Worthing WURLITZER
Walt Strony Concert
2007

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Worthing WurliTzer centre stage

Worthing WURLITZER centre stage
Photo: © Webbwize

Opening by John Leeming

John Leeming opens the proceedings with a warm welcome
Photo: © Webbwize

It's nearly four years since Walt Strony has played the Worthing WurliTzer, but like the last time (when we waited ten years!) it was well worth waiting for.

The event was introduced by John Leeming who is always appreciative of a first class organist, and he went on to remind us that for those of us who can make the trip, Walt will also be playing at the Radio City Music Hall, for the ATOS Convention.

It is most unfortunate that the large audience of four years ago did not all return this time, although Walt is certainly World Class to be able to attract celebrity UK organists such as Richard Hills and Simon Gledhill as part of this year's audience!

Walt Strony

Walt Strony
Photo: © Webbwize

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 Walt Strony at the Worthing WurliTzer

Walt Strony at the Worthing WurliTzer
Photo: © Webbwize

Regardless of having a smaller audience, Walt played as though he was entertaining millions, and as you might expect from a man who has written a book on the subject, Walt used a vast range of registrations and clearly knows how to pull the last ounce of dynamic range from the instrument.

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Of course Theatre Pipe Organs all need careful preparation and subsequent maintenance, and the Worthing WurliTzer is no exception. Purists have complained that it's an amalgam of two WurliTzer organs, but this is actually not the case, but the organ has been well thought out as an instrument typical of its style, and is maintained in the most pristine condition and is a constant credit to Jim Buckland (its founder) and his team. For a resumé of the organ's history click here.

Walt Strony in concert

Walt Strony in concert
Photo: © Webbwize

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 Walt Strony announces his requests

Walt Strony announces his requests
Photo: © Webbwize

Walt is never short of requests for music to perform and many of these arrive by email. He brought them with him this time and we were not disappointed. Starting with a very lively "Putting On The Ritz" interspersed with snippets of "Rondo A La Turque", a musical trip round many of the States in the USA and parts of London as a tribute to the late Tom Hazleton and as a finale - Richard Rodgers' "Victory At Sea".

Walt complained of being somewhat sleepy due to jet-lag but still chose to play "Tiko Tiko" as an encore, with some interesting and intricate "waterfalling". If Walt can play that well whilst he's fast asleep, God knows what he can do when he wakes up!!!

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Walt Strony at Worthing

Walt Strony at Worthing
Photo: © Webbwize

Those of you who are observant will notice that the venue at Worthing has changed a little since Walt last visited, with the addition of some extra lighting making an interesting spectacle. None of this comes cheap, and with costs spiralling and audiences apparently dwindling (despite their dedication organists do actually need to eat) if we want continued entertainment by such celebrity organists as Walt Strony and we want the Worthing WurliTzer to actually survive, we do need to patronise the concerts as much as possible, and we need to bring in "new blood" to swell the numbers. It's sad to say that if we don't help to put more bums on seats, we are going to lose these wonderful instruments forever, and the great organists (such as Walt) who play them, will find other ways to earn a living!

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