The Mighty Sunderland Compton Theatre Organ.
The organ built by the John Compton Company in 1932 for the Black's Regal Cinema later known as the Odeon. It was installed and ready for the opening of the cinema on Easter Monday, March 28th of that year. The resident organist was Mr J Arnold Eagle who played for the opening, along with his orchestra and supporting acts.
Over the years, the organ fell into disuse so a society was formed in 1975 at the suggestion of the then manager of the theatre, the late Mr. Ray Cook to look after the organ with view to getting it into playing condition again.
The Society, over the years at the Odeon, engaged several well-known organists including Reginald Dixon (on two occasions), Ron Curtis, Doreen Chadwick and Ripon Cathedral organist the late Ron Perrin and his choir.
When word came through that the cinema was going to be turned into a Bingo hall, the organ was finally purchased and removed from the Odeon Cinema by the society in July 1982. After it was removed, it went into storage for quite a few years while a suitable home was found for it. Eventually, one was found at Ryhope Community Centre. It was "switched on" by the Mayor on the 28th of March 1992 exactly 60 years from the original opening day.
Recently thanks to a grant given by Grass Roots. Work has been carried out by professional organ builders. This meant removing and cleaning the pipes, replacing the cleaned pipes, tonal regulation, this balances the sound of the organ to the hall and finally the organ wa tuned.
The organ has nine ranks of pipes which are installed in two chambers located at the back of the stage and playable from the three-manual console front of stage.
Main Chamber (Left) Solo Chamber (Right)
1. Diapason. 6. Tibia.
2. Trumpet. 7. Tuba.
3. Violin. 8. Vox Humana.
4. Violin Celeste. 9. Clarinet.
The console has three manuals of 61 notes each, a full pedal bord,139 stops and 13 toe pistons controlling special effects such as bird whistle, siren, engine, drum roll and grand crash.
It also has all the usual traps which include:-
Bass drum, Chinese block, Glockenspiel, Snare drum, Cymbal crash, Triangle, Chimes, Carillon, Sleigh bells, Chrysoglott, Tolling bell, Tom-tom, Xylophone, Orchestral bells, and Vibraphone.
Cymbal Roll, Aeroplane, Surf and Birds.
Doors open at 2pm, for 2.30pm start.
Entrance fee £5.00 (£2.50 students) including refreshments (tea/coffee and biscuits).
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