WELCOME to the NETOA
Welcome to the our website. We hope that the Art Deco styling of the site will set the scene for you to enjoy finding out about one of the ‘centre-pieces’ of the golden age of Britain’s ‘super-cinemas’ (which ran roughly from the mid-1920s to the outbreak of World War 2): the mighty ‘cinema’ or ‘theatre’ organ.
On behalf of the Trustees and Friends of the North East Theatre Organ Association, we hope that you will be encouraged to pay us a visit in person to see and hear the only Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ in the north east of England – prepare to be surprised and – we hope – delighted!
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) NEWS:
In line with current Government guidelines relating to “Social Distancing” and the opening of public buildings we have cancelled the concerts / events listed below and closed the New Victoria Centre for all other purposes until the present restrictions are relaxed.
CANCELLED EVENTS: NETOA Annual FETE on Saturday 30th May
Friends of NETOA Entertain on Sunday 7th June
Concert with PHIL KELSALL* on Sunday 21st June
‘All Stars’ Concert with Cream Tea on Sunday 12th July
*If you have tickets for these concerts please contact David Kirkbride to arrange to exchange these for tickets for another concert or obtain a refund.
Kevin Morgan, Jean Martyn and Phil Kelsall (who were due to play in April, May & June this year) are now booked to play for us in the same months in 2021.
We are continuing to keep a close eye on developments and will revue our response to the situation in respect of future events in the light of further official advice in this continually changing situation – please watch the website for updates.
You can find the latest Government advice and lots of other useful information about Covid-19 Coronavirus here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response.
The Government guidelines regarding the closure of venues which are open to the public suggest that a possible relaxation of the current restrictions MAY happen from July, but will remain subject to revue according to the rate of infection at the time. Currently the next SCHEDULED concert at the New Victoria Centre is BOB CHILTON’s Charity Concert on Sunday 9th August – This remains subject to review, so please keep checking for the latest information – Thank You!
A big ‘THANK-YOU’ to everyone who helped to get the latest edition of ‘Pipetalk’ out under the most unusual circumstances. We were not able to meet up to do any of the usual activities related to preparing and sending out the newsletter and the offices of Durham Community Action who usually print it for us are closed, so with much to-ing and fro-ing on line, Mike McLaren pulled all of the material together, Barry and Rosilyn Raine compiled the final PDF and printed the address labels at home (which were then posted to David Kirkbride), John Heslop ordered a new supply of envelopes (we had run out! – for delivery to David) and then he organised the printing – Phil Page at Printing Services in Sunderland sorted out the printing in double-quick time which was also delivered to David; David, Suzanne and Pat Kirkbride had them folded, put in envelopes, labels & stamps stuck on and then posted before you could blink!
Our 2020 Concert Season
Please go to the Events page for full details about forthcoming concerts and events and to order Concert Tickets.
In preparation for the concert season, we have been carrying out a more maintenance and tonal regulation work on the Wurlitzer organ following on from the work carried out last year by Abi and Robert from Balfour-Rowley Organ Builders. Robert has once again been working on the organ’s pipework carrying out tonal regulation to further refine the sound of the organ, paying particular attention to the Violin and Viol d’Orchestre and their respective celeste ranks, as well as the Krumet, Orchestra Oboe and the Diaphonic Diapason pipework. (There are some photographs of work in progress on the Gallery page)
At our concert on 15th March we took various extra precautions to maximise hygiene and protect our audience at the New Victoria Centre against possible infections. Many audience members expressed particular appreciation for the efforts of Suzanne, who organised a rigorous regime of cleaning and sanitisation both before and during the concert, and all other members of the NETOA team for the extra work that they put in.
How to Keep Up-to-date
As well as here on the website, you will also find our concerts listed on www.organrecitals.com (which features lots of organ and concert / recital related information both theatre and classical), as well as on www.organfax.co.uk (where you can find information about theatre and electronic organ events all over the UK). The newly published 2020 Theatre Organ Venue & Events Guide – North of England Edition lists most of the major venues offering theatre organ concerts in the North and copies are widely available (next year it is hoped to make this a national publication).
The best way to keep up to date with what is going on in the NETOA is to Become a ‘Friend’ of the NETOA, or you can keep up with national and international theatre organ news via the Theatre Organ Club and / or the Cinema Organ Society, the two main national bodies concerned with theatre organ history and preservation.
Do You Want to Help Our Award-Winning Charity?
In June 2016 NETOA was honoured to be awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. This is the ‘MBE for volunteer groups’ and we believe that it is the first such award given to a group involved in theatre organ preservation. We would like to dedicate this award to all of the volunteers who have helped, over many years and in so many different ways, to make our project a success!
All of the work involved in running the NETOA is done by a dedicated team of volunteers and you can help in a number of ways: By just buying a ticket & coming along to Concerts and Events!; By ‘lending a hand’ with some of the many tasks that need doing to keep things going; By making a Donation through our ‘Sponsor-a-Pipe’ scheme (see below).
The ‘Sponsor-a-Pipe Appeal’ is a special way that you can contribute to the upkeep of the New Victoria Wurlitzer organ by ‘sponsoring’ one of the 1,375 organ pipes in our ‘mighty’ instrument! Your name (or that of someone you wish to be remembered) will then be added into one of the decorative ‘organ pipes’ in the New Victoria Centre Tea Room along with all of the other ‘sponsors’ – for more details click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to go to the sponsor-a-pipe page.
As a Registered Charity, the NETOA can claim ‘Gift Aid’ on certain donations (including membership subscriptions, donations under the Sponsor a Pipe Appeal, etc.), whereby HMRC add 25p extra in every Pound to the amount given to us. We are most grateful if anyone who is a taxpayer (and has paid sufficient tax) will use the Gift Aid button when joining / renewing as a member of the Friends, or making a Sponsor a Pipe donation. Thank you!
History of the ‘New Vic’ Wurlitzer Organ
You can find a brief history of the NETOA and our Wurlitzer organ on the History page and also the current Specification of the organ. A fully detailed history of the organ, together with information on how the specification has been altered over the years is contained in our Souvenir Brochure which can be ordered from our online store.
This Website is the Quick & Convenient Way to:
- Buy tickets for forthcoming concerts
- Order CDs, NETOA Mugs, Brochures and other items through the NETOA online store
- Join the ‘Friends of the NETOA’ and renew your membership subscription
- Assist with our fundraising through the ‘Sponsor a Pipe Appeal’
Just Some of the Things We Do . . .
As well as our regular concert series where you can see and hear one of the largest theatre pipe organs in Europe played by top-ranking professional players, we also participate in the national Heritage Open Days Weekend in September, an informal day when everyone is welcome to come along and look around (both front-of-house and behind-the-scenes) to find out what a ‘Mighty’ Wurlitzer is all about and talk to the people behind the installation and maintenance of the organ!
People of all ages are fascinated by the theatre organ, its history, its music, its technology and the way in which it played a major role in the social history of the mid twentieth century.
Group Visits & Friends of NETOA
We are happy to arrange private visits for local groups, schools and organisations who wish to find out more about the Wurlitzer. Please contact John Heslop for more details: email@example.com
We also have regular private practice sessions, when members of the ‘Friends of the NETOA’ can play the organ themselves.
We particularly encourage young musicians who are interested in learning to play the theatre organ as well as anyone who is interested in finding out about the technical aspects of this most complex of musical instruments.