Monday, 7 September 2009

Wurlitzer Organ

I've always been a bit of a fan of tinkly piano music and concert organs. (The first LP I ever bought was a pianist called Charlie Kunz. I know that dates me!) So on Sunday I spent a delightful afternoon in Saltaire's Victoria Hall at a concert, sponsored by the Cinema Organ Society (North), listening to John Mann playing a wonderfully varied selection of music on the recently installed Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.

The organ is a Wurlitzer Opus 2208, originally installed in the Gaumont Theatre Oldham in 1937. (It has some additional pipe sets from elsewhere). Organs such as these were common in theatres and cinemas, often rising up from beneath the stage - as indeed the Victoria Hall organ thrillingly does! They used to accompany silent movies in the 1920s before becoming solo instruments in their own right.

After the concert I had the privilege of looking below stage at the 'works' - the pipes and bellows and the enormous organ lift mechanism, not to mention a load of electronics. Very fascinating and very complicated!

There are regular concerts scheduled (the next on Friday 18 Sept at 7.30, as part of Saltaire Festival) - and dances too, for the more nimble folks. If you want a dose of wholesome enjoyment and nostalgia, I do recommend it. There's nothing more uplifting to the spirits than people following their passion and communicating it to others. Thanks to all at COS North!


  1. I can remember when I was about 12 years old going to a cinema in Bridlington where the organ came out of the ground with the organist playing it before the film started, then at the intermission,when you had the lady with the tray come to the front selling tubs of ice cream.

  2. I don't remember cinema organs but I do remember the famous one in the Blackpool Tower. Do ladies still sell ice-cream in the cinema? (Haven't been for years!)


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