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|Mr. Rawle was born in Wales, in 1938.
His musical life started at a pretty young age (4), as with many of his musical colleagues.
His successfully passed his organ studies and training at the London College of Music in Cardiff, later on followed in London where he soon got in touch with well-known fellow organists.
He was able to practise at home, because his Dad had the former Gaumont Wandsworth Wurlitzer installed in his Northolt residence. It was at that time the very first owned Theatreorgan in a private home.
Len bought and rescued the Empire Leicester square Wurlitzer for himself,
this instrument and it’s regular player are well-known in many famous radio and
He was “Mr. Yamaha” for over 17 years, as musical director for Yamaha UK. He trained about 400 teachers who passed their skills on to more than 11.000 organ-students. The Yamaha-school network had over 100 music schools, and many, many organ-and keyboard shops throughout the country.
Young (lady)organist Catherine Drummond got the much desired title “Young Organist of the Year” under his guidance.
His great enthusiasm in sharing his knowledge plus the numerous concerts worldwide surely keep him in the spotlights and front of the organ scene. His way of playing and finding colors in sounds gave him the title “Rembrandt of the Theatreorgan”, and “Sound Magician”. He is a real wizard with sounds, proof of this can be heard on many of his lp’s and cd’s where Len’s playing can be heard on various pipe- and electronic organs and keyboards.
The photo shows Keith Bance, our organ voicer
You will be pleasantly surprised when he has finished the voicing!
Together with Len Rawle Keith played a very important role in
the Haarlem Compton re-installation.
One of Len’s most recent successes is the grand reopening of the Granada Tooting’s Wurlitzer and a similar fantastic restaurationproject in Douglas on the Isle of Man at the end of 2009.
Len’s passion for the sounds in these wonderful instruments is well-known, it is always a pleasure to get the right answers when he is asked for advise and help, he is a walking encyclopedia!
The Compton Haarlem NOF-team is very grateful indeed, it was absolutely not enough to ask his audience for a big hand of applause, at the openings concert!
The NOF has honored Len Rawle with the title “President for life” for his constant and enthusiastic help and support.
Please take also a look at Len's website: http://www.lenrawle.eu/
|The very first concert at the Compton theatre-pipeorgan
in Haarlem was played by Jelani Eddington, just after the finished
re-installation in the Haarlem Kunkels Museum. Jelani has played that
instrument for several times, when it was still in it’s previous home in
The local technical team plus a handful of enthusiasts were present at this “try-out”, which was in a way exciting but also with great expectations, it was indeed a great success. The team was very happy indeed to enjoy Jelani’s music and the fine sounds of the instrument, only positive reactions were heard.
Jelani Eddington was born in Muncie, Indiana, USA, his mother was a music teacher. His grandmother was a piano teacher and it only seemed logical that young Jelani was found at the piano, at a very young age. His grandma teached him to play several classical pieces when he was just four years ‘old’. Jelani saw the Wurlitzer pipe-organ for the first time at the Paramount Music Palace when he was eight.
He won the “American Theatre Organ Society’s Young Theatre Organist
Competition” at the age of thirteen. In August 2001 he was honored with the ATOS-title
“Organist of the Year”.
Besides the theatreorgan his hobbies are foreign languages, like Russian and French! Jelani studied law at Yale (university) Law School and graduated in 1999.
The photo shows Jelani at that try-out in Haarlem. October 6th in 2007.
Do meet Jelani Eddington at: http://www.rjeproductions.com
|Kevin Grunill (born in 1972 in Yorkshire (UK) ) was interested in
“music all in” at a very young age. He got his first electronic organ
tuition at twelve, he got interested in the theatre-pipeorgan at the age
of sixteen. He quickly developed his very-own style of playing these
instruments and it did not take very long to receive invitations to come
and play both ‘electronics’ and ‘pipes’ throughout the country.
He went to ‘Leeds Academy of Arts’ to study music and graduated in 1994. One of the highlights in his career -so far- is a contract as staforganist & entertainer at the Blackpool North Pier, a post that might be one of the longest organ traditions in the world.
