I started playing the organ when I was 9 - my father owned a T500 Hammond which was his pride and joy. I started to show an interest in music and Dad agreed to teach me. He taught me all he knew and within a year he had arranged private tuition with my first teacher Ray Fox. At age 11 my Dad asked me what I would like for my birthday. I said I would like to play a concert, so Dad arranged it and I played my first 2 hour concert to friends and family - about 100 people. I loved every minute!
By the time I reached 14 Dad said "We need to get you another teacher, Ray has taken you as far as he can". Just a week earlier we had seen an advert in our local paper "Be taught by the best - call ANDREW GILBERT". We did, and for the next three years I was coached by Andy. He was very good for me and taught me so much in those three years.
Around this time I started entering competitions; my first was a Yamaha Local Region Competition to be held at Teville Organs at Worthing. I turned up and saw that one of the judges was Steve Lowdell. I played a 'Phantom of the Opera' Selection and won it.
After winning the local event, I was asked to compete in the National competition, which was held at The Library Theatre Solihull. I played the Yamaha HS8, i won £125! which, at that age, was like winning the Lottery! I then entered the Wersi competition, winning the local event. At that time, we didn't know but the competition was going to go further. A week after winning I got a call from Aura Sounds, Purley, to ask would I compete in the Wersi European finals to be held at FRANKFURT - all expenses paid for me and Dad.
We went over and WON a Wersi Prisma organ. When we got home Dad built it and that's the setup I used, with a Technics KN800, for the next three years.
At the age of 14, I also entered the Cinema Organ Society competition held at Gunton Hall. I played one slow piece and one fast piece and won. Dad was hoping that it would lead me into the Theatre organ circuit but, although I loved the sound of the Wurlitzers - especially when played by Robert Wolfe - I didn't have the passion for it and didn't take that path any further.
At seventeen, we had heard if you want to get on to the Organ circuit the best place to play would be somewhere called Caister. I had already sent off letters to all the leading manufacturers to ask if they needed a demonstrator, but the only reply I got was from Brian Price of BOHM to say "We don't need anyone at the moment, but good luck for the future", which I appreciated. I also sent off 40 letters to Organ Societies asking for a chance of appearing at their club. Looking back, I don't remember getting any replies to my letters so the next course of action was to find out if I could get a spot at Caister. I got in touch with Grant Neal and he said I could start off an evening concert for 25mins. We turned up at Caister the day before, trundled our Organ (which was now a Yamaha HX1) into our chalet and practised and practised so when I did eventually play I would be as sharp as I could be. Unfortunately, we got complaints from other chalets and had to turn the organ off! The day had come for me to play my first spot at Caister. I received a standing ovation and suddenly a lot of the people I had written to were now offering me concerts, so playing at Caister really did kick start my career.
Some of my highlights would be the visit to Blackpool Tower in 1995, 22 years old playing the famous Wurlitzer, I loved it!
Travelling to Switzerland in 1997 to play a concert on a loaned Yamaha HX-1, a very memorable weekend, I was lucky to return for another 5 appearances.
I was invited to Klaus Wunderlich's home for the first visit in November 1997, Sadly, in October 1997 Klaus passed away, aged only 66. I was devastated. I had been listening to his music ever since I started playing, there has never been & will never be anyone that will match Klaus, a very special man, amazing ear, fantastic arrangements, unbelievable!...in his later years he did not have a record contract and was only recording what he loved to play personally. Concerto Grosso was to be his last ever recording and I sit back and listen in amazement to the talent that man had.
I was proud to receive the Trophy for the first ever Keyboard/Organist of the Year 2003-4, this is a 2 yearly award, I was so happy to receive it again for 2005-6.
After receiving the trophy for the second time the organisers called it a day on this award.
I live in a nice part of the world - North Yorkshire - have a lovely wife, Louise, and four wonderful boys, Charlie, Matthew, William & Lee.
