On 12th July, 1965, a young organist played a Hammond A-100 organ at the foundation of the Bristol Hammond Organ Society.
On 12th July, 2015, that same organist, Keith Beckingham, returned and played the same Hammond A-100 organ to launch the Society’s Golden Jubilee Anniversary Celebration Concert.
Founder and first Chairman, Leslie Baker, Managing Director of Churchill’s of Bristol always provided organs for concerts and the Hammond A-100 became his own personal instrument. On his retirement, he was succeeded by daughter Anne as Chairman and she donated the organ to the Society. The organ remained with the Society until 2010 when it became necessary to dispose of it and is now owned by Byron Jones. The Society is now unique in the world to have continually retained the Hammond name since its foundation.
The recent celebration was well attended by over 100 members and guests including three Founder members, Colin Godfrey - President, Anne Baker - Vice President and Tim Moody - former Secretary, all of whom have been awarded Life Memberships over the years in recognition of their service to the Society. The club were delighted and honoured to welcome the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Clare Campion-Smith and her Consort, Dr Ian Campion Smith who joined them during the refreshment interval and for the remainder of the evening.
The audience were treated to some wonderful music and entertainment by the artistes. Keith Beckingham got the evening under way with a lively concert on the Hammond. This was followed by Byron Jones giving an excellent concert starting on the Wersi Scala and then moving on to the Hammond, demonstrating the versatility of the organ by playing in his own style and in complete contrast to Keith’s programme. After the refreshment break, Keith returned for another short concert before the final artiste, John Mann took to the stage. John delighted members with a concert on Hammond and piano in his inimitable style. A fine mixed programme was performed interspersed with anecdotes and stories, keeping the audience well entertained and amused. After a short break, the finale started with 'The Dream of Olwen' played by Byron and John on Wersi and piano. Keith then joined them for a traditional sing-a-long followed by a rousing performance of the Dambusters March. The concert ended with a fine rendition by artistes and audience of the eminently suitable We’ll Meet Again.
The celebration was thoroughly enjoyed by members and guests alike and was a wonderful tribute for the clubs Jubilee, Thanks to Keith, Byron and John for entertaining so well and special thanks to Byron for his support and providing the instruments. Thanks should also go to the clubs officers, committee and all those involved in the planning for making it such an enjoyable day. Last but not least a special thank you goes to the members for their loyal support through the years.
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