Blackpool Tower Organist Phil Kelsall returns to St Cuthbert’s Church in Lytham tonight at 7.30pm to perform a programme of theatre organ music on the unique Copeman Hart Digital Organ.
Phil has now completed over three decades at the Tower, having been appointed in 1975, initially as organist in the Tower Circus band with occasional appearances in the ballroom.
In 1977 Ernest Broadbent, the then Tower organist, retired through ill-health and Phil was chosen as the new principal resident organist, a position he has held ever since.
The link with the Tower Ballroom and the BBC has always been a strong one.
The legendary Reginald Dixon broadcasts are remembered by many and Phil Kelsall was to continue this link when in 1980 he was asked by the BBC to record for the Sam On Sunday shows, following Reginald Dixon’s retirement part way through that series.
Phil has also acted as a guest presenter for Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains. Numerous credits have also included Radio 4’s The Archers and Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night.
The demands on Phil for concert appearances have always been heavy and his touring season begins at the end of October and continues until May each year when he returns to the Tower Ballroom for the summer season.
Phil has over 40 albums to his credit, excluding compilations and re-issues, and it has been estimated that he now has more recordings than any other organist in the world.
In 1987 he was voted President of the Theatre Organ Club, and is only the second person to hold this office in the Club’s long history.
In 1983 he received the Gold Badge Award of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for his service to the British music industry. Fellow recipients of this award have included Shirley Bassey and Jools Holland.
Phil’s award of an MBE for services to music was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2010.
As usual, the Church’s specially installed video system – with new larger screen – should allow the audience to appreciate the organist’s mastery of keys, stops and pedals.
Tickets are £7 and may be obtained on the door. For more information ring Irvine Bell on (01253) 738070 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.