Ballarat Theatre Organ Society Presents:
Birthday Celebrations for the Compton
The 80th birthday of the Compton Theatre Organ was celebrated in style at a concert in Her Majesty’s Theatre, Ballarat on the 23rd April 2017. Two of Australia’s finest Theatre Organists,
Scott Harrison and David Johnston were the headline acts, playing solo item, duets with organ and piano and a silent movie segment. A musical tribute was staged in memory of our late Patron, Winston Loveland and members of his family were present in the audience to see instrumental, dance and vocal items performed in a thoughtful way.
Visitors had come from interstate and Melbourne and some interested organists had taken part in
‘open console’ and a Theatre Organ Workshop conducted by Scott Harrison, the previous day.
On Saturday evening many visitors (and locals) were entertained at a country venue. The catering was amazing, specially the pizzas and the sticky date pudding and the music went for hours.
John Gilbert has had a long involvement with the Ballarat Theatre Organ Society and we were delighted to welcome him to this event and listen to his music.
We hope to bring you news of coming events soon, so watch this site. If you would like to become a member of BTOS, contact the President on firstname.lastname@example.org
Click the link to read the ABC’s report about the Compton’s birthday
BALLARAT THEATRE ORGAN SOCIETY
The Ballarat Theatre Organ Society owns the Compton Theatre Organ installed in Her Majesty’s Theatre in Ballarat. Built in England in 1937, it was organ Number 379 and made its first home in a picture theatre in Warrington in England.
After the coming of the Talkies (sound movies), the organ was removed from the Theatre and later purchased by a Melbourne man who brought it to Australia only to find it was impossible to install in his home. The newly formed Ballarat Theatre Organ Society then purchased the Compton and members spent ten years installing it in Her Majesty’s Theatre. At this time the Theatre was owned by the Royal South Street Society and known as The Memorial Theatre.
The opening concert on the 12th June 1982 was attended by theatre organ lovers from all over Australia and since then, thousands of people have been entertained by what has been described as the most complex musical instrument ever invented. With 677 pipes and over 200 keys the Compton can sound like an orchestra and has many special sounds that were used when accompanying the silent movies.
Several young Ballarat organists have won international competitions and as a result have travelled overseas to play at important venues in England and America. Many world famous organists have played this instrument which has a renowned quality of sound.
Compton Theatre Organ - Short history.
In the late 1920’s a church pipe organ was given an additional range of sounds and special effects so that silent movies could have accompaniment .
A theatre organ is reputed to be the most complex musical instrument ever invented.
The Ballarat Theatre Organ Society owns the Compton Organ in Her Majesty’s Theatre. Built in England, this instrument ( No 379) was installed in the Ritz Cinema in Warrington, Lancashire, England in 1937.
1969 Compton removed from Ritz Cinema after demise of silent movies.
1970 Shipped to Melbourne and then purchased by Ballarat Theatre
Organ Society. Installed in Her Majesty’s over ten years by
1982 Opening concert on 12th June
1982 to 1987, BTOS presented several concerts each year showcasing
famous overseas artists and local musicians. Theatre owned by RSSS.
1988 to 1991 Her Majesty’s Theatre closed for restoration.
1991 Concerts resumed at Her Majesty’s. Two concerts a year under
agreement with Ballarat City Council.
1999 Two Ballarat organists win sections of world wide American Theatre
Organ Competition and go to England to play and receive awards.
2000 Two more Ballarat organists win ATOS awards and go to America.
2007 Pit cover installed limiting access to organ but concerts continue
Next event Sunday 23rd April 2017.
Patron of the Ballarat Theatre Organ Society since 1999
It is with great sadness we record the death of our much loved Patron, Winston Loveland, on Wednesday the 11th January 2017.
Winston passed away peacefully with his family around him, knowing that he was loved and respected by many from all walks of life.