Our final event of 2022 was indeed a spectacular one, when an audience of 145 converged upon the Grade II Odeon in Weston-super-Mare to hear Keith Beckingham and John Mann play the original 1935 Compton organ on November 20th 2022.
There had been superb media coverage on BBC local news website, interviews on Radio Bristol and newspaper coverage arranged by the indefatigable Peter Young, to whom we send thanks.
Both Keith and John had been looking forward to this event as they had been booked to play at the Odeon just as lockdown began, so it was a great pleasure to ask them both if they were willing to try again at our first post-Covid visit to Weston-super-Mare.
To say that they both jumped at the chance would be an understatement and both had begun rehearsing at home almost before we had agreed the date.
As well as our loyal local supporters, there were organ fans from as far away as Sheffield and one special visitor, in the shape of Alan Ashton, who had braved the journey by train from St Austell, which had included bus replacement, as if he hadn’t suffered enough.
The Compton was in good voice, thanks to Ben Snowdon and his dedicated team, and although it hadn’t been used since our last visit, just a bit of tuning was required, everything else worked, a tribute indeed to the art of British organ building.
We hope to return to the Odeon this coming year and also hope for an equally large and enthusiastic audience.
Our celebration of this event was tinged with sadness as just a week later we learned of the death of Paul Kirner, whose loss will be felt by many in the organ world and the world of entertainment in general, and we send our condolences to his family and his countless friends and admirers, and we are thankful that his work will carry on through his devoted team at the Music Palace.