International concert organist Nigel Ogden, who for 38 years presented the popular BBC Radio 2 programme The Organist Entertains, heads to Porth on June 1st where he will appear in concert at one of Wales’s most unusual music venues.

Paul Kirner’s Music Palace opened three years ago and is a ‘living’ museum dedicated to organ music as entertainment. The building contains a spacious concert room which is home to the famous ‘Christie’ theatre organ originally played by the legendary Sidney Torch at the Regal cinema, Edmonton, north London in the 1930s. The organ – which is regarded worldwide as one of the finest of its kind – spent fifteen years installed at the Memorial Hall in Barry before it moved to the Rhondda. With four keyboards, over a thousand pipes, and a full battery of real percussion instruments including a grand piano, as part of its make-up, the Christie organ is truly a one-man orchestra!

Who better to exploit its resources than Nigel Ogden? Born in Manchester, the son of a church organist, Nigel began playing piano and classical organ in his youth, but by the time he was a teenager his father was encouraging him to try his hand at the lighter side of organ music, using the Wurlitzer organs then at the Odeon and Gaumont cinemas in the city for practice. Before long the manager appointed Nigel as the regular weekend organist playing before the films at the Gaumont. He made his first LP record in the early 70s, and during that decade first broadcast on the BBC Radio 2 programme The Organist Entertains. When the show’s instigator Robin Richmond retired, Nigel took over as presenter – a post which he held for 38 years before his retirement from the BBC last year. Happily Nigel is still responding to the demand for him to play in concert around the UK, and this will be his first visit to Paul Kirner’s Music Palace.

Founded by Leicester organist/entertainer Paul Kirner, the Music Palace – situated in the former Saron chapel, in South Street, Ynyshir – houses three other theatre pipe organs in addition to the Christie, a collection of vintage electronic organs some of which Nigel will also feature, and other memorabilia.
Nigel Ogden in concert, Saturday June 1st, at Paul Kirner’s Music Palace, South Street, Ynyshir, Porth, CF39 0EG. 1.30pm, doors open 12.45pm, Tickets £7 at the door.
Contact Ben Snowdon 07974 813445 Email: