With Her Majesty’s Theatre closed for building works and the Compton Organ locked away for the duration, The Ballarat Theatre Organ Society staged a “Let’s Pretend We are at a Theatre Organ Concert” at the Art Gallery of Ballarat on the 23rd September 2018. Renowned theatre organist David Johnston transported the audience into the wonder and magic of the world of theatre organ using Phil Cockerill’s Yamaha AR100. David’s music floated throughout the Gallery and later Phil went to the Gallery Yamaha Grand piano for organ/piano duets which captivated the audience and had many dancing on their way home. During his career, David has always supported the Ballarat people and we thank him for sharing his music with us.
The 80th birthday of the Compton Theatre Organ was celebrated in style at a concert in Her Majesty’s Theatre, Ballarat on the 23rd April 2017. Two of Australia’s finest Theatre Organists, Scott Harrison and David Johnston were the headline acts, playing solo item, duets with organ and piano and a silent movie segment. A musical tribute was staged in memory of our late Patron, Winston Loveland and members of his family were present in the audience to see instrumental, dance and vocal items performed in a thoughtful way.
Visitors had come from interstate and Melbourne and some interested organists had taken part in ‘open console’ and a Theatre Organ Workshop conducted by Scott Harrison, the previous day.
On Saturday evening many visitors (and locals) were entertained at a country venue. The catering was amazing, specially the pizzas and the sticky date pudding and the music went for hours.
John Gilbert has had a long involvement with the Ballarat Theatre Organ Society and we were delighted to welcome him to this event and listen to his music.
We hope to bring you news of coming events soon, so watch this site. If you would like to become a member of BTOS, contact the President.
Click the link to read the ABC’s report about the Compton’s birthday
The Ballarat Theatre Organ Society held their 2016 concert at Her Majesty’s Theatre on the 17th April. The principal artist Scott Harrison, is the Kingston City Organist (Melbourne) and showed his virtuosity on the Compton Theatre Organ. He played a variety of music and joined with Joshua Woods, saxophonist, in several items. Joshua is a local lad who received a Ballarat Arts Foundation Grant in 2015 before being accepted into the Victorian College of the Arts to study Jazz. Another BAF Grant recipient, Phillip Coyle intrigued the audience by playing the Frame Drum at the start of the concert. The unusual sound of this drum echoed around the dark auditorium from different areas and it was explained that for thousands of years. the frame drum has been used to call people together for happenings and events.
Soloists from the Philip Johnston School of Music showed their skills and there were many comments such as “ Ballarat has such amazing talent.” And “Loved those singers” Philip was the accompanist.
Scott has played theatre organs in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and USA. He had not played the Compton before and after the concert, described it as “The finest small theatre organ I have played. The tonal quality of the Compton was outstanding, as was the way the instrument sounded in the Theatre” Scott will be playing in the UK later in the year.
Our concert held in April was very successful and we had many messages from audience members who had enjoyed themselves, listening to the talented singers, the Compton Theatre Organ together with the College Band and the Hilltop Choir.
Now there is another opportunity to see and hear the Compton Theatre Organ at Her Majesty’s Theatre, on Sunday 7th June at 7.30pm. This is a special gala concert to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the opening of Her Majesty’s on Monday the 7th June 1875.
This concert will highlight the milestones of the theatre’s life from the original name of The Academy of Music, to Her Majesty’s in 1899 then The Memorial Theatre and returning as Her Majesty’s Theatre on the 10th November 1990.
A large milestone in the history of the Theatre was the launch of the Compton Theatre Organ on the 12th June 1982. To celebrate this event, renowned Theatre Organist David Johnston, is coming to Ballarat to play the Compton, not only as a solo instrument but also to accompany a short comedy film. Do not miss this opportunity to experience the original purpose for theatre organs.
The cast includes Roger Lemke, Jason Wasley, Peter Toohey, Zoe Drummond, Maxine Montgomery, Suzanne Donald and the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra with special guest Nancye Hayes.
Adults $50, Members $40, Conc, $45 Students $15. Booking at Her Majesty’s Box Office 03 5333 5888