August 2017 saw the launch of Louise’s new business “the YORKSHIRE FRUITCAKE COMPANY, if you would like to order a cake using the very finest ingredients, the very best selected fruits, mixed peel, cherries, local farm eggs, wensleydale creamery butter, locally milled flour, all fruit soaked in brandy - call: (01609) 748295 or Mob: 07732 211999
Visit the website www.theyorkshirefruitcakecompany.co.uk
Andrew Nix and I are running Festivals under the banner Topnote Events, we are loving every minute of this experience, we have worked hard getting the festvals up and running and give every event our full attention, if you fancy a weekend with myself, Andrew & friends contact me on (01609) 748295 or (07798) 638311
We visit Bournemouth and Eastbourne, for more info on these Great festivals visit: www.topnoteevents.co.uk
Tony will be running a Turkey & Tinsel Festival at the 4* Miramar Hotel in Bournemouth on the 26th-29th November 2024 . Prices start from £339 for 3 nights half board. For more information or to book - ring Tony on 01609 748295 - Email: email@example.com
Tony will also be featured at the following festivals this year.
|Concerts in 2023|
|November 2nd||Scunthorpe Music4You|
|November 9th||Bournemouth In Tune|
|November 10th||Bournemouth 4* MIRAMAR Topnote Events Festival - from £325pp - To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|November 11th||Bournemouth 4* MIRAMAR Topnote Events Festival - from £325pp - To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email email@example.com|
|November 12th||Bournemouth 4* MIRAMAR Topnote Events Festival - from £325pp - To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|November 14th||New Forest Organ Society|
|December 4th||Cheadle and District Organ Society|
|December 6th||North Herts Music Live|
|December 7th||Harrogate Keyboard Club|
|December 12th||Cardiff Keyboard Club|
|December 13th||Ashfield Keyboard Concerts|
|December 16th||Musical Showtime, Sussex|
|December 17th||Sheppey Keyboard Sounds (more details)|
|December 19th||Rother Keyboard Club|
|Concerts in 2024|
|January 11th||Sleaford Music Club|
|February 16th||Eastbourne Topnote Festival. £295pp Half Board with free parking. To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email email@example.com|
|February 17th||Eastbourne Topnote Festival. £295pp Half Board with free parking. To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|February 18th||Eastbourne Topnote Festival. £295pp Half Board with free parking. To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email email@example.com|
|February 23rd||Bournemouth 4* MIRAMAR Topnote Events Festival - from £329pp - To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|February 24th||Bournemouth 4* MIRAMAR Topnote Events Festival - from £329pp - To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email email@example.com|
|February 25th||Bournemouth 4* MIRAMAR Topnote Events Festival - from £329pp - To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|April 16th||Bideford Keyboard and Organ Club|
|April 17th||Plymouth Broadway Organ & Keyboard Club|
|April 18th||Weyhill Electronic Organ Society|
|April 22nd||Derby Organ and Keyboard Club|
|May 9th||York Electronic Organ & Keyboard Society|
|May 15th||Bourne Organ and keyboard Club|
|June 5th||Norwich Keyboard Lounge|
|June 6th||Scunthorpe Music4You|
|June 13th||Burntwood Music For All|
|August 30th||Crawley Keyboard Club|
|September 2nd||Nottingham Organ Society|
|September 5th||Weston Organ and Keyboard Club|
|October 2nd||North Herts Music Live|
|October 8th||Lowestoft and District Organ and Keyboard Club|
|October 12th||Belper & District Organ & Keyboard Club|
|October 22nd||Brentwood Organ and Keyboard Club|
|November 2nd||Scarborough Fair Collection (more details)|
DUET SHOW with Andrew Nix. For more info email email@example.com or call 01723 586698
|November 3rd||Stilton In Tune - Keyboard Showtime|
|November 15th||Burgess Hill Keyboard Club|
|November 26th||Bournemouth 4* Miramar Turkey Tinsel Festival - To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|November 27th||Bournemouth 4* Miramar Turkey Tinsel Festival - To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email email@example.com|
|November 28th||Bournemouth 4* Miramar Turkey Tinsel Festival - To book call Tony on 01609 748295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|December 6th||Woodhall Spa and District Organ Society|
|December 8th||Gainsborough Keyboard Showtime|
|December 15th||Sheppey Keyboard Sounds|