EL90.
Bryan was a versatile musician who also played for many of the large orchestras of the time, including Mantovani, Geoff Love and Stanley Black
Bryan died in 1995.
Top of page icon
Derek Ronald
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
M. Rose
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Dudley Savage 20th Mar 1920 – 25th Nov 2008
on the Compton organ Clayhall Essex
Dudley Savage interviewed by Rick Wakeman
As prescribed 'Mini' programme at ABC Plymouth Compton.
Masters of the Console 1
Masters of the Console 2
Masters of the Console 3
Masters of the Console 4
Organist Dudley Savage Wikipedia logo
cd icon
Article
William Dudley Savage was born on March 20 1920 at Gulval, near Penzance, where his mother played the organ in the village church. He studied under organists at Truro Cathedral and with musicians in Cornwall and Plymouth, and at 16 won the organ solo event at the Cornish Music Festival.
Having been 'discovered' by Harold Ramsay, Dudley toured England as the 'Cornish Boy Organist' in 1936-37. He made his first broadcast, for Radio Normandy, in 1936, and for the BBC the following year. In 1938 he was chosen as the organist for ABC's Royal Cinema in Plymouth.
After being called up in 1940 Savage served as a captain in the Indian Army and broadcast on All India Radio, returning to Britain and resuming his career at the Royal in 1946.
Savage broadcast his hospital request show called As Prescribed on the BBC's West of England Home Service broadcasting weekly in June 1948, and carried on until 1968. When the BBC dropped the program, listeners complained in such numbers that the show was hastily reinstated, eventually running until 1979.
Savage also undertook concert tours of Britain and Europe and regularly toured the West Country with his Hammond organ. He also presented occasional editions of Song of Praise.
Extract from The Telegraph Obituary
Top of page icon
Tony Savage
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Tim Schramm Facebook logo
In The Garden - Rodgers theatre organ
Amazing Grace - Rodgers theatre organ
Wedding Recessional
Just fooling around - Organ Stop Pizza Wurlitzer
Softly & Tenderly - Rodgers 835 digital organ with pipes
Back Bay Shuffle - Rodgers 360
Tim Schramm organsit Website link icon Website link icon
Tim Schramm is a native of Rochester, NY. He started playing the piano at the age of five. At the age of 10 he was introduced to the Mighty Wurlitzer at the Auditorium Theatre in Rochester and it was love at first sight. Since that time the organ has become his passion. Tim played his first church service at the age of 11. Since then he has played for church services, weddings, funerals, organ dedications and theatre organ concerts.
The piano and organ have always been a huge part of Tim's life. He started his career playing for a Buffalo, NY group called The Harmonaires Gospel Quartet when he was just 13 years old. They performed in churches all across the Northeast playing southern gospel music. After high school Tim found himself in piano and organ sales. While in sales he would gig on the side. He has since left retail altogether and now makes his living as a full time musician. For the past fifteen years Tim has held the position of Accompanist for the Rochester City School District and for 10 years he was the Principal Accompanist for the Rochester Gay Men's Chorus. He is frequently hired to play the 4 manual Aeolian pipe organ at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film and is extremely proud to have been named organist for the Walnut Hill Carriage Driving Competition in Pittsford, New York.
Tim is the Director of Music Ministries at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Newark, NY.
Extract:- Getting to Know Me
Top of page icon
Crosby Scott
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Jonathan Scott You Tube logo Twitter logo
Ride Of The Valkyries
Toccata & Fugue In D Minor
Saint-saens 'Organ' Symphony - Finale
1812 Overture
Marriage Of Figaro 'overture'
'A Christmas Fantasy' For Organ
Spring - Vivaldi -The Four Seasons
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Glinka - Ruslan & Ludmila
Jonathan Scott organist Website link icon
Jonathan Scott was born in Manchester, he studied piano and organ at Chetham's School of Music before gaining a scholarship on both instruments to attend the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). With the aid of a Countess of Munster Scholarship he was able to continue his studies in USA and Holland. Jonathan won the coveted Worshipful Company of Musicians WT Best Scholarship and gold medal, and is a Freeman of The City of London. He has been a member of the keyboard staff at RNCM since 2001 and is also Associate Artist of the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester where he gives a series of popular lunchtime organ recitals which attract audiences approaching 1000.
