This magnificent instrument, built in 1931 for the Regent Cinema, Poole, has been restored and installed over 12 months by a dedicated team of volunteers led by Ben Snowdon.This required a large fund raising effort, and we are grateful to Weststar Holidays (Now Parkdean Holidays) for their generous donation to launch the fund.
Built to accompany silent films, the organ is capable of playing many different styles of music. A series of concerts will feature the country’s top organists, which began with the inaugural concert on Sunday 22 April 2012 with Byron Jones. See below for performance times.
The organ will also be played before some of our evening film screenings by local volunteer organists.
Christie Organ Facts:
- The Christie organ was built in 1931.
- It has 723 pipes – installed in an enclosure to the right of the screen – ranging in length from 17’ 6” down to less than an inch!
- The volume is controlled by two sets of pneumatically operated acoustic shutters that open in the front wall of the enclosureAs well as pipes, the Christie organ has real percussion instruments operated by air pressure, including xylophone, glockenspiel, chimes, vibraphone, drums, cymbals, tambourine, castanets etc.
- There is provision to play a real grand piano from the organ keyboards!
- There are also special effects used in accompanying silent films. These include the sounds of birds, a train whistle, telephone bell, fire alarm, car horn, and an aeroplane.
- All of the pipes and effects are operated using compressed air. This is raised to a pressure of approx 1lb-per-square-inch by an electric blower beneath the stage.
- The blower contains three large fans and is powered by a 7½ horsepower motor.
- The console has three keyboards each with 61 notes, and the bass notes are played on a pedalboard which has 30 notes.
- There are over 100 stopkeys in two rows above the keyboards, and altogether there are over 150 separate controls at the organist’s command.
- The console was originally connected to the organ via a set of electro-mechanical relays, but at the Curzon these have been replaced with the latest state-of-the-art digital control system.
- In total the Christie organ weighs around 4 tons.