Kevin got himself a great reputation when playing the piano, keyboards, electronic organs as well as pipe-organs, like a swimming fish in water, he is considered as one of the finest players in the U.K.
A dream came true for Kevin when he bought a Compton pipe-organ in 1994
for himself, this instrument once was situated in the Birmingham ‘Paramount
The always cheerful Yorkshire man has a very busy concert schedule, his immense popularity could be measured on numerous sold cd-recordings.
Kevin took part in the official opening festivities in Haarlem together with fellow-organist Len Rawle on November 3rd in 2007, which were a tremendous success. A great and true artist at the Compton organ, he is. We all enjoyed his playing very much indeed!
The photo shows Kevin Grunill at the ‘Lady Compton’
“It truly was a great success mate!”
Maybe you want to visit Kevin’s website:
|Donald MacKenzie enjoyed a thorough piano-education at a very
young age, followed by classical organstudies; just like most of his
He was appointed stafforganist when he was eighteen at the Scottish “Glasgow Garden Festival”; he won the ‘Senior Young Theatre Organist’ title at the A.T.O.S. (American Theatre Organ Society) in 1991. He then played a very successful series of concerts in Florida (USA) at the A.T.O.S. convention.
Donald was again in excellent musical shape when playing the five manual (Odeon Leicester square) Compton theatreorgan in 1993 for the Walt Disney Company. He also played a very important musical role in that same cinema during the festivities around the renovation and celebrations of the theatre’s 60th anniversary.
Donald came to Holland many, many times, and although he had a short ‘go’ at the organ in Haarlem earlier in 2007, he was very much looking forward to his official visit for concerts for the N.O.F. later in that same year, especially at the 3/12 Compton organ in the ‘Kunkels Museum’ for Fairgroundorgans.
Donald MacKenzie is a great Compton-virtuoso and always finds the perfectly matching sounds in his melodies.
Please visit Donald’s website at: http://www.donaldmackenzie.org.uk
|Are you having plans for a very special celebration, party, a
dance-evening or a show and you’re thinking in terms of music?
You just do not have to think hard(er), or look any further:
you want to contact and book Michael Wooldridge, because he IS your man!
He will let your party sparkle and bring you into the right mood, at the piano, at the organ or with help of a keyboard. You and your guests will be thrilled when he plays “all kinds of everything” for you: jazz, classics, evergreens, requests?
Just ask him what you want him to play!
The recommendations (on Michaels’ own website) were just extra reasons to invite him back at the consoles in Holland, we already enjoyed many of his performances in the past years! Wasn’t it since the eighties, or so?
The listeners in Holland (mostly NOF-members) again enjoyed Michaels great
concert performance on February 9th 2008, where he not only played tunes and
songs from musicals, but also Big Band pieces and Rock and Roll!
One of the many evening-highlights was watching a ‘silent movie’ (in black and white of course!) where Michael accompanied the film, just as it was done in the ‘old days’. With music and the effects that you will only find in cinema-pipeorgans. It was amazing and great fun to notice Michael’s using the right traps at the right moments!
It was great to see and hear Michael’s playing once again.
On the left you can see the hands of Michael
You surely want to visit Michael’s very own site at: http://www.michaelwooldridge.co.uk
|Chris Powell, who was born in Manchester, started
lessons at the piano and the organ at a very early age, his musical
memories go back to the time when he heard the sounds of the Cathedral
organ for the first time. He easily joined the choirs at school and in
The Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer organ made an unforgettable impression on young Chris. “One day I will play that organ, Dad”, he must have said to his father. They had a good laugh at that time, but that dream came true on his 19th: the beautiful white console came up on stage, fantastically played by Chris. He kept the post as staff-organist for five wonderful years.
Chris already had played many concerts before that time, especially in the Northern part of the country; and there was this memorable performance for Princess Diana in Blackpool’s Wintergarden, followed by a TV-cameo-spot about and in Blackpool, called “Up, where we belong”. It brought Chris -plus the whole popular organscene- all over the world.
