Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society...
Looking after the ex Odeon John Compton 3/9 organ now housed in Ryhope Community Centre, Sunderland SR2 0RX

Best wishes from the Society membership for Christmas and the New Year 2019.

Notification of the dissolution of the Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society following the Society's final concert in March 2019.

It is with sadness that the Society will be wound up in March 2019. The membership have now been informed and the audience at our last concert with David Ivory notified. The procedures laid down in the articles of the Society's constitution are being followed. The lack of support at our concerts, difficulty in finding people to serve on the committee to arrange and run the events, ever increasing hall hire charges, and sadly, only one of the original technical team remains to tune, maintain and repair the organ. The concerts are making significant losses which cannot continue.

Our final Society concerts...

Elizabeth Harrison...Sunday 20th January 2019

Elizabeth Harrison for the first of our last three concerts in 2019 (NW)

Elizabeth is a most popular and award winning organist on the countywide circuit both as a musician and entertainer. She was born in Preston in 1976 developing an interest in music at an early age,  embracing the electronic organ and subsequently the theatre organ too. She is a career farmer with an interest in Highland Cattle and no doubt we will hear stories of life on the farm located in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire. We are assured of an afternoon's splendid entertainment in her refreshing style laced with her light hearted humour.

Cameron Lloyd...Sunday 24th February 2019

The penultimate concert with the ever smiling Cameron Lloyd (NW)

The final Society concert with Howard Beaumont...Sunday 24th March 2019

Our final concert with Howard Beaumont (NW)

Review of the Christmas concert with David Ivory...Sunday 9th December 2018

David Ivory at the console for our final Christmas concert (NW)

David Ivory made a most welcome return to the Ryhope Compton for our last ever Christmas concert presented by the Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society. David got underway with a lively tune "Girls in Grey", followed by a waltz "Dreaming" and the popular "Perfidia". An Ivor Novello selection followed,  then a selection of Doris Day songs including the "Deadwood Stage". A Gilbert & Sullivan arrangement came next, and just about including something from every operetta. The first half closed with a most tuneful selection from the famous classical operas. Following interval refreshments David reappeared in Santa suit to play the second half beginning with some favourite Christmas carols. Indeed the rest of the concert took this theme with the "Skater's Waltz","Troika" and "Sleigh Ride". Selection's from "Snow White" and the "Sound of Music" followed, which  always bring Christmas joy. Also at this time the ballet "Coppelia"is popular. Following a rousing finish the Society secretary told the members and audience of the dissolution of the Society following our last concert in March 2019. We all joined in with "Auld lang Syne"  accompanied by David on the Organ. A wonderful concert but tinged with some sadness. Thank you David Ivory.

From the archives...a few organists who have played the Ryhope Compton Organ (in its present home or the Odeon cinema)...

Andrew Nix & Tony Stace in 2014 (NW)

Peter Jebson in 2017 (NW)

 The notorious Jess Yates at the Compton (then located in the Odeon) NW
Chris Powell in 2016 (NW)

The famous  Reg Dixon  of  Blackpool Tower Ballroom fame at the console in 1975 (NW)

posted by Neville
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Concert Venue
Ryhope Community Centre,
Black Road,
Sunderland. SR2 0RX

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society.
Looking after the ex Sunderland Odeon Compton 3/9 organ.

Next concert details...

The Christmas Concert...

David Ivory on Sunday 9th December 2018 at 2.30pm

David Ivory plays for us 9th December.

David makes a most welcome return visit to Ryhope to play for us. He is well known for his recitals at churches and for performances of music in a lighter style on the theatre organ. He is also a most sympathetic accompanist to silent films for over 40 years. Early training on the piano was followed with study of the classical organ repertoire with eminent teacher John Fear of All Souls church, Langham Place. During the 1960's he played various cinema organs, toured with a Hammond and played for the Granada and Rank organisations. In 1982 he became resident at the Mechanical Music Museum in Cotton, Suffolk where he plays their 2/11 WurliTzer organ. David is well known on the UK organ circuit and we are assured of a lively and entertaining programme to suit all musical tastes.