Extract:- Jonathan Scott web site
Top of page icon
Joseph Seal
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon Joseph Seal Slideshow link icon
Discogs link icon
Joseph Seal was born in Darwen, Lancs. He started piano lessons at the age of six and was appointed organist at St. Cuthberts Church, Darwen at the age of thirteen.
Other church appointments included All Saints Church and St Peters Church, Blackburn.
At the age of nineteen he was appointed organist at the Regal Cinema, Altrincham.
He made broadcasts on the Christie organ at Lonsdale Cinema, Carlisle, on the B.B.C. organ at St. Georges Hall and during the war years did a request show for Ulstermen serving overseas called 'This is for you'.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
A. Searle
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Hubert Selby 1911
LP link icon LP link icon Hubert Selby organist Discogs link icon
Hubert Selby was born in Ipswich, Suffolk in 1911.
He studied piano and music theory with Mrs. Milto Rose and Theatre Organ with Frank Newman.
1931 Toured as guest organist for Gaumont British
1931-1936 Resident organist at County Cinema Sutton and assistant organist at New Victoria Cinema S.W.
1936-1937 toured as guest organist for Union Cinemas
1938 Solo organist for Odeon Theatres.
1939 Resident and broadcasting organist for Paramount theatre Manchester.
1940 - 1946 served in the Army broadcast on All India Radio
On Demob took residency at Ritz Cinema Ipswich
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Brian Sharp 1937 - 20th Jan 2016

at The Blackpool Wurltzer
In The News
Sandford Park Christie organ. A guided tour by Brian Sharp
Roaring Twenties
Syncopated Clock
Glamorous Nights
Brian Sharp cd icon cd icon cd icon
Slideshow link icon
Brain Sharp learnt his 'trade' on the piano. But it was playing the Hammond organ for cabaret artistes at a Midlands night club that got him into the business.
Brian became a nationwide star keyboard player, featuring regularly on the Charlie Chester radio show and later on BBC TV's Pebble Mill at One program.
In the early 1970's Brian was a demonstrator for Arthur Butler, who was the UK importer for Gulbransen electronic organs.
Brian went on to play the Dutch made Riha Orchestria and Eminent organs which had more of an orchestral sound.
Brian then changed to Kawai organs, he became hooked on them and traveled to Japan, playing them during his visit.A Kawai T5 was shipped to the UK for Brian to promote for Arthur Butler
Brian played the Kawai Organ several times on the BBC program, 'Pebble Mill at One'
Brian had star billing at the first National Home Electronic Organ Festival in 1980 that took place at Pontin's Barton Hall Torquay In 1984 Brian appeared in the 'Spring in Spain' keyboard music festivals. Brian and all the other players played electronic organs supplied by a Spanish dealer.
Brian spent many happy years at Sandford Park Poole. For almost two decades, the 80's and 90's, Brian played the Christie pipe organ there.
In the late 90's Brian held several of his own events at a Bournemouth.
In 2004 Brian Sharp was presented with a Life Time Achievement Award at the British Player Awards held at the Lyme Bay Keyboard Experience in Devon.
Extract from Brian Sharp tribute page
Top of page icon
Reginald Simms
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
C. Slater
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Frank Slater
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Charles Smart 4th Dec 1897
LP link icon LP link icon Charles Smart organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Slideshow link icon
Charles Smart was born on the 4th December 1897 in Calne Wiltshire.
Was winner at the London Musical Competition for organ solo in 1920 and gained A.R.C.M. for solo organ in 1921..
Recorded for Decca between 1933-38 and was with the variety department at the B.B.C.
Had a small band known as the 'Moonrakers' where he played a Novachord.