Many thousands of his very first recording ”If my friends
could see me now” were sold worldwide, soon followed by a second recording
“Friends for life” with the orchestral sounds of the Yamaha HS8. It was almost
logic that his contract at the Tower Ballroom got him invited by many
organsocieties but also brought contacts (and contracts!) with several
organmanufacturers. At the ‘Frankfurter Music Messe’ in Germany he demonstrated
for Lowrey, Orla, Yamaha and Farfisa. He produced, presented and succesfully
sold a lot of registration-discs for Yamaha electronic organs.
A part of his younger years were spent in New Zealand, where he returned and stayed for two years in 1994. He worked at the Baycourt Theatre, played Lehar’s ‘The merry Widow’ and also accompanied some silent movies with great succes.
Nothing seemed changed when he got back in England, he still was in great demand, travelled to Spain, again to New Zealand and went up to Switzerland, where he recorded “Up with the Curtain” at Joe Bechter’s Rodgers organ.
Chris Powell came to the Netherlands many times, he received standing ovations at the pipe-organs in Voorburg, Schiedam, Oosterwolde, Pernis and in Steenwijk.
Come and see Chris Powell at his very own website: http://www.chrispowell.org
|Richard Hills, FRCO, (member of the Fellowship Royal
College of Organists), was interested in organs at a very young age, het
started with piano lessons when he was six.
When Richard heard the fantastic and famous Thursford Wurlitzer he immediately got fascinated by the wonderful sounds of these instruments. Soon he literally enjoyed classical and popular lessons at the organ by John Norris.
At the competition of ATOS (American Theatre Organ Society) in Michigan Detroit ,he won the much desired title “Young Organist of the Year” in 1995, the young and enthusiastic organist has been invited to the USA over and over again since that time.
Richard played a debut-concert at the Paramount Oakland Wurlitzer organ, he also played the Welte Multiplex pipe-organ in the NDR-Radio Studio in Hamburg, Germany and various organs in the Netherlands. He toured to Australia for a four weeks concert tour, where he had well-deserved standing ovations. Richard made several fantastic recordings.
Richard won a scholarship at Kings-School in Rochester in 1994, where he studied classical organ with William Whitehead. Another scolarship was granted at Exeter’s College, he studied there with David Sangler. He spent a musical year after his studies at Porthmouth Cathedral, soon after that he played the five manual ‘Harrison & Harrison’ organ in Westminster Abbey, where he co-operated with the worldfamous Abbey-choir. He left Westminster in 2004. He weekly played the 2/8 Wurlitzer organ in Habitat, London, a former cinema! Presently Richard is very busy as a freelance musician.
Eddie Ruhier’s Swiss father was very keen on music from Tirol (Austria), his British mother was a great fan of Winnefred Atwell and her pianomusic. Eddie’s older brother liked to listen to the old traditional jazz sounds and young Eddie hammered the piano in the livingroom at the age of five.. indeed an early musical start.
Eddie played the piano when he joined a drummer-schoolfriend, they already had a show in some pubs! Eddie’s Dad was persuaded to buy him an electronic organ that they saw in a musicshop when on holiday in Scotland. He learned how to deal with the pedals himself!!!
|The performing piano-drummer-duo visited an organist-friend
during the Skegness holiday-season; that organist had a contract at the
‘Silver Blade Ice Rink’. That meeting brought him a long carreer playing
ice dancing-music. After a short training period in Streatham he got a
contract as staforganist in Birmingham, where he played for over 26
years. From time to time Eddie brought his music on board of several
cruiseships, including the beautiful “Queen Elisabeth II”.
Playing Hammond-organs is great fun (Eddie still has his very
first M 100!) but to play the theatre-pipeorgan is something very
special, and looking good on your CV!
Eddie has been in Holland several times, playing various theatreorgans and we have noticed that he is not to keen on wearing a smoking... we heard that he once was refused entrance to play a concert, because the manager did not believe that ‘that man on his motorbike’ was the organist ...
Eddie Ruhier has his own interesting website, please visit http://www.eddieruhier.com