Ryhope Community Centre (use side red door)
Black Road
Sunderland SR2 0RX

Forthcoming concerts...

Sunday 20th January 2019... Elizabeth Harrison.

Elizabeth on a previous visit to Ryhope (NW)
Sunday 24th February 2019... Cameron Lloyd.

Ryhope favourite the always smiling Cameron Lloyd.

Sunday 24th March 2019... Howard Beaumont.

Ever popular Howard at the console (NW)

Review of previous concert...

Andrew looking relaxed at the console (NW)

On Sunday the 21st October we had the pleasure of being entertained by Andrew Nix at the console. Andrew is a popular organist at Ryhope and we enjoyed a really splendid afternoon of music interwoven with his stories and delightful sense of humour. He opened the concert with a fine selection of marches including "March of the cobblers", "National Emblem", and "Radetsky. Some romantic numbers followed which included the late Charles Aznavour's "She". A Sigmund Romberg selection  entertained us, including "Once in a while" followed by a few sing-a-long numbers. Tunes from "Les miserables" were enjoyed followed by a few toe-tappers including "Midnight in Moscow". After refreshment, raffle and Andrew chatting with our guests, he resumed with some delightful tunes from the pen of Cole Porter, then the evocative "Highland cathedral" and a medley from the Musicals including the "Wizard of Oz".  He played some popular George Formby songs, and a Disney selection includings tunes from Mary Poppins. His final choice was based on Latin rhythms bringing the curtain down on a fantastic afternoon's entertainment from Andrew.

From the archives...

Echo advert for the film's showing at Black's Regal including scenes from the Royal Wedding ..Princess Marina to HRH the Duke of Kent which took place on 29 November 1934 two years after the cinema opened. Also interesting reference to Schnozzle (Jimmy) Durante and the popular film "Lilies of the field".

Andrew Nix at Ryhope 10 years ago (IP)

Keith Beckingham at the console, chats with the chairman 17-05-2015

Ryhope favourite Elizabeth Harrison in 2007, returning once again in January 2019. (IP) 
Bob Ince undertaking the Compton refurbishment in Dec. 2010 (IP) 

Remembering Chiho Sunamoto who passed away recently aged 59. A most popular organist on the circuit, with a keen following in the electronic organ world. Chiho enjoyed playing the Ryhope Compton Organ and attending our concerts. She is fondly remembered, and very sadly missed.

The late Chiho Sunamoto at the Ryhope Compton Organ in 2015 (NW)

Posted by Neville
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Home of the Compton Organ
Ryhope Community Centre
Black Road

Monday, 20 August 2018

Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society.
Looking after the ex Odeon Sunderland John Compton (3/9) Organ.

Next Concert Details...

Sunday 21st October 2018... Andrew Nix

An afternoon of lively entertainment with Andrew Nix.
Andrew was born near Selby (North Yorks) on 22nd August 1968 and has well established himself on the organ circuit as a musician and entertainer. From the age of 10 years he had an interest in (electronic) organs and lessons were arranged. On leaving school he was engaged by a local club where accompanied artistes and played for dancing. He became MD for Butlins (Barry Island) and also Haven Holidays. He tours countrywide with a fine Roland Atelier AT900c instrument. but is also equally at home on the theatre pipe organ. We are assured of a fantastic afternoon's music to suit all tastes.

Future concert details...
Sunday 9th December 2018... David Ivory

Well known on the UK concert circuit...David Ivory.

Sunday 20th January 2019... Elizabeth Harrison

The ever popular Elizabeth Harrison (NW)

Venue.. Ryhope Community Centre, Black Road, Ryhope Sunderland SR2 0RX
Use side red door to gain access.

Recent concert reviews...

Stephen Austin Sunday 19th August 2018.