Charles appeared in 'Band Waggon', Kentucky Minstrels', Bandstand, Navy Mixture and Armchair Melodies.
During the 1914-18 war served with the Royal Garrison Artillery.
Extract:-Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Top of page icon
Eric Smith 1906 - 17th Nov 1985
Eric Arthur Smith was born 1906 in Harpenden, St Albans.
He Studied at Trinity College London. Played both church and cinema organ. Was a Professor at Trinity College, London.
In 1936 was resident at the Granada, Bedford
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946) + other sources
Top of page icon
Helford F. Smith
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Wilfred Southworth - d. 1938
Wilfred Southworth opened a number of cinemas including; Ritz Richmond, Hastings & Stockport; Savoy Northampton & Lincoln and the Princess , Smethwick Drowned while on Holiday in 1938
Top of page icon
H. Speed
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Gordon Spicer
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Cor Steyn Link to electronic page icon Link to Hammond page Icon ,22nd Dec 1906 - 17th November 1965

Amsterdam's City Theater (1948)
Netherlands sings

LP link icon
Cor Steyn organist 20 minutes YouTube Chanel link
Discogs link icon
Hammond Organ Club logo
Slideshow link icon
Cornelis Gerardus Hendricus Steijn was born in Leiden on 22nd December 1906.
Cor Steyn was a musical prodigy, by the age of 12 he had completed stage 5 in both piano and violin. He studied at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague . In 1920 he accompanied silent films on the piano and he performed for the first time as a concert pianist.
In 1932 he joined the VARA pianist-accordionist. He became nationally known as player of the VARA concert organ. From 1935 he performed as an organist also the musical accompaniment of several artists (including Willy Alberti ) in the Amsterdam City Theater .
Together with Cor Lemaire , he wrote the music for the film in 1939 Rascal . During World War II he worked from 1941 to 1944 for René Slee Wijks Snip and Snap -revue. For Willy Walden he wrote the music for the song If the Leidseplein the lights again to burn, which was seen as a disguised protest song, although the text was written by Jacques van Tol .
After the liberation Cor Steyn worked much on foreign radio stations, which he gained international fame. In 1949 he was permanently employed by the VARA, initially as an employee of the propaganda and program service exclusively as caretaker of broadcasts from 1950. He was the leader of the rhythmic String Ensemble and the Seven Man and girl. On October 23, 1951 he made his first television appearance as a pianist in the show program of Cees de Lange . From 1955 he worked with Tom Dorus Manders , first on radio and television, and later in the theatre, including the program Showboat .
After his work with Dorus he received a number of its own programs and he was one of the most famous players of the Magic Organ or Keizerswaard organ , designed and built by the electrician, Jaap Keizerswaard .
On November 17th 1965 he died of a heart attack in Hilversum.
Extract:- Cor Steyn Wikipedia page
Top of page icon
W. Stock
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Harold Stringer
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Walt Strony Facebook logo Linkedin logo
Radio City Music Hall
Kansas City
Over the Rainbow on the Wanamaker organ
Walt Stroney Web logo
Wikipedia logo
ATOS logo
Top of page icon
Ken Stroud
Down On The Farm
Sunshine Medley
Live 1991
Organist Ken Stroud
Top of page icon
Leslie Taff
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Van Talbent
pseudonym of Ray Bohr
Believed to have released two albums under this name
Top of page icon
S. Talbot
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Alex Taylor 11th Nov 1898
With Frank Titterton
LP link icon
Alex Taylor organist
Image from Theatre Organ World c. 1946
Alex Taylor was born in Glasgow, brother to Jack Courtnay (John Taylor) he studied at the Atheneum, Glasgow. By the age of eight was a paid curch organist.
During the 1914-18 war was a Royal Maine bandsman. Served on H.M.S. Cornwallis, (torpedoed) and H.M.S. Bacchante.
After demobilisation went to America where he appeared at Fox Theatre, Washington; Shea's Buffalo, Buffalo; Zarings Egyptian, Indianapolis; The Million Dollar Grand, Pittsburgh; plus many others.
