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The Rye Wurlitzer Academy was established at the end of 2009 after a donation to celebrate the life of Rita Akehurst, who, with her husband Tony started and ran the Hastings & Bexhill Organ Society for over 30 years. In the first few months they have had up to 8 students getting to grips with the Rye Wurlitzer. Further donations of money from other sources has meant that they are able to offer FREE TUITION to the students at Rye College by that highly capable theatre organist, musician and teacher MICHAEL WOOLDRIDGE. This means that the project has funding until the end of the college year for 2011/2012 - a wonderful achievement in such a short space of time.
In the past six months they have been fortunate to have electronic organs donated to them of various makes and models so that the students have home practise instruments. This has proved very popular.
Once the Wurlitzer is back in place (Concert with John Mann on October 24th) they will be having two recruitment sessions, one with Michael Wooldridge in November and the other with Janet Dowsett to coincide with her own busy schedule, early in the New Year.
They have decided to limit recruitment to match the number of organs that they have to send out to homes. Currently they have three spare, but would like more students, so obviously, they need more organs.
The purpose of this message is to cast the net and ask organ club secretaries in Kent and Sussex and anyone else who is networking with people with a musical interest of this kind, whether their members have a model that they no longer have use for and want to see that it goes to a good home. They will collect. The only criteria is that it's working and that it has a bench with it.
For the logistics of collection they can only consider these two counties at the present time. But, if someone happened to have an organ that split, an estate car and just happened to coincide a visit to Rye with one of their popular Sunday concerts and brought it with them to donate to the cause - they are hardly going to decline it as the donation is giving a student at Rye College and surrounding villages the opportunity to make and create music linked to the second oldest Wurlitzer Theatre Organ in the UK.
I stand to be corrected, but understand it to be the only project of its kind in the UK at the present time.
Please contact Richard via email as a preference so that he has all the details on record or if you want to discuss the matter further please phone him on 01424 444058 ( evenings only).
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