Ryhope favourite Stephen Austin (NW)
Stephen was born in Taplow (Bucks) in 1952. During the next 21 years, living in the home counties he developed an interest in the piano and the classical organ. On leaving school he became a salesman and demonstrator for Hammond Organ UK. Following on and with the  support and recommendation of Ena Baga he became demonstrator for the prestigious Cavendish Organ Centre in London's West End. In 1974 he moved to Blackpool where he set up an organ & camera shop with friend John Nunns. They also started the very popular Blackpool keyboard club. Stephen travelled from his home in Poulton-le-Fylde to play for us and presented an interesting and varied programme. Following his signature tune he played the "Barnard Castle" march and then two versions of "Spanish eyes". We had a selection of Tower Ballroom favourites and some popular Gershwin melodies including "How long has this been going on ?" Stephen remembered Aretha Franklin who recently passed away, and then to conclude the first half a compilation of "Dutch" tunes including "Tulips from Amsterdam" and "Jonny Heykens" serenade. After tea and biscuits and the raffle, Stephen continued with an Autumn themed selection including "September in the Rain" and "Autumn leaves". Following on with some 1960's songs made famous by Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw and Dusty Springfield. The final selection featured tunes from the early 20th century including some more Gershwin. A splendid afternoon of entertaining music warmly received by an enthusiastic Ryhope Audience.

A pleasure to listen to Adrian Rose (NW)
Sunday 17th June 2018 we welcomed Adrian Rose who had travelled from Southport to play for us today. Adrian and his wife had brought the caravan to a park near Durham so it was in fact just a short journey here. He opened with his theme tune "Everything's coming up Roses" followed by "Down the mall" and "Toy town trumpeters". We enjoyed "Let there be piece on earth", "By a sleepy lagoon" and a few novelty pieces including Trevor Duncan's "High heels". After that a medley of tunes with colours in the titles, "Blue moon" and "Deep purple" amongst many more. After refreshments Adrian continued with "March of the Cobblers" and a few pleasant waltz tunes. Rutter's "The Lord bless you and keep you" and the lively "Peanut polka" followed. A selection featuring girls names came next..."Eleanor Rigby", "Sally" and "June is busting out all over" plus a few more. There were selections from the Jerome Kern songbook and popular tunes from Leroy Anderson. He finished with a roof lifting "Dam busters march". A really superb afternoon's music to suit all tastes I'm sure.

Members Sunday afternoons...

Member Paul having a "go" (NW)

Come along and listen to, or play the Compton Organ. Second and fourth Sundays of the month (1.30-3.30pm). Except Bank Holidays or Sunderland Air Show weekend.

From the Archives...

The ex Odeon auditorium after conversion to a Bingo Hall. (NW)
Poster for the John Mann concert in year 2000. (NW)

The former Odeon now as "Mecca Bingo" set in rather dilapidated surroundings (NW)
Doreen Chadwick at the Sunderland Compton Organ.
Reg Dixon at the Compton when located in the Odeon (1977)

Posted by Neville
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society
Caring for the John Compton (3/9) organ. Ex Black's Regal / Odeon cinema and now housed in Ryhope Community Centre Sunderland SR2 0RX. 

If you live in the North East of England please try and attend our concerts to ensure the survival of this magnificent instrument.

Next concert...

Sunday 17th June 2018 at 2.30pm... Adrian Rose.

We welcome Adrian to the console and expect a wide range of music encompassing all genres. He was interested in music from an early age and in particular the piano and organ. He also plays in a number of bands, as he has done for the past forty years. Living in Southport he is chairman of the Southport Organ Club. He has a special fondness for the Hammond and Yamaha instruments which he often takes with him to concerts. He is well known on the countrywide organ circuit and in his own words has "played in many upmarket venues including the Brittany Ferries". We are assured of an excellent concert to suit all musical tastes...not to be missed.

Adrian Rose (L) with Paul Roberts (NW)

Reviews of our recent concerts...