On return to the UK opened the Davis Theatre, Croydon; Granada Theatres, Maidstone, Tooting, and the Elephant & Castle; Empire Theatre Coventry; Ritz CinemasOxford and Tunbridge Wells.
Made recordings on the Decca label on the Compton, Davis Theatre Croydon; Wurlitzer, Granada Tooting; Christie, Granada Walthamstow.
Made radio broadcasts for W.M.A.K., K.D.K.A & W.K.B.F. in USA and BBC in UK.
Made Pathe films with the tenor Frank Titterton.
Extract Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Top of page icon
Richard Telfer
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Harold Thiems
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Bill Thompson
This is the only reference to Bill Thompson found on the internet. LP link icon Bill Thompson
Top of page icon
Rowland Tims
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Arthur Tipper 1928 -> OrganFax logo Linkedin logo Facebook logo
Spotlight on Arthur Tipper
Burton Town Hall Wurlitzer
Organist Arthur Tipper
Arthur Tipper started playing piano at eight years of age. By the age of nine, he was playing for the Sunday School and at eleven held a post at a church in Scropton, Derbyshire. A couple of years later he became a member of a group playing regularly for dancing.
This was followed by playing piano in a Royal Engineers' dance band during his National Service and, following this, Arthur played tenor saxophone and piano in a fourteen piece band until the 1950s.
In addition to playing piano and electronic organ, Arthur has been playing the Mighty WurliTzer at Burton Town Hall since it's installation in 1973, for concerts, dancing and Civic functions. He has also featured the instrument on BBC1 TV and BBC Radio 2, together with several local radio programmes.
He also holds a Diploma in Church Music and works freelance around many of the local churches.
Apart from playing in the UK, Arthur has also given recitals in Germany and Russia.
Extract:- Arthur Tipper OrganFax page
Top of page icon
Donald Thorne
1946 Playing the Granada Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Frank Todd
1946 Playing the Lou Morris Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Dr. George Tootell 1887 - 2nd Jul 1969
George Tootell organist
George Tootell was born in Chorley, Lancs.
He was a pupil of Dr. Haydn Keeton at Peterborough Cathedral. George was organist and choirmaster at a number of parish churches.
George was solo organist at Palace Accrington; Stoll Picture Theatre, London; Picture Houses at Douglas, West End & Birmingham; Regal cinemas at Marble Arch & Douglas.
He Toured Germany, Austria And Czech0-slovakia.
George published a number of compositions, 16 for piano and 10 for organ as well as a number of Part Songs.
He published 'How to Play the Cinema Organ' in 1927.
George made radio broadcasts from Bristol, Berlin, Douglas, BBC London and composed music to accompany 32 'Secrets of Nature' films
He opened cinemas at The Palace, Accrington; Regal, Eastleigh; Paladium, Blackpool; Regal, Douglas;
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Sidney Torch 5th Jun 1908 - 16th Jul 1990


LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Sidney Torch Wikipedia logo
Article icon Article icon
Discogs icon
Top of page icon
F. Torrens
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
W. Trevitt
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
William Ugle
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
B. Underhill
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Brett Valliant Facebook logo
Interview by Jack Moelmann
Ragtime - Markworth Kimball
Bohemian Rhapsody - Markworth Kimball
medley of hymns - Garland Pipe Organ
Chicago - Markworth Kimball
Brett Valliant organist Website link icon
Brett Valliant is an American organist in demand for his ability to perform many different genres of music on the instrument he loves. Whether at an organ in a concert hall, a majestic church organ on Sunday morning, a mighty Wurlitzer in a theatre, or a Hammond B-3, Brett is right at home. Critics internationally have defined his performances as exciting, refreshing, unorthodox, and astonishing.
Brett was inspired by the organ at church when he was just three years old. He soon excelled at the piano, but that early love of the pipe organ propelled him to his position as a full time church musician at the First United Methodist Church of Wichita, Kansas, a post he has held since his teen years. While at the church he plays a large and unique Schantz pipe organ and oversees a music department seen by thousands across the Midwest on the church's television programs. Brett studied organ at Wichita State University.
