The Theatre Organ Club

Vice Presidents

Scan 2.jpg
John Mann:
John Mann was born in Brighton and, after piano and church organ lessons, was engaged at the age of 17 at Brighton Ice Rink to provide music for skating on a Hammond ‘Lafleur’ organ. John was also with Bobby Howell’s Band at Brighton Sports Stadium.
Theatre organist, Peter Kilby, recommended John to Joseph Seal, then Musical Director of ABC Cinemas and Mr Seal thought highly enough of Peter Kilby’s judgment to engage John on the spot. John toured ABC Cinemas with live shows throughout 1959, based at the Plaza Worthing.
Summer seasons at Skegness and Ramsgate followed, and then John spent ten years at Queens Ice Rink in London. John returned to summer seasons at Worthing, Bexhill and Eastbourne with the winters spent demonstrating for Eminent organs.
John also managed to find the time to play for the Theatre Organ Club, the Cinema Organ Society (of which he is President) and at various other theatre organ venues up and down the country and abroad, as well as presenting his one man show based around the Eminent.
John made his one and only BBC Light Programme broadcast from the Granada Tooting in 1968 and been a popular and frequent contributor to BBC Radio 2’s ‘The Organist Entertains’ both on pipes and his trusty Eminent. John was also featured in two solo broadcasts on BBC Radio 2’s short lived series ‘At the Console’ from the Granada Walthamstow Christie organ in 1990.          
Although John has officially retired from the organ circuit, he still can be found playing guest spots for the Club on occasion to delight his many fans and admirers.

David Shepherd:
David was born in Manchester. He began formal music lessons at the age of five, transferring to Saturday classes at the Royal Northern School of Music by the age of seven. He started learning the organ at school in Stockport as soon as his feet could reach the pedals, and continued with classical organ lessons whilst at college and university. His teacher was Dr John Birch of Chichester Cathedral. 
David gained an ARCM with honours in classical organ playing and an LRAM in classical organ teaching. Leaving university in 1969, David taught for ten years in the south of England.  
David discovered the theatre organ in 1964 and is wasn’t very long before he made his first BBC broadcasts on ‘The Sam Costa Show’ from the Odeon Manchester Wurlitzer.
Regular broadcasts on 'The Organist Entertains' followed, from the Granada Tooting, Watford Town Hall, The Rex Stratford, The Pavilion Hoddesdon, The Plough Great Munden and the BBC Wurlitzer. Some solo broadcasts later took place from Leicester Square, Ossett Town Hall and The Plough Great Munden.
David soon became popular on the concert circuit and was particularly known for his faultless playing of meticulously prepared programmes, which continues to this day.
After retiring from Allen Organs in 2003, David returned to his church roots at St Botolph’s in Boston, having moved to Holbeach in 1980 where he began the installation of his own theatre organ in his Georgian home.
David semi-retired from St Botolph’s in 2013 but is still kept busy playing for services and occasional concerts there as well as an accompanist to Sleaford Choral and various other local choral societies, including the South Holland Singers and Cantemus.
David is Membership Secretary of the British Institute of Organ Studies (BIOS) and also of the Cinema Organ Society.
In addition to his organ playing, he enjoys trying to keep fit, and driving his 1960s classic cars.