The Rye Wurlitzer Academy presented an evening of big band music at the Milligan Theatre in Love Lane last Friday, February 2. The UK Big Band Sounds, led by Darren Vassie, and introduced as always by the inimitable Richard Moore, entertained over 120 people. The band were joined by international theatre organist and tutor Michael Wooldridge playing on the Wurlitzer, including a rousing “Tribute to Glenn Miller”. UK Big Band Sounds gave a lively rendition of popular tunes by the likes of Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie to the enjoyment of the crowd, who recognised most of the numbers, instrumentals and vocals.
The Rye Wurlitzer Academy, a registered charity, is based at Rye College. The 1925 2-manual 6-rank Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ is now a part of the the Milligan Theatre, housed beneath the stage, and has been fully restored for use. Not very much beats the sight of the Wurlitzer coming slowly up through the stage in all its glory!
The scheme offers free tuition on the restored organ to students during their school day, with Michael Wooldridge offering tuition one to one. Read more on the website.
Founder of the scheme Richard Moore, wearing fine examples from his wardrobe of silk waistcoats, acted as master of ceremonies, introducing among others Jayden Vicarey, head boy at the Rye Academy and a talented singer, to the delight of the audience. Reminded by Richard of the excellent homemade cakes ready to be eaten in the interval, the audience joined in wholeheartedly with the proceedings.
All receipts from these events go towards the scheme, to keep it afloat On May 11, there is a Sixties Roadshow, including a buffet supper and on October 12, a jazz night with Liane Carroll and a fish and chip supper! All events are listed on the website with start times of 7:15pm. Tickets are usually available on the door, or call Richard Moore on 01424 444 058
Photo: Gillian Roder