At fifteen, he played his first Wurlitzer and exhibited a natural talent for the popular music loved by fans of theatre organ. In the world of silent film, Brett is known for scoring and accompanying many films but is best known for dramatic films.
Brett has three solo recordings to his credit as well as a number of studio projects with other musicians.
Extract:- Brett Valiant Bio page
Top of page icon
Raymond Wallbank 8th Aug 1932 - 16th Feb 2010
Raymond Wallbank Article icon Article icon
Slideshow link icon
Born 8th Aug 1932 and brought up on the Fylde Coast, Raymond Wallbank was educated at Ansdell County Primary School and King Edward VII School. Inheriting his musical talent from his mother, who initially taught him the piano. Later, he studied the organ with Robert Atherton, Organist of St Annes Parish Church.
Having qualified as an electrical engineer, he moved to Fleetwood, servicing radar units on fishing trawlers. In tandem with this, most evenings found him entertaining amid the myriad clubs and hotels that constitute the bright and breezy holiday atmosphere that is Blackpool. It was there in 1965 that he was persuaded to take a gamble and move to a much more lucrative, yet demanding residency, headlining at one of the resort's major tourist attractions.
Built in 1863 the North Pier remains a classic example of Victorian enterprise and engineering. For over 100 years one of its main attractions had been its own hugely popular 36-piece salon orchestra. Axed on economic grounds, in its place itfell to Wallbank to uphold the pier's proud musical tradition. This he did with such aplomb that, before too long, his boss, Lord Delfont, had famously dubbed him "The Prince of North Pier".
Raymond Wallbank played Sun Lounge from 1965 until 1995. Wallbank found a particularly happy and expressive outlet for his considerable talents. Seated imperiously at the console of his favourite Wurlitzer (electronic, not pipe so maybe this should be under the electronic section, decided on both), a smaller, more sophisticated model than the one in the nearby Tower, he played popular and light classical music that attracted a large and loyal following. While continuing to perform, in 1970 he opened his own highly distinctive music shop in neighbouring Ansdell.
Raymond Wallbank died 16th Feb 2010.
Extract. Various sources
Top of page icon
Thomas Walker
1946 Playing for H.M. Forces.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Fred Warrender
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Vernon Waugh
Resident Savoy Northampton 1941 to 1945 1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Peggy Weber
Peggy Weber began to study the organ at the age of seventeen with Dr. Thaiben-Ball
A year or so later she became resident organist at the Kingsway Cinema, Hadleigh.
Later she was transferred to a London theatre, where she was taught by Harold Ramsay , who appointed her organist for Radio-Rodeo, a show with which she went on tour.
On returning to London she broadcast at the BBC theatre organ, an unusual honour for only two other women organists Ena Baga and Enas sister Florence de Jong have played on it.
Extract:- BBC Radio Times 1923 - 2009
Top of page icon
Pearl White 26th Oct 1910 - 11th May 1978 Facebook link logo
Plunder
LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
Pearl White Wikipedia link logo
Top of page icon
Dave Wickerham b. 1962
About A Quarter To Nine - RUBY Ian McLean's VTPO
Chrysanthemum Rag - Allen theatre organ at Octave Hall in Macungie, PA
Tico Tico - PATOS  3/19  WurliTzer

Danny Boy - PATOS  3/19  WurliTzer
Easy Winners Rag - PATOS  3/19  WurliTzer
Bieck Residence Wurlitzer
Dave Wickerham organist Website link icon
Dave Wickerham was born in Encino, California in 1962. He began playing the electronic organ at the age of four and had his first pipe organ experience at age 10. His musical education started at age 7.
When he moved to Arizona in 1976, he became Associate Organist at the famous Organ Stop Pizza Restaurants in Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson. While in Arizona, he continued his musical studies with Roseamond Crowley. He attended the University of Arizona in Tucson on a full scholarship, pursuing classical organ studies for six years with Dr. Roy Johnson.
