The Theatre Organ Club (TOC) was founded in 1938 as The Robinson Cleaver Radio Club to bring together the fans of the very popular broadcasting Organist, Robbie Cleaver. Right from the outset the Club was not restricted to just Robbie’s music and was keen to promote the Theatre Pipe Organ and its players generally, which makes it the oldest such club in the world. It changed it’s name to The Theatre Organ Club in the 1950s and has a membership of about 1,500 with the subscription deliberately kept to the minimum required for membership services.
We are very much a “Club” at heart, aiming to provide a friendly focus for like minded people who enjoy light music played on the Theatre Organ. The Club’s work is facilitated by maintaining two districts (the North and the South) which ensures members’ interests can be more closely catered for. There are two newsletters which alternate month to month and many members receive both and are members in each area. We are proud of our long term appeal and have members who have been with the club for over 60 years as well as a steady stream of newer members.
Many years ago, as the number of organ equipped cinemas diminished and access to these instruments became more difficult, The Theatre Organ Club decided not to possess its own instruments but maintain close links with the Theatre Organ Preservation Society and the Northern Theatre Organ Trust which own and maintain organs at Abingdon and Ossett. The Club also has a fund available to make grants to worthwhile Theatre Organ projects.
If you have an interest in the music of the Theatre Organ and would enjoy meeting up with fellow enthusiasts or just keeping up to date with the regular newsletters why not join today?
2015 Patron, Richard Hills accompanied ‘Steamboat Bill Jr’ to an auditorium full of enthusiastic schoolchildren at the Regent Street Cinema on November 4th and it was good to hear so many people laughing at the antics of Buster Keaton nearly 90 years ago. One can’t imagine that any of the children in the audience had ever seen a black and white silent movie accompanied by a cinema organ before, and to be able to capture their attention for 70 minutes throughout shows just what many youngsters are missing. It was also interesting to note just how good the special film effects were all that time ago.
Richard provided a masterly accompaniment and whilst the majority of the audience left at the end, some children remained to ask sensible and intelligent questions of Richard who was able to answer with the help of the Compton.