Restored Organ Is Music to His Ears; Young Star Brings Back Past

The Journal (Newcastle, England), November 16, 2010 | Go to article overview
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Restored Organ Is Music to His Ears; Young Star Brings Back Past


Byline: Sarah Scott

To see a video of Carl Heslop playing the organ log on to www.journallive.co .uk LEFT unused in a cold barn, this organ would once have taken pride of place at your local cinema.

Now with a bit of tender loving care this 1930s classic has been restored to its former glory.

A piece of cinematic history, it was found in a barn just across the Scottish border in Greenlaw, Berwickshire, by music enthusiast Carl Heslop.

The 18-year-old of Newton Hall, County Durham, brought the Compton cinema organ back to the North East in what he described as a horrible condition in July of this year.

Since then the young musician has spent months working on the organ so it could once again delight audiences at the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle.

"This organ used to be played in the Empire Cinema in Glasgow in the 1920s and 1930s. It was found in a skip outside the cinema in the 1960s by a church group who took it for their church services," said Carl.

"I first came across it when I was 17 via a friend who knew someone who owned it, it was just lying in a barn.

"I went up to Greenlaw in Berwick and collected it and brought it down in July. It was in a horrible condition."

New neon panels have been added to resurrect the instrument to its former glory. "It took over three months to restore it completely and I did put in the most time but I always had at least one volunteer from the Star and Shadow Cinema helping me. It was a community effort," said the talented musician.

Carl has been playing since he was seven and is accomplished on the lounge piano, church organ and the cinema organ.

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