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Charles Wooler

Phantom of the Opera

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Newcastle and District Society or Organists is promoting an event on 28th October at 7.30pm in St Oswald's, Durham- a silent film accompanied with an improvised organ soundtrack.

The 1988 organ in St Oswald's will celebrate its 30th birthday this academic year and the church is launching an appeal to restore this magnificent instrument with a spectacular event this Autumn.

At 7.30pm on Saturday 28th October, we will show a large screen showing of the classic American silent horror movie "The Phantom of the Opera", itself based on Gaston Leroux's epic 1910 Novel.

In keeping with the silent film tradition, it will be accompanied by an improvised soundtrack provided by the celebrated organist Jonathan Eyre. Widely recognised as a leading liturgical organist and improviser, Jonathan is regularly sought after to perform theatre organ and silent film concerts throughout the UK and his whose film accompaniments have thrilled audiences the length and breadth of the country.

Tickets can be reserved by emailing office@oswalds.org.uk They cost £10 and include a complimentary French buffet and wine

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Restore????, it does not seem 5 mins, since I helped unload said organ, with Peter Collins,and had many a drink with my dad and the late organist, David Higgins, after dads organ lesson, (and my recordings on reel to reel of the organ) :D

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I'm doing a "Phantom" accompaniment, too - on October 30th at St. Paul's United Church, Fredericton, New Brunswick.  This is a first for me, so it will be an interesting experience.

I remember playing the old organ at St. Oswald's, Durham. Alarmingly, this must have been over 40 years ago!

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31 minutes ago, David Drinkell said:

I remember playing the old organ at St. Oswald's, Durham. Alarmingly, this must have been over 40 years ago!

Not necessarily the case- the old organ was destroyed by an arsonist on, wait for it, Ash Wednesday 1984. A canister of camping gas was left to explode on the pedalboard which unsurprisingly provided an excellent source of kindling.. 

I was 4 at the time, and never set foot in the church until an undergraduate BUT what has always struck me was how patchy the fire's impact was. The pillar holding up the chancel arch (right by the organ chamber) had to be rebuilt as it had gone down almost to its rubble core and was no longer safe. However the Bechstein Piano and much woodwork in the chancel are still there today. Some of the carving on the stalls nearest where the organ stood clearly show scorch marks, but the patterning of the original carving is still very much identifiable. 

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On 27/09/2017 at 11:55, Peter Allison said:

Restore????, it does not seem 5 mins, since I helped unload said organ, with Peter Collins,and had many a drink with my dad and the late organist, David Higgins, after dads organ lesson, (and my recordings on reel to reel of the organ) :D

It's not sensible to say too much in a public forum such as this, other than to say that there have been problems with winding and the action for many years now and the time has come to sort them out once and for all, without any change in the organ's tonal character. It will however return this wonderful organ to its rightful place as one of the North East's most exciting mechanical actioned organs. It is far more versatile than people credit it too. 

I have PMd you about the reel to reels!

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14 minutes ago, Charles Wooler said:

It's not sensible to say too much in a public forum such as this, other than to say that there have been problems with winding and the action for many years now and the time has come to sort them out once and for all, without any change in the organ's tonal character. It will however return this wonderful organ to its rightful place as one of the North East's most exciting mechanical actioned organs. It is far more versatile than people credit it too. 

I have PMd you about the reel to reels!

I fully understand Charles, have replied.

one of the stories  I was told, years ago, was that of an american couple who said the west end organ wood support looked very very old, only to be told it was just 5 years old :-)

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