The Theatre Organ Club

Other News

 
 
 
Simon Preston and Harold Britton:
We were sorry to hear of the death of organist Simon Preston on May 13th and this rather overshadowed the passing of Harold Britton at around the same time. Harold was born at Bristol in 1923 and was best known as Walsall Borough Organist for over 40 years. Harold was with Granada Theatres in 1946 and was known for his versatile approach to playing all types of music on all types of organs. He played on occasion for the TOC, the last time being in 1983 at Archbishop Tennyson School in Kennington, a concert he shared with David Shepherd.
 
News From Byron Jones and Eden Grove
The church authorities have announced plans to close the Methodist Church and adjoining church hall at Eden Grove, Horfield, Bristol in July 2022.
Unfortunately this means that the Wizard Compton organ is looking for a new home and, regretfully, Byron Jones - The Welsh Wizard - has decided that the time has come for someone else to become the custodian of this fine instrument. The organ is now being offered for sale and Byron’s wish would be to find somebody who wants to take it on as a complete instrument and offer it a new and long-term home.
Sincere thanks are given to all the friends, audience members and artists who have supported this venue since the opening in 2003.
Two regular concerts are still booked up until April this year:
Byron Jones: Saturday March 19th, 2:00pm (doors). £10.00 admission
Simon Gledhill: Saturday April 23rd, 2:00pm (doors). £10.00 admission
The final concert featuring Byron Jones and Gordon Haley will be on Saturday 21st May 2022, doors open at 7:00pm and tickets are £10.00. This will be almost 19 years to-the-day since the grand opening and will be an emotional evening for all those involved - both past and present.
Any interested parties can contact Byron on: 07788 442071 or email byronwizard@hotmail.co.uk 
 
Bill Potts
Many members will remember Bill through his CD stall which he presided over, mainly in the south. Bill's sister, Joanna, sent the following tribute:
Sadly, Bill died in hospital on Wednesday 17th November.  He had battled with cancer for a few years and I for one have been amazed at his bravery and his ability to live life to the full, following his interests and looking with great optimism to the future.  He loved theatre organ music and I know got a tremendous amount of pleasure through the Club. Only recently he showed me is extensive collection of CDs and vinyl telling me about the different organs and the organists. He had so much knowledge on this subject matter clearly showing his passion for it.
Over the years I assume he will have got to know other members. As I haven’t got those details I am wondering if it would be possible to let the members know, especially those who you feel relevant. Any representation from the club would be very welcome to both the funeral and to the wake so I have put the details below.
The funeral for Bill will be held on Tuesday 14th December at 1.00pm at Easthampstead Park Crematorium, South Road, Bracknell, Wokingham, RG40 3DW and afterwards at the Garden Room, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Ringmead, Bracknell, RG12 7PA (just a few minutes away).
No flowers please but if wanted in lieu of these, donations to Cancer Research UK in his memory can be made using the JustGiving link below.
 
 
 

Kevin Morgan informs us that, due to change of circumstance, he is now available all year round for concert and recital bookings, please write to:

444 CLIFTON DRIVE NORTH
LYTHAM ST ANNE'S
LANCASHIRE
FY8 2PP
Or phone:
01253 723370 or email kevinmorgan222@btinternet.com

 

Peter Held 1937 – 2021
We are sorry to hear that Peter Held died on October 8th in Sydney, Australia to where he had migrated in 1968.
In his youth, Peter trained for a career as a concert pianist, however, the church organ beckoned and this was followed by theatre organ lessons from Tommy Dando at Dublin’s Theatre Royal Compton. He must have done well as he was offered the position of assistant organist, a duty he performed from 1956 - 61.
In 1960 he played a summer season in Brighton where he met his hero, Douglas Reeve.
Returning to Ireland he was engaged to play the Compton for the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Savoy Limerick.
 
 
More electronic organ work followed for summer seasons and in Clubland before returning to Ireland to tour with the Jack Cruise Variety Show, which included a return to the Savoy Limerick.
Peter migrated to South Africa in 1964 and spent two years touring with Chipperfield’s Circus, during which time he broadcast for the South African Broadcasting Corporation on 30 occasions.
After migrating to Australia, he often played for The Theatre Organ Society of Australia .
He returned to the UK regularly and played for clubs and societies as well as seeking out organs to visit and try.
We last saw Peter at Tibenham some three years ago when he gave a good account of himself at both the Compton and Wurlitzer organs.