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.
|1-Oct||Mark Speight||Phil Kelsall||Mark Speight||Phil Kelsall||Mark Speight||Phil Kelsall|
|2-Oct||David Windle||Phil Kelsall||David Windle||Phil Kelsall||David Windle||Phil Kelsall|
|3-Oct||Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall||Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall||Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall|
|4-Oct||Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall||Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall||Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall|
|6-Oct||David Windle (10-11am)||
Mark Speight (11-12pm)
|David Windle (12-1pm)||
Mark Speight (1-2pm)
|7-Oct||Chris Hopkins (10-11am)||Phil Kelsall (11-12pm)||Chris Hopkins (12-1pm)||Phil Kelsall (1-2pm)||Chris Hopkins (2-3pm)||CLOSED|
|8-Oct||Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall||Chris Hopkins||
|Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall|
|9-Oct||David Windle||Phil Kelsall||David Windle||Phil Kelsall||David Windle||Phil Kelsall|
|11-Oct||Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall||Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall||Chris Hopkins||Phil Kelsall|
|12-Oct||Chris Hopkins (10-11am)||John Bowdler (11-12pm)||Chris Hopkins (12-1pm)||John Bowdler (1-2pm)||Chris Hopkins (2-3pm)||John Bowdler (3-4pm)|
|13-Oct||David Windle (10-11am)||
Mark Allen (11-12pm)
|David Windle (12-1pm)||
Mark Allen (1-2pm)
|David Windle (2-3pm)||
Mark Allen (3-4pm)
|14-Oct||Chris Hopkins (10-11am)||Elizabeth Harrison (11-12pm)||Chris Hopkins (12-1pm)||Elizabeth Harrison (1-2pm)||Chris Hopkins (2-3pm)||Elizabeth Harrison (3-4pm)|
|15-Oct||Chris Hopkins (10-11am)||John Bowdler (11-12pm)||Chris Hopkins (12-1pm)||John Bowdler (1-2pm)||Chris Hopkins (2-3pm)||John Bowdler (3-4pm)|
|16-Oct||David Windle||Mark Allen||David Windle||Mark Allen||David Windle||Mark Allen|
|17-Oct||Chris Hopkins||Mark Speight||Chris Hopkins||Mark Speight||Chris Hopkins||Mark Speight|
|18-Oct||Chris Hopkins||John Bowdler||Chris Hopkins||John Bowdler||Chris Hopkins||John Bowdler|
|19-Oct||Chris Hopkins||John Bowdler||Chris Hopkins||John Bowdler||Chris Hopkins||John Bowdler|
|20-Oct||Mark Speight (10-11am)||Mark Allen (11-12pm)||Mark Speight (12-1pm)||Mark Allen (1-2pm)||CLOSED|
|21-Oct||Chris Hopkins||Mark Allen||Chris Hopkins||Mark Allen||Chris Hopkins||Mark Allen|
|23-Oct||Mark Speight||David Windle||Mark Speight||David Windle||Mark Speight||David Windle|
|24-Oct||Chris Hopkins||Mark Allen||Chris Hopkins||Mark Allen||Chris Hopkins||Mark Allen|
|30-Oct||Mark Speight||Mark Allen||Mark Speight||Mark Allen||Mark Speight||Mark Allen|
|31-Oct||Mark Speight||David Windle||Mark Speight||David Windle||Mark Speight||David Windle|
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 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.
Born and educated in Wigan, Lancashire, John began playing the Organ at the age of eight. He's currently surpassed his 30th year as one of the team of resident Organists at The Blackpool Tower. John took up his position at the age of 16, straight from school.
In addition to his commitments at The Blackpool Tower, John travels the country extensively undertaking concerts for Organ Societies and playing for dances. He has made several appearances at the Organ festivals all over the country.
John has been interviewed by various radio stations in the country. He has also made several T.V. appearances on Granada, BBC and Swiss Television. In 1997 John made his international debut in Amsterdam, completing a successful concert weekend.
To complement John's live performances, he also has a series of recordings, made both at the world-famous Wurlitzer Organ of The Blackpool Tower Ballroom and his own Technics GA-3 Electronic Organ.
John was voted as “Organist of the year” for 1998 by 2 Organ Societies, Verwood Organ Society in Dorset and also Top Note Organ Society, Leyland. Horse racing fans may have noticed “John Bowdler Music”, a horse originally owned and named by Paul Dean, a turf accountant and keen dancer at The Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Paul also purchased another horse which he named “Bouncing Bowdler” which has enjoyed much success. Amongst the horses’ biggest achievements, are a marvellous run to finish in 2nd place in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and was placed 2nd at Glorious Goodwood in the Queen Mother Molecomb Stakes. These provided memorable days out for everyone involved. But more recently Paul purchased a 2-year-old horse named “Bowdlers Magic.”