Sunday, 31 March 2019

Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society.
Caring for the ex Odeon John Compton (3/9) organ.

Celebrating over 40 years of the Society that has supported concerts featuring this splendid instrument.

The Society would express their thanks to our members and supporters who have attended our concerts for many years both in the Odeon Cinema and Ryhope Community Centre.

Review of the Society's final concert with Howard Beaumont on Sunday 24th March 2019.

Howard at the console for this final concert. (NW)

Howard was one of the founder members of the Society and played a major part in saving the organ from the Odeon Cinema when it converted to "bingo" in 1982. Howard was born in Halifax and took an interest in piano from an early age. Progression to pipe instruments soon followed with a particular interest in the theatre organ. He has completed 32 seasons at the Scarborough Spa Complex where he plays for afternoon concerts and dancing. Howard has been a demonstrator for various electronic organ companies and has provided musical entertainment on luxury cruise liners. It is fitting that Howard should play for the Society this last time, after having significant involvement with the instrument. Following an introduction by Keith Potts who spoke about the Organ's life story, and how the Society came about, Howard commenced with his signature tune the "Best of times". He continued with three tunes from the installation year of the organ 1932..."Lover", "Devil and the deep blue sea" and "Teddy bears picnic". He spoke of his involvement with the organ in the Odeon Cinema and in its rescue for preservation in 1982. A selection of Sea shanties came next, followed by some wonderful Viennese melodies. A novelty piece "Tijuana Taxi" featured the Klaxon effect, and there followed "I want to be like you" from the Jungle Book. In church organ style Howard played "Morning has broken" and afterwards a lovely selection from "Singing in the rain". To finish off the first half some tunes from Ireland that we could sing a long to. After refreshment Howard got going with some popular Fred Astaire stuff, then the "Florentine march" from the film "Brassed off" and the lively "Grasshoppers dance". He then played a selection of "Big band sounds" including "Satin doll" and the popular "in a Persian market" followed by a selection from "Phantom of the Opera" and "Les Miserables". As the concert drew to a close we enjoyed a Cockney sing a long including the "Lambeth walk" and as his finale tunes in the style of Mr Blackpool, Reg Dixon. Howard was thanked for a most memorable final concert and he played "We'll meet again" as an appropriate encore.

Connie helps Howard preparing the settings for the concert. (NW)
CD recording by Howard Beaumont of the Sunderland Compton Organ...

Howard had the organ professionally recorded with himself at the console in January 2019.  It is titled "Sunderland Revisited" and contains a marvellous selection of music to suit all tastes from marches and waltzes to songs from the shows and even a Cockney sing along. Price £11.50 inc. postage and packing with cheques payable to H. Beaumont. Postal address 80, Green Howards Drive, Scarborough YO12 6PE. Telephone 01273371007. The CD will also be available at Howard's concerts and the sales stand at NETOA Howden-le-Wear.

The cover of Howard's  Ryhope Compton CD

Review of our concert featuring Cameron Lloyd on Sunday 24th February...

Ryhope favourite Cameron at the console.

Cameron travelled from a very foggy Midlands to play for us in what turned out to be a most memorable penultimate concert presented by the Society. Following a few opening greetings Cameron got underway with some march tunes including "Down the Mall". He is well known as a dance accompanist and played a selection of foxtrots including "Once in a while" and "You'll never know". He then played a tribute to Reg Dixon with a selection of tunes made popular by him on his radio broadcasts. To end the first half we enjoyed some popular "sing-a-longs" including "My old man", and "When I grow too old to dream". A rousing second half started with "Blaze away" and "Magnificent men in their flying machines". There followed a blue theme with amongst others "Blue moon". Tunes from the stage and screen followed including some Al Johnson pieces and a selection from "Hello Dolly". To conclude Cameron performed "Fascination" then a lively "Tiger rag", "12th street rag", "Whispering", "Beyond the blue horizon" and the encore "We'll meet again". What a splendid concert it had been ...Cameron you really surpassed yourself...thank you from us all.

The audience gather for Cameron's concert (NW)

The final member's Sunday afternoon at Ryhope was held on the 31st March 2019 where Paul, Harry and David played the Mighty Compton Organ for one last time.

Members gather for a final afternoon with the organ.

The Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society was formed in 1975, and one of the first concerts promoted by the organisation featured Mr Blackpool himself...Reg Dixon of Tower Ballroom fame. Other leading organists of the day were invited to play the instrument in the Odeon cinema including Jess Yates, Foley Bates, Doreen Chadwick, Ron Curtis and Phil Kelsall. The Society bought the organ when the Odeon (now Top Rank organisation) went over to "bingo". After a period of storage a new home was found for the instrument in Ryhope Community Centre, and concerts followed its installment there from 1992. 

Dissolution of the Society will take place after the last member's afternoon at the end of March. Written notification to the membership has been made under the terms of the Society's constitution.

Archive memories featuring a few of the organists who have played for the Society over the years...

