Hello Dolly - Chris Lawton at the Royalty Cinema, Bowness-on-Windermere

Christopher Lawton
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Me playing the organ at the Royalty Cinema in Bowness-on-Windermere in the beautiful Lake District.

The organ is a 2 manual 7 rank instrument and was opus 1719 built in 1927 for the Almira Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio. After the introduction of the 'talkies' not long after, the organ was shipped over to England and installed at the Rex Cinema in the London suburb of Stratford. It remained here until the 1970s but fortunately was stored by an enthusiast after removal. In 2010, the organ was purchased by the Furness Theatre Organ Project who installed it here at the Royalty after giving it an excellent restoration. The console is on a platform to the left of the screen where in the future it is hoped to install a lift so that the console can 'rise' in true cinema organ fashion! The two chambers are installed under the stage and speak through grilles below the screen. The layout is as follows:

MAIN CHAMBER (facing screen - left)
Diaphonic Diapason
Concert Flute
Violin
Violin Celeste
Chrysoglott/Vibraphone

SOLO CHAMBER (facing screen - right)
Tibia Clausa
Trumpet
Vox Humana
Glockenspiel
Xylophone
Cathedral Chimes
Snare Drum, Cymbal, Tambourine, Chinese Block, Castanets, Tom Tom, Sleigh Bells, Bird Whisle, Horse Hoofs, Surf, Fire Gong, Motor Horn, Syren, Steamboat Whistle

UNENCLOSED
Bass Drum
Crash Cymbal

For this first video I am playing 'Hello Dolly' from the 1964 musical of the same name. Afterwards, we take a look inside the two chambers to see the workings of the organ in action! As you will hear, I am in no way a professional when it comes to playing a cinema organ and am much more used to playing the church organ!

My thanks to everyone at Furness Theatre Organ Project for making me so welcome and for doing such a first class job on restoring and installing this Wurlitzer organ. It would be easy to assume that the organ had always been here such is the high quality of this installation. It is also good to see a theatre organ that has been kept in original condition and not enlarged, revoiced and original character removed etc.

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