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Event Recap: Dendy Cinema Theatre Organ Tour 2021

Bright and early, on the Saturday, I was picked up by President Bennadetti and his old-boy, Lars. It was

Motafrenz was invited to tour the inner workings and a demonstration of this wonderful 1924 Wurlitzer theatre organ at the Dendy Cinema theatre in Brighton and we were blown away.

A very small attendance but thoroughly enjoyable to hear and see the inner workings of this famous theatre organ and a big thanks to both Nick Lang and Scott Harrion of the Theatre Organ Society of Australia (Vic Division) for making this event possible.

Nick Lang, welcomed us as a group and gave us a tour of this organ and all it’s pipes, pumps, plumbing and of course all it’s bells and whistles. This organ was originally installed at the Capitol Theatre and was one of a kind being a display model at the time with the order being dropped if they couldn’t buy the display example.

Now housed in the Dendy Theatre Brighton, the theatre has seen two rebuilds of the cinema and the organ still sounds amazing given that the room is acoustically dead. That is, there is no resonance or echo for which these instruments are typically in need of. Nonetheless it certainly sounded bright with an amazing amount of features and still sounded amazingly powerful.

After Scott Harrison blasted out some amazing tunes from Jesus Christ SuperStar to Carrol King songs. Then we were treated to a Fantastic Voyage through the inner workings of the instruments behind the cinema screen. This included a Wurliter piano without a keyboard and almost every other instrument you could imagine. A new Midi sound recording system has now been installed so we were treated to being on the inside while the instruments were playing reminding us of that 1966 movie where they miniaturised humans to navigate around the inside of a human body.

The organ is coming up to its 100 year birthday in less than two years and big celebrations are planned for this event.

At the end of our two hour tour, the cinema was automatically configuring itself for it’s Sunday matinee with lights dimming and curtains moving so the organ console had to be pushed away to its hiding place and we had to be ushered out or suffer the consequences of Val Morgan advertising in full swing. We were all thoroughly blown away so we then enjoyed a bite to eat and coffee at the lovely Dendy Deli down stairs and that was it for an amazing and delightful Sunday morning.

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