News just in from American Theatre Organ Society Chairman, Ian Ridley:
The London and South of England Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society has received notice under the terms of their agreement with the Barry Town Council that the famous Regal Edmonton 4/16 Christie Theatre Organ has to be removed from the magnificent setting of Barry Memorial Hall.
Since the organ’s opening concert there on St David's Day 1987, Barry and ATOS have benefited hugely from a long running series of dances played throughout by David Redfern plus concerts featuring artists from here and overseas. Unfortunately falling audience numbers and the introduction of a board of trustees and a change of hall management a few years ago requiring higher hire charges, meant ATOS had to suspend concert activity.
We could not present concerts running at such a loss for a sustained period. ATOS have been negotiating with the Memorial Hall trustees with a view to re-start concert activity with their support, and we have spent a considerable time trying to produce a positive outcome. However the organ is, in our opinion, not a welcome feature within the current image of the Hall, ATOS has not been encouraged and supported by the Hall’s trustees or by the Town Council as it was in the past, and the orchestra pit and under stage pipe chamber areas are now required for other purposes.
ATOS had hoped that circumstances would change at the hall but this has not turned out to be the case and the 12 month notice for removal has now been served. Currently the magnificent console is entombed on its lift due to the extension of the stage area and though unplayable the instrument is in fine condition.
All who have been involved in presenting and supporting our events over the years at Barry are warmly thanked by the ATOS Chapter Committee.
It is time therefore to consider a new phase in the life of this historic instrument and any thoughts on a future home for it will be welcome.
In the first place please address any ideas to The Chapter's Musical Advisor Len Rawle at 132 Berry Lane, Chorleywood, Herts., WD3 4BT alternatively, further information can be obtained by telephoning Len on 01923 720511or Ian Ridley (Chairman) on 01494 674944
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