EVENTS

Next LIVE EVENT -Sunday  31st January 2021 at 15:00 - An Audience with Len Rawle 

Join Len Rawle, MBE at the console of our Mighty Wurlitzer, for an afternoon of music and conversation in a concert that will lift your spirits and launch us into the new year. 

Born in Tonypandy, South Wales, 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 home. 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 and was made a ‘Member of The British Empire’ in 2012.  

All concerts listed here will be available to view on our YouTube channel, MusicalMuseumLive

Our next concerts...

February 14th at 15:00 - Cameron Lloyd

 

Cameron started playing at the age of 11 when his parents bought him an electronic organ. He decided to teach himself to play, and after a visit to the Tower Ballroom Blackpool at the age of 12, he became hooked on the theatre organ. He was encouraged by the Wolverhampton City Organist, Steve Tovey and allowed to practise at the Civic Hall.  During 2001 and 2002, he played the Compton regularly at The Kinema in the Woods, Lincolnshire, occasionally accompanying silent films. He also attended two COS workshops with David Lowe during which he gained valuable insight into technique. He is currently the resident organist playing the ‘Cannock Wurlitzer’ and the Grange in Hednesford on a 3/7 Compton.

Cameron plays at the Civic Hall Wolverhampton as Assistant Organist for dancing, as well as other occasions such as the Ken Dodd show (three years) and with Todd Miller and the Joe Loss Orchestra (four years). 

The majority of his time is spent traveling around the country playing for Ballroom and Sequence dancing using his trusty Yamaha EL 70. Cameron says that there is plenty of work for dance organists, and he now plays full time. For three years he has played for the British Association of Teachers of Dancing at their annual conference.

March 14th at 15:00 - Chris and Joanne Powell

 

Joanne Powell was ten years of age when she started to play the organ. Mum and Dad were organ fans and bought an old Galanti for the vast sum of £175. That was where it all began. Mum played the chapel organ and Dad was in a brass band; lessons by a church organist on a piano were the order of the day - until an organ shop was opened in her home town of Gainsborough. She then transferred to lessons at the shop, given by an ex-theatre organist. Soon after a new organ was acquired and after a couple of years, she joined a dance band, playing of course keyboards.

Chris Powell has firmly established himself as one of the UK’s premier ‘entertainment organists’ as well as a truly international ambassador in the field of electronic and theatre organ music. Born in Manchester in 1971, he emigrated to New Zealand with his parents when just 2 years old. Returning to England at the age of 5, his education and formative years while growing up in Lancashire saw him pursue his love of music with piano and organ studies culminating in a string of engagements for both local concerts and dances from the age of 14 onwards. By the time he was 18, he had successfully auditioned to join the team of organists playing for dancing at the Tower Ballroom Blackpool and began to be recognised for his musical talents leading to a succession of invitations to perform at electronic and pipe organ venues.

April 17th - Michael Carter

 

Michael is an organist from the West Midlands, near Solihull. He plays both electronic and theatre organ. During his concerts you will hear a diverse mix of theatre organ standards, orchestral arrangements, light classical items, film music and showtunes. Michael started learning to play the organ following a visit to Blackpool Tower, aged nine. Michael was mesmerised by the sound and remembers deciding there and then that he wanted to play that instrument. Within a few years of hard work and with tutorage from Midlands Cinema Organist, Foley Bates, he returned to the Tower and achieved his ambition to play the famous instrument. Throughout his teenage years he worked weekends and school holidays in local music shops and continued with his lessons in theatre style whilst developing his own approach on electronic organs. After a 20-year hiatus to focus on a career in IT, Michael has returned to the UK organ scene playing both electronic and theatre organ.

In his spare time, Michael helps with instrument maintenance at several theatre organ venues, and is now the editor for the COS Journal as well as being an active member on the Midlands committee. Not content with this, his garage now houses a 2-manual Wurlitzer console that he is spending many hours rebuilding as a Virtual Theatre Pipe Organ.

May 16th - Kevin Grunill

Kevin has rapidly built a reputation as one of the UK’s finest keyboard exponents, equally at home on modern electronic instruments as well as the pipe organ and piano. Kevin was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire in 1972; he showed an interest in all matters of a musical nature at an early age, and at age twelve he began to learn the electronic organ as his chosen instrument. At sixteen, Kevin began to take an interest in the sound of the mighty theatre organ, and it was a natural 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. Since graduating from University, Kevin has performed at many UK venues.

A highlight in Kevin’s career came in 1997 when he was chosen to be the new resident organist at the North Pier, Blackpool. In this prestigious position he has entertained thousands of holiday-makers in a town that has a long tradition in presenting the very best in organ music. His duties in Blackpool also saw him at the console of the famous Wurlitzer organ in the Tower Ballroom, in addition to his performances at the North Pier. 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. Kevin is also responsible for the Astoria Centre in Barnsley, which houses a range of theatre pipe and electronic organs.

Exhibitions & Special Tours

The Musical Museum's Mighty Wurlitzer

 Our Mighty Wurlitzer has just celebrated its 90th Birthday, and a specially commissioned set of exhibition panels explore the history of this very special instrument, from the conception of the theatre organ, its manufacture in the USA and working years at the The Regal Cinema in Kingston upon Thames, as well as the decades it has been part of the collection of The Musical Museum, the restoration process and the organists who have played it. The panels can be viewed as part of a standard visit to the Musical Museum.

 

Director's Tours

This year we will be running a series of “behind the scenes” tours led by one of our trustees, featuring an in-depth look at the workings of the Musical Museum not normally accessible to the public, including our roll-library and workshop. The tours will include a full demonstration of The Mighty Wurlitzer, with “virtual tours” of the complex and delicate pipe chambers and a Q&A session. The grand finale is a “mini-concert” with a specially selected series of musical numbers that showcase the sound of this remarkable instrument.

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