Sunday 15th April...Howard Beaumont 

Howard at console 15-04-2018 (NW)

Howard Beaumont played for our April concert and we were pleased to see him once again at the console. He has now completed 30 seasons at the famous Scarborough Spa complex where he plays for coffee dances and afternoon concerts in the sun court. Howard was a founder member of this Society and helped in no small part to purchase the John Compton (3/9) organ and secure its future when the Sunderland Odeon cinema went over to Top Rank "Bingo" in 1982 requiring the organ to be removed. Howard was born in Halifax and took a keen interest in the piano from age 7 years. A natural progression to the organ followed, and he took particular interest in the theatre pipe organ after hearing the mighty WurliTzer housed in the Radio City Music Hall,  New York city. Howard has been a demonstrator of electronic organs for various companies and has also entertained on luxury cruise liners. He is a popular organist on the nationwide concert circuit and has played the WuliTzer in the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool. He opened with his signature tune "Best of Times" and followed with a selection of music associated with Fred Astaire including "Flying down to Rio". He spoke about life in Scarborough and how he is looking forward to his 31st season at the Spa complex. Next piece was Vittorio Monti's "Czardas" followed by "Impossible Dream"(The man from La Mancha), and the novelty piece "Grasshoppers Dance". Howard recreated some splendid Hammond organ sounds on the Compton and concluded the first half with a selection from "Phantom of the Opera". Part two and we heard the RAF march past, and Howard turned to his Casio keyboard for another genre. He amused us with the piano style of Les Dawson and then played "Bridge over troubled water" and "Caribbean clipper". We then enjoyed "Mood indigo",  the theme from "Ladies in Lavender", a classical selection from Smetana,  and finally a good mix of tunes from the 1950's and 60's. It had been a memorable concert with music to please everyone I'm sure.

Sunday 18th February... Cameron Lloyd

Always smiling ...Cameron at the Ryhope Compton. (NW)

Another splendid concert with Cameron. (NW)

We gave a warm welcome to Cameron Lloyd who made a return visit to play the Ryhope Compton on Sunday 18th February. Cameron was born in 1980 and was interested in music and the organ from an early age. He was captivated by the sound of the WurliTzer in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom at the age of 12 years, and in 1999 he got the oportunity to play it. Guided by the fondly remembered Steve Tovey (Wolverhampton City Organist) he developed his unique style and became a popular organist on the UK concert circuit. Starting the concert with his signature tune "Beyond the blue horizon" a rousing rendition of "Blaze away" followed. We were invited to dance with a selection of slow foxtrots including "Once in a while" and tunes from the screen & shows followed. Cameron is a great aficionado for the playing of the late Reg Dixon and he played a musical tribute in the "Blackpool" style including "Somebody stole my girl" and of course "Tiger rag". In the second half, we enjoyed a medley of Rumbas including "Quando, quando" more tunes from popular musicals, and some more in "ragtime" including "12th street rag". Cameron gave us a few encores as you would expect and all agreed it had been a memorable and lively concert.

Organist programme for the remainder of 2018...

(All concerts start at 2.30pm)

Sunday 19th August...Stephen Austin.

Stephen at the Ryhope Compton console. (NW)

Sunday 21st October...Andrew Nix.

Andrew Nix entertains at the Compton. (NW)

Sunday 9th December...David Ivory.

David tells a few...

David Ivory for our Christmas Concert.

From the archives...

Odeon Saturday morning club fancy dress competition in 1957 (Veronica Miles)

Organ removal on its trolley at the Odeon 1982 (DW)

Fitting the pipework on reinstallation at Ryhope.

Pipe work cleaning, repair and refurbishment in 2010 with Ian Parsons and Joe Marsh.

posted by Neville
members afternoons second & forth Sundays 1.30-3.30pm
Come and listen to, or play the Compton Organ. Use email address to confirm these arrangements.

Thursday, 14 December 2017


         Season's Greetings to all our readers.

Next Concert...

Sunday 18th February 2018 Cameron Lloyd.

Cameron is a firm Ryhope favourite and makes a welcome return to play for us in a concert not to be missed. He was born in 1980 and became interested in music and the organ from an early age. Following a family visit to Blackpool Tower at age 12, he was captivated by the mighty WurliTzer and became hooked on that fantastic sound. He much admires the playing of Reg Dixon who was the famous organist there for 40 years. Guided by Wolverhampton City Organist the late and much missed Steve Tovey, he began to develop his own distinctive style and sound. In 1999 he fulfilled his ambition to play that famous organ in Blackpool Tower and has returned several times to play there since. With his technical skills, he is part of the team that has returned a WurliTzer organ to the Empress Ballroom in the Blackpool Winter Gardens.
Cameron plays for concerts, ballroom and sequence dances all over the British Isles and we welcome him warmly back to the Ryhope Compton Organ.

