Skip to main content

Organists

Playing the iconic Wurtlizer Organ

Listen to the amazing organists and watch them perform at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

Learn more about the Ballroom's resident organists and their schedules below.

Organist Schedule

June 2024

 

10:00-11:00

11:00 -

12:00

12:00 -

13:00

13:00 -

14:00

14:00 -

15:00

15:00 -

16:00

1-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
2-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
3-June David Windle Phil Kelsall  David Windle Phil Kelsall  David Windle Phil Kelsall 
4-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
5-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
6-June Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler
7-June Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison  Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison  CLOSED CLOSED
8-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
9-June CLOSED
10-June Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison  Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison  Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison
11-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
12-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
13-June CLOSED
14-June CLOSED
15-June CLOSED
16-June CLOSED
17-June CLOSED
18-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
19-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
20-June Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler
21-June David Windle Mark Speight David Windle Mark Speight David Windle Mark Speight
22-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins Phil Kelsall
23-June Chris Hopkins Mark Speight Chris Hopkins Mark Speight Chris Hopkins Mark Speight
24-June David Windle Phil Kelsall David Windle Phil Kelsall David Windle Phil Kelsall
25-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
26-June Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
27-June Chris Hopkins  Elizabeth Harrison Chris Hopkins  Elizabeth Harrison Chris Hopkins  Elizabeth Harrison
28-June David Windle  Mark Speight  David Windle  Mark Speight CLOSED CLOSED
29-June Chris Hopkins David Windle Chris Hopkins David Windle Chris Hopkins David Windle
30-June Chris Hopkins Mark Allen Chris Hopkins Mark Allen Chris Hopkins Mark Allen

 

July 2024

 

10:30-11:30

11:30 -

12:30

12:30 -

13:30

13:30 -

14:30

14:30 -

15:30

15:30 -

16:30

1-July Mark Speight  Phil Kelsall  Mark Speight  Phil Kelsall  Mark Speight  Phil Kelsall 
2-July Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
3-July Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
4-July Chris Hopkins Mark Allen Chris Hopkins Mark Allen Chris Hopkins Mark Allen
5-July David Windle Mark Speight David Windle Mark Speight David Windle Mark Speight
6-July CLOSED
7-July CLOSED
8-July Mark Speight  Phil Kelsall  Mark Speight  Phil Kelsall  Mark Speight  Phil Kelsall 
9-July Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
10-July Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
11-July Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler
12-July David Windle Mark Allen David Windle Mark Allen David Windle Mark Allen
13-July Chris Hopkins Mark Allen Chris Hopkins Mark Allen Chris Hopkins Mark Allen
14-July Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler
15-July David Windle John Bowdler David Windle John Bowdler David Windle John Bowdler
16-July Chris Hopkins Mark Allen Chris Hopkins Mark Allen Chris Hopkins Mark Allen
17-July Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler
18-July Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler
19-July Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison
20-July Chris Hopkins  Elizabeth Harrison Chris Hopkins  Elizabeth Harrison Chris Hopkins  Elizabeth Harrison
21-July Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler
22-July David Windle Phil Kelsall  David Windle Phil Kelsall  David Windle Phil Kelsall 
23-July Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
24-July Mark Speight  Phil Kelsall  Mark Speight  Phil Kelsall  Mark Speight  Phil Kelsall 
25-July Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler Chris Hopkins John Bowdler
26-July Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison Mark Speight  Elizabeth Harrison
27-July CLOSED
28-July Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
29-July David Windle Phil Kelsall  David Windle Phil Kelsall  David Windle Phil Kelsall 
30-July Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 
31-July Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall  Chris Hopkins  Phil Kelsall 

The Organists

PHIL KELSALL MBE organist at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom

PHIL KELSALL MBE

How did it all start for you at The Blackpool Tower?
At eighteen I was recommended to play the Hammond Organ in The Blackpool Tower Circus, then I deputized for Ernest Broadbent, former Blackpool Tower Ballroom organist until he retired. The rest is history, as the saying goes!

What made you take up the Organ?
As a boy, I used to frequent The Blackpool Tower's Ballroom regularly. I remember watching legendary organist Reginald Dixon performing. The atmosphere was infectious and I must have imagined myself up there one day!

How does the Wurltizer compare to other organs you have played?
I have played nearly every theatre organ in Britain but with the fine acoustics of The Blackpool Tower Ballroom, the Wurlitzer makes a totally unique sound and in my opinion is one of the finest ever built by Wurlitzer.

What particular highlights stand out during your time at The Blackpool Tower?
The most memorable has to be The Blackpool Tower's Centenary Celebrations in 1994. Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Ballroom and I was honoured to be introduced to them both.

How do you feel every time you rise up on the Wurlitzer in front of an audience in The Blackpool Tower Ballroom? 
I do sometimes think as I'm halfway through the stage what a strange way of earning a living!

In June 2010 Phil was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for what was described as a "35-year love affair" with The Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

Chris Hopkins organist at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom

CHRIS HOPKINS

Chris started playing the organ at The Blackpool Tower in 1995, since then he has developed his own unique style and has become a firm favourite with the dancers.

Over the years The Blackpool Tower Ballroom has had numerous electronic organs to compliment the Wurlitzer organ, more recently the Wersi Louvre, and the present model the Roland AT900, Chris has always been the first to embrace these vast technological instrument’s and manipulate their potential. Chris is equally at home on the Mighty Wurlitzer.

Chris has made numerous TV/ Radio appearances promoting The Blackpool Tower Ballroom, including Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s FavouriteView.

In more recent years Chris was invited to play [the Organ] at his beloved Manchester United for their foundation.

When he is not at The Blackpool Tower he can be found wandering the Lake District, or the Scottish Highlands where he is a keen Landscape photographer. Chris is also a fully qualified Approved Driving Instructor and has helped many of the staff at The Blackpool Tower through their driving test.

John Bowdler organist at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom

JOHN BOWDLER

Born and educated in Wigan, Lancashire, John began playing the Organ at the age of eight. He always had a keen interest in the Wurlitzer from when he used to regularly visit the Ballroom as a child. John joined Blackpool Tower as one of the team of resident organists in 1987. He took up his position at the age of sixteen, straight from school.

In addition to playing the Wurlitzer at Blackpool Tower, John has also played his own Technics GA3 Organ for concerts at Organ societies and festivals, as well as dances all over the country. He has also made several TV appearances, meeting many celebrities along the way.

John has had some horses named after him over the years, by the horse owner and friend of his, Paul Dean. Paul is a former turf accountant who has been a keen dancer at Blackpool Tower for many years. These horses include “John Bowdler Music”, “Bouncing Bowdler”, “Bowdler’s Magic” and “Sir John Bowdler”. “Bouncing Bowdler” achieved much success when he finished in second place in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, and was placed second at Glorious Goodwood in the Queen Mother Molecomb Stakes. These provided memorable days out for everyone involved.

Away from Blackpool Tower John enjoys walking, especially on the fells in the Lake District.

Health