Kevin Grunill has built a fine reputation as one of the UK’s busiest organists. Such is the extent of his musicianship that he is equally at home on the modern electronic instruments as well as the more traditional pipe organ and piano. Kevin was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire in 1972 and had shown an interest in all matters of a musical nature at an early age. However, it was not until the age of twelve that he began to learn the electronic organ as his chosen instrument. At the age of sixteen, Kevin began to take an interest in the sound of the mighty theatre organ and it was a natural musical progression that he should begin to study this type of instrument, for which he developed a different playing style to that of his electronic organ performances. It was not long after this that Kevin began performing concerts throughout the country, featuring both electronic and theatre organs.
In addition to his concert appearances and providing music in strict tempo for ballroom dancing, Kevin decided to continue his musical education and studied at a performing arts college before furthering his skills at Leeds University where, in 1994, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Degree in music.
Since graduating from University, Kevin has performed at many of the country’s major musical venues, including The Town Hall, Ossett, The State Theatre, Kilburn, The Granada Television Studios Manchester, both The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London, The Playhouse Theatre, Weston-Super-Mare and the Opera House and Tower Ballroom, Blackpool. Kevin has also performed at numerous organ societies and private residences both here in this country and abroad, including the City Theatre and Tuschinski Theatre in Amsterdam.
One of the highlights in Kevin’s career came in 1997, when he was chosen to be the Resident Organist at the North Pier, Blackpool. In this prestigious position, he entertained hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers in a town that has a long tradition in presenting the very best in organ music. His duties in Blackpool often saw him at the console of the famous Wurlitzer organ in the Tower Ballroom, in addition to his performances at the North Pier. Kevin remained at North Pier until 2005 and continued his duties as one of the Resident Organists at the Tower Ballroom for a further year or so, leaving the Tower team in 2006, although he still enjoys being invited back as a guest organist on occasions, where he can fit it into his busy schedule
Additional to his concert and dance appearances, one of Kevin’s other interests is Musical Theatre. Kevin has worked as Musical Director and Producer on a number of theatrical productions, ranging from “The Good Old Days” to Pantomime.
With a constant number of concert dates throughout the width and breadth of the country, plus frequent appearances on national radio and television programmes, this likeable and easy-going Yorkshireman is winning an ever-increasing number of admirers, which is reflected in the constantly rising demand for his recordings. Kevin has featured in numerous television programmes, such as "Hollyoaks", "Blackpool" and "The Hairy Bikers" just to name but a few.
One of Kevin’s main interests is the history and construction of the theatre organ. Kevin is heavily involved with the 4/10 Compton that once graced Birmingham’s Paramount/Odeon Cinema. This instrument is currently installed in the Penistone Paramount in South Yorkshire, where it is used on a regular basis for film and concert events. Such is the popularity of this instrument and the shows that Kevin presents, that, in March 2001, Pennine Yorkshire Tourism awarded the Compton shows, which featured Kevin, with the prestigious ‘Visitor Attraction of the Year’ award.
Not only is Kevin a highly acclaimed concert and dance artiste, who is in great demand at venues all over the country but as a young organist was awarded the ‘Special Personality of the Year’ award, which was presented to him by Pennine Yorkshire Tourism in March 2001. This coveted award was given to Kevin not only in recognition of his success at the North Pier and Tower Ballroom, Blackpool but also for the thousands of tourists that he has attracted to the Yorkshire area through his regular concert appearances.
In 2005, Kevin decided to devote more time to the restoration of the theatre pipe organ and began to work as a theatre organ restoration specialist and consultant on a more regular basis. Kevin's knowledge, experience and expertise as a theatre organist and restorer has proved to be a winning combination and in this capacity, Kevin has worked on many of these fine instruments, not only in the U.K. but in Europe and in the United States of America.
Having designed and installed numerous theatre pipe organs for various private collections and public venues, in 2010, Kevin began the concept of transforming a bare warehouse unit in Barnsley, into the National Theatre Organ Heritage & Restoration Centre, thus "The Astoria Centre" as it is known was born. This wonderful collection of theatre pipe organs is open on a regular basis and Kevin is often to be found at the console every Wednesday afternoon, playing for the Astoria Afternoon Tea Dance from 1pm.
On Thursdays at 1.00pm, Kevin gives a performance of light popular music on the magnificent Allen 317ex Digital Theatre Organ at St Andrews Church, Penistone, near Barnsley in South Yorkshire.
Kevin will also be featured at the following festivals this year.
|Concerts in 2017|
|June 14th||The Astoria Centre, Barnsley. S75 1JT (more details)|
Afternoon Tea Dance at 1pm
|July 5th||Grimsby and District Electronic Organ Society|
|July 12th||Hailsham Organ Club|
|July 26th||Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust - Heritage Centre|
|July 27th||Taunton and Wellington Keyboard Club|
|August 13th||Rutland Organ and Keyboard Music Club|
|August 15th||Barnsley White Rose Organ & Keyboard Society|
|September 7th||Weston Organ and Keyboard Club|
|September 7th||Bournemouth Pavilion|
|September 9th||St Albans Organ Theatre|
|September 10th||Scottish Cinema Organ Trust (COS)|
|September 16th||Penistone Cinema Organ Trust (more details)|
Organ & The Take 2 Big Band
|September 17th||Burtey Fen Collection|
|September 19th||Bideford Keyboard and Organ Club|
|September 20th||St Austell Organ & Keyboard Club|
|October 24th||Thanet Electronic Organ & Keyboard Club|
|October 25th||Regis Organ and Keyboard Club|
|November 12th||Singing Hills Wurlitzer|
|December 9th||Penistone Cinema Organ Trust (more details)|
Christmas Concert together with Andrew Nix
|Concerts in 2018|
|February 20th||Woodhall Spa and District Organ Society|
|February 23rd||Crawley Keyboard Club|
|March 5th||Association of Organ Enthusiasts (AOE)|
|May 15th||Bournemouth Electronic Organ Society|