Me playing my own arrangement of "Time on my hands" on the Stockport town hall Wurlitzer organ. The day before I listened to a recording I made playing this very piece on the Southampton Guildhall Compton organ and was amazed at how similar I made two very different instruments sound particularly between 0:46 and 1:00.
Me at the Burton-on-Trent Wurlitzer theatre organ playing "The first time I saw you" which makes use of the Glockenspiel and Xylophone used together.
The organ was originally installed at the Forum Cinema in Wythenshaw - a suburb of South Manchester - not far from the airport. There are 8 ranks of pipes and as standard on British theatre organ layouts, these are divided into 2 enclosed chambers as follows:
CHAMBER 1: Open Diapason, Flute, Violin, Violin Celeste
CHAMBER 2: Tibia, Tuba, Trumpet, Vox Humana.
And of course there are the usual percussions and novelty sound effects such as Fire Bell, Bird Whistle etc. This instrument does not feature a piano.
A cinema organ in a church! Me at Beer Congregational Church, Devon playing "Puff the magic dragon". This is actually a Wurlitzer organ originally built for the Picture House cinema in Walsall, West Midlands - the very first Wurlitzer to come to the UK! The organ was installed here in about 1957 and is now being restored to its former glory.
Jesse and Yvonne of Take Berlin dropped by the warehouse for a chilled-out take on "Vermona" off the duo's Lionize EP. After packing up the guitar and Wurlitzer, the pair is off to Europe for a late-winter tour. If you're stuck stateside, catch up with their WILD Profile and grab the EP on our website.
Me at my "local" - the Wurlitzer organ at the Theatre Organ Heritage Centre in Peel Green, Manchester playing the beautiful "Autumn leaves". The Wurlitzer organ here is one of the smallest in the country with 6 ranks of pipes (Diapason, Flute, Salicional, Tibia, Vox Humana and Trumpet) and originally built for the Trocadero in Liverpool. Unfortunately I placed the microphone a bit to near to the organ grilles so the sound is a bit harsh in this video. I recommend listening to this on a modererate to loud volume setting and your speakers about 180cm away from you if possible. Being a public place of course there were other visitors in the building so I expected some background noise. My thanks must go to Pete Taylor for allowing me use of this little gem of a theatre organ and for a tour of the museum afterwards! The Lancastrian theatre organ trust must be congratulated on their work in making this organ and all the other artefacts in the museum look like they were only built yesterday.
Me playing "Summer Nights" from Grease on the 3 manual 17 rank Wurlitzer organ installed at the New Victoria Centre in the village of Howden-le-Wear in County Durham. The organ was originally built in 1930 for the New Victoria cinema in Bradford. It is now lovingly cared for by the North East Theatre Organ Assocation (NETOA). The welcome I received here was perfect! For anyone who sees the keys moving on the grand piano be assured it is not a ghost doing a duet with me - I am playing the piano from the organ!
Playing "La Mer" which I always associated with the film "Mr Beans Holiday"!!! I used the organs upright piano attachment for most of this piece but the camera microphone was unfortunately not able to pick this up. Like all theatre organs the organ works on the "extension" principal with 20 ranks of pipes in 2 chambers laid out as follows: CHAMBER 1 Open Diapason Flute Clarinet Viol D Orchestre Voix Celeste Quintadena Dulciana Tuba Horn Tibia 1 Solo String 1 Marimba Harp Vibraphone CHAMBER 2 Tuba Mirabilis English Horn Saxophone Trumpet Solo String 2 Tibia 2 Orchestral Oboe Oboe Horn Kinura Vox Humana Xylophone Glockenspiel Chimes Drums, Cymbals, Novelty effects etc Unenclosed is the upright piano and the "master" xylophone. I couldnt help but include a couple of clips of my favourite comedian!!!
I've played several theatre organs built by Compton and Wurlitzer but never a Christie until today! Im playing "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts" on the Christie theatre organ at the Social Welfare Hall in Harworth near Doncaster. The organ was originally built in 1934 for the Essoldo cinema in Durham and had 2 manuals and 7 ranks of pipes. It was installed here in the 1960s and had an extra manual and some extra ranks of pipes added. When playing a cinema organ my aim has always been to try and play as they did in your average 1930s surburban cinema. In otherwords - knock out the tune! The emphasis these days tends to be on "orchestral" styling etc.
Giving the 2 manual Wadsworth organ at Patricroft Methodist Church in Salford the theatre organ treatment with "Windows of Paris". Ironically, right next door to the church is the Lancastrian theatre organ trust heritage centre which is home to a Wurlitzer organ (originally from the Trocadero cinema, Liverpool) as well as many other theatre organ bits and bobs.