EMCOA – Who, What, When, Why?
Cameron Lloyd has kindly agreed to be our Honorary President. I’m sure you will have heard of Cameron through his work with Cannock Chase Organ Club and that group’smagnificent achievement in getting an organ back into the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool. Cameron has also clocked up heaven knows how many miles, traversing the country to playfor dancing and doing his level best to imprint his tread pattern on the road from Birmingham to Blackpool.
Carl Heslop is the Founder and Technical Director, combining these with the role of Chairman. None of this would be happening without his expertise, ambition and willingness to dig deep into his pockets for something about which he is passionate. A professional organ-builder by trade, not to mention an accomplished musician and organist – and he understands Hauptwerk – Carl hails from County Durham, but work brought him down to Melton Mowbray, and thence to his first Conacher. Discovering that what remained of No 1740 (Forum, Coventry then Northamptonshire School, before disposal) in storage in Kent, bought it and moved it back to its spiritual home territory in the East Midlands. That decision fired up the sequence of events which brought us to where we are today.
Chris Sharp -Premises Manager. Chris is a little difficult to categorise. From the outset, he has put his building skills to good effect in constructing the chambers and establishing the auditorium within the Centre. Concreting, Plastering, Structural Woodwork, painting; you name it. He’s also an organist.
Edwin Robinson – Concert Compere and Pipe Maker. When it comes to speaking, not just in public, Edwin has spent hours utilising his expertise to reverse years of damage, dirt and neglect to 1740’s pipework. Soldering, removing dents and polishing have restored the Conacher ranks to almost new condition. Another organist from the North, he has been involved with cinema organs for many years.
Paul Bland – Newsletter and Archivist. I met 1740 in 1964 at school. Clad in mahogany-veneer, it became ‘The School Organ’ with me as sometime custodian.
For the time being, that’s it for ‘Who’, so on to the ‘What’.
Our objective is to establish a centre for all things Conacher and more here in Melton Mowbray.
To achieve that, we have a number of aims: restore and maintain Conacher No 1740 (ex-Forum, Coventry); restore and maintain Conacher No 1739 (ex-Scala/Odeon/Regal, Rotherham); using 1740 as a basis, but maintaining its originality by use of a digital relay system, re-create a 22 Rank Conacher, using, where possible, genuine Conacher pipework and parts, sourced from the other dismantled unit organs; establish and maintain an Archive of documents, photographs, recordings and any relevant items relating to the Conacher instruments, the people who played them and the locations where they were installed.
When the Centre and instruments are ready, we aim to present them in musical performance for the benefit and enjoyment of the members of the Association and, wherever possible, the general public.
Additionally we will seek to form relationships with centres of education who may wish to use our facilities to support their courses in Music
‘When’: is relatively simple. The work has been going on for a while and 1740 is well on the road to recovery. The Centre, variously known as ‘The New Forum’ or ‘Conacher Central’ has come on in leaps and bounds and is nothing like the empty storage unit it was a couple of years ago.
‘Why’: In order to preserve the unique sound of the Conacher organs, and promote and maintain cinema organ music in the East Midlands area, whilst also assembling an archive of materials related to local instruments.