CD Duration: 58.07 / Year: 2011
2011 release of a 1978 recording at the 3 manual, 10 rank Compton organ in the City School, Sheffield (before the organ was destroyed in an arson attack).
A Tear, a Kiss, a Smile / In the Still of the Night / The Story of a Starry Night
All Through the Night / The Ash Grove / Men of Harlech
Moonlight on the Alster
Don’t Cry for Me Argentina / Serenade / Climb Ev’ry Mountain / Second Serenade
Memories of You / Fascination / The Carnival is Over / Dance of the Comedians
Church Mouse on a Spree (on Piano)
Clocking On (on Piano)
Old Father Thames / Up from Somerset / The Lincolnshire Poacher / She’s a Lassie from Lancashire / My Girl’s a Yorkshire Girl / John Peel / The Blaydon Races / When Irish Eyes are Smiling / The Road to the Isles / Loch Lomond / Scotland the Brave / For You (Signature Tune).
Ernest Broadbent was born in Oldham in 1910, moving with the family to Leeds in 1914 at the outbreak of war. It was there he commenced piano lessons, later studying at Leeds College of Music. After much varied local work, his first solo professional engagement was as organist at the New Cinema, Ilkley in 1931. He joined Gaumont British in London in 1936 for two years, before moving to the Regent Brighton for 16 years, interrupted only by war service. Following a period as accompanist to Josef Locke, Ernest joined the Blackpool Tower Company in 1952, initially playing piano in the Tower Lounge, continuing there when it was replaced by a Hammond organ, and deputising for Reginald Dixon and Watson Holmes. When Horace Finch retired from the Empress Ballroom in 1962, Ernest was appointed as his successor, and then in 1970 when Reginald Dixon retired, he became the new resident organist at the Tower Ballroom, also fitting in concert engagements throughout the country when time permitted.
Leg trouble, which he believed slowly developed after an injury sustained in an accident at Edmonton in 1974, unfortunately forced his retirement from the Tower Company in 1977. He initially responded well to treatment, and was able to resume concert work for a short time, which included the one on this recording, until a more serious recurrence of the trouble curtailed the activity again. He managed, albeit in great pain, to take part in one final concert at Worthing in 1986. Tragically the condition worsened, and both legs had to be amputated. He spent his last four years being cared for at the B.L.E.S.M.A. home in Blackpool, where he died in 1994. Still retaining an interest in the theatre organ scene to the end. A first class musician and a true gentleman.
One of many early theatre organ preservation groups was the Sheffield Theatre Organ Enthusiasts, who bought this fine Compton from the Orpheum cinema, Golders Green, and rebuilt it in the assembly hall in the City School on the outskirts of Sheffield. They presented regular concerts from 1971, until the organ was destroyed in an arson attack on the school in May 1990. Repairs to the building were completed 18 months later, and the Society installed a replacement Compton and resumed their concerts until disbanding in 2010, after it was announced that the school was to be demolished, although opinions differed as to whether this was a better instrument than the original.