In 1984, Dave moved to the Chicago area to become Staff Organist at Pipes and Pizza in Lansing, Illinois.
August of 1990 he was one of the featured Staff Organists at the Piper Music Palace in Greenfield, a position he held for 10 years.
In the spring of 2000, Dave ushered in the new millennium with a limited special engagement, as a featured organist at "Roxy's Pipe Organ Pizzeria. For the next three years, Dave resumed his position at the Piper Music Palace and was also the Principal Organist at Williams Bay Lutheran Church in Lake Geneva, WI.
Extract:- Dave Wickerham web site
Top of page icon
W.C. Wilkinson
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Trevor Willets
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Clark Wilson
Medley
Alright With Me
silent films at the Ohio Theatre
Behind the Scenes
Clark Wilson Web link icon ATOS logo
Top of page icon
W. Winder-Killup
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Henry Holmes Wingfield 1893 - 1965
Henry H Wingfield
Henry Holmes Wingfield was born 1893 in London.
Assistant Organist St. Matthew's, Wimbledon in 1911 and St. Anne's. Wandsworth in 1912.
Organist at St. Luke's, Wimbledon Park, 1913-4, Christ Church Surbiton 1914-5, Parish Church Old Maiden 1915-6.
Sub-Organist St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington 1917-8. Assistant Organist St. Luke's, Redcliffe Square, S. Kensington 1916-8, St. Matthew's, Surbiton, since 1918.
Music and Scholastic Master, London College for Choristers 1915-6.Music Master Brightlands College Dulwich from 1916. Music and Scholastic Master. University College (Preparatory Branch), London, 1918-9.
supervising organist at the Odeon Cinemas
Top of page icon
Robert Wolfe OrganFax logo
The Music of Al Jolson
Swinging on the Mighty Wurlitzer
The Old Pi-anna Rag
Interview - Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre
Web Site logo
Cinema Organ Society logo
cd icon
Appreciation logo
Top of page icon
Arthur Woods
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
Michael Wooldridge OrganFax Logo Facebook logo LinkedIn logo
Phantom Of The Opera Medley Played On Compton Organ
Blackpool Tower Medley On Compton Organ

Organist Michael Wooldridge 1980
Web Site logo
Cinema Organ Society logo
cd icon
Top of page icon
Bernard Worcester
1946 Playing the Granada Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Top of page icon
George Wright 28th Aug 1920 – 10th May 1998
In Concert

LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon LP link icon
George Wright image Wikipedia logo
Article icon
CD icon link to Discogs page
Slideshow link icon
George Wright was born on the 28th August 1920 in Orland, California.
George Wright learned to play the piano at an early age from his mother who was a private music teacher. She was also a theater organist playing for silent movies.
In 1938, George had his first playing job at a Chinese night club in Oakland, called the Shanghai Terrace Bowl, which boasted a 2-manual, 6-rank Wurlitzer. In 1941, he joined San Francisco radio station KFRC and performed at the Fox Theatre on Saturday nights. In 1944, he relocated to New York City to work as organist for NBC radio. He began recording at this time, first cutting 78 RPM records for Syd Nathan's King Records.
In 1948, he signed on as house organist for the Paramount Theatre in New York. In the 1960s, Wright became the studio organist (and eventual musical director) for the soap opera General Hospital. During his long career, George Wright played a key role in reviving interest in theatre organ music. He recorded more than 60 albums, some of which sold more than a million copies between the early 1950s and 1960s. Wright was the first act signed to Hi-Fi Records and recorded 20 albums as their featured organist in the late 1950s and early 1960s before switching to Dot Records in 1963.
George Wright died of heart failure on May 10th 1998
Extract:- George Wright Wikipedia page
Top of page icon
Theatre Organists
Legendary Theatre Organists
Top of page icon
Reginald Dixon & Robin Richmond
"LIVE"- Theatre Organist's Signature Tunes
Reginald Dixon at the console