Adrian Rose (NW)

Kevin Grunill (NW)
Joe Marsh organist and Society president. (NW)

Carl Heslop (NW)

Doreen Chadwick & Peter Lish
David Redfern (NW)

Elizabeth Harrison, and the late and sadly missed Chiho Sunamoto (NW)

A Ryhope regular Keith Beckingham (NW)

Matthew Bason (DW)
Chris Stanbury with previous Society chairman Ian Parsons.

Stephen Austin played for us many times (NW)

David Warner received a warm welcome to the console (NW)

The Mighty Compton Organ....farewell from the Society.
In accordance with the Society's constitution and following a final audit of the financial affairs, the remaining  money in the bank account was divided as agreed at the committee meeting between the Ryhope Community Association, the Theatre Organ Club, and a charity bringing music to dementia sufferers. 
Neville July 2019
This will be the last "Compton Organ Blog" posted by Neville
the email address presently remains "open" ...
please see our "Facebook page"

Concert venue Ryhope Community Centre
Black Road

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society.
Caring for the ex Odeon John Compton Theatre Organ.

 Dissolution of the Society.

Members of the Society have received formal notification of the dissolution of the organisation following our final concert and member's afternoon, in accordance with the guidance of the Society's constitution. Our  concert audience has been told and details have appeared in the local press, and social media outlets. The sad but realistic decision has been made owing to  increasing running costs and hall hire charges, the difficulty in finding people to serve on the committee, and dwindling concert attendances. 

The Society presents the second of their last three concerts...

Cameron Lloyd on Sunday 24th February 2019 at 2.30pm 

Ever smiling Cameron Lloyd (NW)

Cameron is a Ryhope favourite and we welcome him back once more to play for us particularly as our concerts draw to a close. He was born in 1980 and at age 11 his parents bought him a WurliTzer electronic organ and he decided that he would teach himself to play. A visit to the famous Tower Ballroom at Blackpool at age 12 got him hooked on the theatre organ sound, listening to the mighty WurliTzer there. Encouraged by the Wolverhampton Civic Organist (the well respected Steve Tovey) Cameron was allowed to practise on the instrument in the Civic Hall. In 1999 he fulfilled a long held ambition by being invited to play the Tower Ballroom WurliTzer. Not only does he play the organ but undertakes tuning, repairs and installations. He was involved with the return of a WurliTzer organ to the Empress Ballroom in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Cameron plays for concerts and dancing countrywide, and has a full programme of engagements. We are assured of a splendid afternoons entertainment from this maestro of the theatre organ ...a concert not to be missed.

Ryhope Community Centre (use side red door)
Black Road

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

Howard was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire and from the age of 7 took an interest in the piano. Progression to the organ followed, and particularly the theatre pipe organ. He has completed 30 summer seasons at the Scarborough Spa complex playing for afternoon concerts and dancing. Howard has been a demonstrator for various electronic organ companies, and has also entertained on board luxury cruise liners. As a founder member of the Society he helped to secure the future of the  Odeon Compton Organ when the cinema went over to bingo in 1982 and the instrument had to be removed. He is a popular organist on the countrywide organ circuit and he will make the Society's last concert a most memorable occasion.

Review of Elizabeth Harrison's concert on Sunday 20th January 2019.

Elizabeth in sparkly jacket (NW)

It was with great joy we welcomed back to the console Elizabeth Harrison (in a lovely sparkly jacket) who travelled from her home (farm) near Preston in Lancashire to play for us today. The concert started with the rousing "Aces High" and a selection of waltzes including "Destiny waltz"  and"Forgotten Dreams". Elizabeth spoke of life on the farm and how they were preparing for the lambing season. We enjoyed hearing about her collection of tractors, which she takes to rally's  and agricultural shows. There followed a medley of  "fun tunes" including "Day trip to Bangor", Teddy bears picnic" and "All the nice girls love a sailor". We enjoyed a selection of popular 1960's tunes which brought us to the interval. The second half started with a Scottish theme including "Glasgow belongs to me"and "Loch Lomond". She spoke of recent holidays which all seem the have a farming or musical theme.  We enjoyed a good arrangement of show tunes including pieces from "Phantom" and "Cats". We heard how she has been increasing her collection of Fred the flour grader models and  associated memorabilia! A few Latin numbers followed including "Quando quando". To draw the concert to a close Elizabeth played some great sing-a-long tunes. What a splendid afternoon of musical treats it had been, played by this most talented organist.

Remaining dates for members Sunday afternoon get togethers...
Sunday 10th February and Sunday 10th March & 31st March (1.30-3.30pm)

Looking back at Organists who have played the ex Odeon instrument through our archive records. 

Carlo Curly

Bob Chilton

Damon Willetts

Reg Dixon (Odeon 1977)

David Lobban
Andrew Nix

posted by Neville
see Facebook page and concert details on "organfax"

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 countrywide 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 few 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.

This super photo of some of the committee and audience members with David in his Santa suit at the Compton. 

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
in addition please see our Facebook page.

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
See our "Facebook" page.
Home of the Compton Organ
Ryhope Community Centre
Black Road