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Blacpool Tower Organ And Other Blackpool Organs


Peter Clark
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We are going to Blackpool this year (cheap holiday at sister's) and as usual I try to get to play some organs. The one I really wanted to play, in the Sacred Heart, was being renovated while I was there last so I never got to play it though I did play one in St John Vianney church wich was an average parish intrument needing work (!)

 

Now my two questions:

 

1) What are the must see/play organs in the area? I read of a Copeman Hart which can be played either as a traditional instrument (er... without the pipes! B) ) or at the flick of a switch can become a theatre organ. Anyway, if anybody has any recommendations please let me know.

 

2) The Blackpool Tower Organ - has anybody played this? I suppose it is something I'd like to say I had done, but according to the website they want £200 for an hour with £50 more for a recording option (which I can't really afford anyway!). Is this worth the money - would I have enough time to get to know the instrument well enough to make a worthwhile recording (which I assume would only last about 10 minutes)?

 

(editing: just loked up the website:

 

http://www.theblackpooltower.co.uk/ballroo...nexperience.htm )

 

Thanks, looking forward to your thoughts.

 

Man U or Chelsea? :D

 

Peter

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We are going to Blackpool this year (cheap holiday at sister's) and as usual I try to get to play some organs. The one I really wanted to play, in the Sacred Heart, was being renovated while I was there last so I never got to play it though I did play one in St John Vianney church wich was an average parish intrument needing work (!)

 

Now my two questions:

 

1) What are the must see/play organs in the area? I read of a Copeman Hart which can be played either as a traditional instrument (er... without the pipes! B) ) or at the flick of a switch can become a theatre organ. Anyway, if anybody has any recommendations please let me know.

 

2) The Blackpool Tower Organ - has anybody played this? I suppose it is something I'd like to say I had done, but according to the website they want £200 for an hour with £50 more for a recording option (which I can't really afford anyway!). Is this worth the money - would I have enough time to get to know the instrument well enough to make a worthwhile recording (which I assume would only last about 10 minutes)?

 

Thanks, looking forward to your thoughts.

 

Man U or Chelsea? :D

 

Peter

 

 

====================================

 

 

I've never played the organ at the Tower Ballroom, so you are not alone. In my case, I don't feel particularly deprived, because I've played far better; especially in America.

 

Anyone who gets on that organ, is immediately faced with the problem of playing on a stage console, with the pipes up near the ceiling.

 

To be absolutely honest, I don't think Blackpool has many decent instruments, which is a bit frustrating when the likes of Blackburn Cathedral are just a few miles away.

 

If I were you, I'd just paddle in the sea and go and to see the fat-lady and the spider-woman. If you are brave, you could try a ride on the Pepsi-Max, and if you do, and spot a leather wallet with £100 in it, please return it to me.

 

Chelsea or Man United? Erm.....Lewis Hamilton!

 

 

MM

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====================================

 

Chelsea or Man United? Erm.....Lewis Hamilton!

MM

 

Is Lewis Hamilton not the name of the head of the (civic) guards in Paul Johnson's series of books about Quint Dalrymple in a futuristic, post apocalypse Edinburgh ??

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2) The Blackpool Tower Organ - has anybody played this? I suppose it is something I'd like to say I had done, but according to the website they want £200 for an hour with £50 more for a recording option (which I can't really afford anyway!). Is this worth the money - would I have enough time to get to know the instrument well enough to make a worthwhile recording (which I assume would only last about 10 minutes)?

 

I did play it once about 25 years ago. It's quite an easy instrument to play, despite the chambers being above your head. There's nothing between your ears and the swell shutters except fresh air (provided the console is above stage that is!) and the acoustic makes the thing roll around so that the sound isn't terribly directional at the console. Be warned - when the ballroom's empty you really need to hear it with the amplification off, although that does mean you won't be able to hear the MIDI piano... a possible benefit :lol:

 

However, I was lucky enough to be taken in by one of the resident organists and, as this was a long time before the 'Organ Experience' idea, it didn't cost me a bean. If you have a burning desire to play a Wurlitzer there are a number of others about - some not quite so far away from you - which you could play for a great deal less.

 

There is another Wurlitzer in the Opera House at the Winter Gardens which was arguably originally a better instrument, although the acoustic there is pretty dead. Some ranks have been exchanged with the Tower over the years, but it's still worth a listen. I don't know what access would be like during the summer season because of stage shows, but I do have a contact. I will drop you a PM.

 

 

Steve

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Is Lewis Hamilton not the name of the head of the (civic) guards in Paul Johnson's series of books about Quint Dalrymple in a futuristic, post apocalypse Edinburgh ??

 

 

======================================

 

 

Quite probably, but unfortunately I haven't read the Dalrymple stories, which seem to be all about Scotland, social unrest and post-apocalyptic authoritarian control.

 

Who is the publisher? Hansard?

 

:lol:

 

MM

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I If you have a burning desire to play a Wurlitzer there are a number of others about - some not quite so far away from you - which you could play for a great deal less.

 

.

Steve

 

Are you referring to the Barry Memorial Halls, Steve?

 

Peter

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Sadly not, as that one's inaccessible these days and hasn't been played for some years. Then again, that one's a Christie rather than a Wurlitzer!

 

S

 

 

The Opera House, Blackpool Wurlitzer is a beauty. The last instrument to be installed in the UK by the Company, it has one of the few Tibia Plena ranks in this country. Robert Wolfe recorded an album in the early 80s and this does the instrument justice. A completely different beast from the Tower instrument , the console if often inaccessible due to the band arrangements for summer shows.

 

One Wurlitzer that now lives and breathes again is located at the Granda Tooting. Len Rawle raised 40k to access the console and install a lift. He spent the winter refurbishing the pipe work. It was 'opened' on April 29 and Richard Hills-who has a FRCO-will be giving a concert on June 24 at Noon.

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The Opera House, Blackpool Wurlitzer is a beauty. The last instrument to be installed in the UK by the Company, it has one of the few Tibia Plena ranks in this country. Robert Wolfe recorded an album in the early 80s and this does the instrument justice. A completely different beast from the Tower instrument , the console if often inaccessible due to the band arrangements for summer shows.

 

One Wurlitzer that now lives and breathes again is located at the Granda Tooting. Len Rawle raised 40k to access the console and install a lift. He spent the winter refurbishing the pipe work. It was 'opened' on April 29 and Richard Hills-who has a FRCO-will be giving a concert on June 24 at Noon.

 

 

===========================

 

 

Highly recommended!

 

Richard Hills is possibly the only British theatre-organist who can match the best Americans, and unlike most, he can get his fingers around the music of Billy Mayerl.....no mean feat!

 

A super organ too, on which the late Bryan Rodwell did some wonderful recordings in his inimitable jazz-style, which many try to emulate without success.

 

MM

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