Cameron at Ryhope in 2016
The ever smiling Cameron...
Cameron at the Astoria Barnsley (KG)
Cameron at the  Blackpool Opera House WurliTzer (DC)
Venue Ryhope Community Centre
Ryhope, Sunderland SR2 0RX
The concert starts 2.30pm enter by the red side door on Black Road. (doors 2pm) Complementary interval refreshment included.

Review of our Christmas Concert...

On Sunday 10th December we welcomed back to the console the popular Elizabeth Harrison for our Christmas concert and our last event for 2017. She had been playing at Maryport the previous evening, stayed over in Carlisle, and came to us from there. She opened with a lively seasonal selection including a few carols and then had a chat with her audience. She spoke of life on the farm at both Chipping near Clitheroe, and also a dairy farm near Barrow. She now has 8 "Marshall" heritage tractors and with family and friends takes them to agricultural shows. There followed another mix of music including "Tavern in the Town", Hello Dolly selection,  "Ain't she sweet" and "Cockneycapers". Elizabeth spoke of her ever increasing "Homepride" flour grader collection with all the little figures arranged in cabinets. Another selection followed including among many "Aces high","This is my lovely day", Here comes that rainy day again,  and a selection of Spanish tunes. Following the interval we enjoyed the "Teddy Bear's picnic", Stein Song, "Unforgettable", Housewife's choice theme and another seasonal medley. She spoke of her Christmas preparations and then played some 1960's tunes," also "Jealousy" and a few Latin numbers. The interesting theme to the ITV News from a few years ago followed, and to finish more carols and Christmas music including an encore. A super concert, warmly received by a well attended and enthusiastic Ryhope audience.

Elizabeth Harrison at the console for our Christmas concert. (NW)

Elizabeth dressed in a lovely sparkly top (NW)

A fair size audience gathers for the Elizabeth Harrison concert in Ryhope Community Centre. (NW)

The concert programme for 2018...

Sunday 15th April....Howard Beaumont.

Howard Beaumont on a previous visit to Ryhope (NW)

Howard at the Scarborough Spa Pavillion electronic.

Howard is a Ryhope favourite.

Howard at the Spa with the famous Castle backdrop.

Sunday 17th June....Adrian Rose.

Adrian Rose (L) alongside Paul Roberts (R)  (NW)

Adrian (L) on a visit to the Ryhope Compton (NW)

Sunday 19th August....Stephen Austin.

Stephen at Ryhope on the 19th August... (NW)

Stephen at the Ryhope console.. (NW)

Sunday 21st October....Andrew Nix.

Andrew Nix
Andrew Nix (L) with Tony Stace at the Ryhope Compton  2014 (NW)

Sunday 9th December....David Ivory.

David Ivory (R) with former Society chairman Ian Parsons.
David at a church organ. (DI)

David tells a few...

David entertains (COS)
Member's afternoons...

Come and listen to or play the Mighty Compton theatre organ on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month (1.30-3.30pm) except Bank Holiday Sundays and Sunderland Air Show weekend. Use the Black Road "red door" entrance.

Peter plays a few tunes during a recent member's afternoon. (NW)

A few memories from the Society archives...

An advert in the Sunderland Echo for the film showing at the Black's Regal. (SAS)

Nicholas Martin playing for us at Ryhope in 2007. (IP)
A Sunderland Echo picture of the Compton in 1977. (SAS)

Splendid view of the console in the Odeon taken by the Sunderland Echo. (SAS)

The Mighty Compton escapes from the Odeon Cinema by a side entrance in 1982 when the cinema went over to Bingo.

Black's Regal penny cinema token.

posted by Neville
email for Society membership details and concert information ...
concert programme available on "facebook" and