October 1st, 2017 by Steve Morl

Artiste – Visiting us 23rd October 2017 Rod Pooley

 

Rod Pooley was born in Welling, Kent, in 1966.  He began playing electronic organ at the age of seven. At the time he received early tuition from John Norris (Then the Principal of the Southern Music Training Centre Bromley). Rod added the piano to his playing skills from the age of ten. His then tutor was London jazz pianist, James Fagg, maybe the reason why Rod is now a fluent jazz player.

Rod attended Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School. The school at that time had one of the largest school music departments in the UK. Whilst there Rod can claim that he performed a solo during a concert in front of former prime minister Sir Edward Heath the then Mp for Bexley.

At the Grammar School Rod formed its first jazz band. During and after leaving full time education, Rod won many titles in the organ world. These included:

1981 at 14 years of age Young Theatre Organist of the Year

1985 and 1986 at 18 and 19 years of age National Organist of the year

1988 at 21 years of age Yamaha Electone Festival Winner

Rod has Grade VIII on Piano and Organ and achieved a performance diploma in electronic organ playing at just 17.

Rod was the Church organist at St Michaels and All Angels Eastbourne for two years. His professional career was established by the time he left school, performing at many organ societies. He has performed in many forms of entertainment as both soloist and a member playing in big bands. Rod has worked with the Joe Loss Orchestra, the Ken Mackintosh Big Band, Mike Reid and Jimmy Tarbuck.

Rod organised and ran a successful organ and keyboard school; he now combines his busy performing and demonstrating career with a directorship of The Drawtones his Funky Organ Classics band.

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September 1st, 2017 by Steve Morl

Artiste – 25th September 2017 Alex Payler

Alex’s performance instrument is the state of the art YAMAHA Electone Stagea ELS-02C. As well as being the first pro-player to import this very special instrument into the UK, he is now one of the leading exponents of this particular model in the world. The state of the art Stagea ELS-02C is at the apex of technological innovation and along with its cutting-edge design, is by far the most musically expressive electronic instrument created in the world today.  Check out Alex’s YouTube Channel for special live performances…

https://www.youtube.com/alexpayler

Acknowledgement to http://www.organfax.co.uk/players/alexpayler/#close

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June 29th, 2017 by Steve Morl

Elizabeth Harrison

It was a warm summer evening with a good number of attendees in the audience for our evening concert performed by Elizabeth Harrrison. She began by introducing herself as a farmer, a driver of big machines and goods vehicles. Elizabeth’s boyfriend, also a farmer but their two farms were she said, 26 miles apart. Elizabeth made an appeal to the audience, she was a collector of tractors, at one time she had 13 but presently only 8, she did however want to find a Massey Ferguson 35, 3 cylinder tractor, and appealed to anyone in the audience who may have one for sale. There was much amusement but no offers. Elizabeth hadn’t had much luck with a shopping trip either, out for vacuum cleaner bags she returned home with a dog instead. The dog, a black and white border collie needed a new home, its owners were emigrating.

So the music started for an audience already amused. Unusually for an artiste, she performed facing us; throughout the evening she punctuated her performance with facial expressions that were themselves quite entertaining.  Elizabeth is an accomplished entertainer with a performance repertoire that included something for everyone. Amongst the music she played were;  themes from west end shows, strangers in the night, Choo Choo Samba, Too Beautiful To Last, A 1960s Selection including Three Steps To Heaven, I Only Want To Be With You, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Its A Heartache, Georgie Girl. Marches- Out Of The Blue, Dancing Dustman. Viennese Waltz Selection including Over The Waves, Ciribiribin, Chrysanthemum Waltz, Nights of Gladness. Classical – Prelude In Classic Style, and House of dreams.  We were also led in a sing song that featured well known cockney and wartime favourites, My old mans a dustman, Ain’t she sweet, Run rabbit run, when your smiling and Bring me sunshine.

Elizabeth’s instrument was a Roland ATELIER Combo AT-350C with Pedal board and a “Tower Organ in a box” module.

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February 28th, 2017 by Steve Morl

27th February 2017, Another cold evening for a concert but we were treated to a comprehensive evening of great musical variety at the hands of John Cooper, hands which he was rubbing together to warm his fingers, two of the heaters in the hall were out of order. At least by the forthcoming March concert we should be moving into spring and perhaps warmer weather? John punctuated his music with a good sense of humour between pieces. As he started to play he slipped off his shoes to operate the pedals in his socks. He didn’t want to scratch the pedals… Whilst playing, John’s father maintained a projected video relevant to the music as an inset on the screened images of keyboard and pedals.

The evening opened with music in the stile of James last, the Elizabethan serenade, we heard music from Les Misérables, a variety from Disney, Hans Zimmer’s pirates of the Caribbean. Further pieces included, The Rose, Hero, Unforgettable, Bring him home, Conquest of Paradise, Palladio, and a very soulful rendition of ‘Morning in Cornwall’. Eventually the concert reached the end of the evening and John returned to play ‘Time to say goodbye’ as his encore.

 The instrument John brought with him was a Yamaha Stagea ELS-02C. Apparently these are very rare in the UK perhaps only two models including John’s. It seems one can be purchased here for £25,000 or as John did, journey to Japan and bring your own back for about £6,000 or was it £8000? Well out of interest I checked and today you can buy one direct in Japan for 1,036,800 Japanese Yen or in good old GBP £7,862.96p

John’s Yamaha Stagea ELS-02C

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