Monday, 22 October 2018

Number one organist is playing town hall

Number one organist is playing town hall

THE resident organist from Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom will be in concert at Henley town hall on Sunday afternoon (January 8).

Phil Kelsall has been the principal organist at the landmark venue since 1977, when he was just 21.

Born in Warrington, Cheshire, and today regarded as the UK’s number one theatre organist, Kelsall was inspired to learn the instrument by the late Reginald Dixon — one of his predecessors in the Blackpool role.

In 1975, aged 18, he was appointed organist to the Tower Circus band. He also deputised for Ernest Broadbent in the Tower Ballroom — leading to his taking over the role of principal organist when Broadbent retired.

Noted for his distinctive “Blackpool style” of playing inspired by Reginald Dixon, Kelsall has made numerous appearances on TV and radio playing the tower’s 1935 Wurlitzer organ — most notably on the long-running BBC Radio 2 programme The Organist Entertains, which he has occasionally guest-presented.

Kelsall has also featured on Strictly Come Dancing during the show’s visits to the Tower Ballroom and was awarded the MBE in 2010.

Sunday’s concert starts at 3pm, with doors opening at 2.30pm. Refreshments will be available and a raffle held. Tickets are £7 with concessions £6.50.

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