|Happy Birthday Arnold!
Arnold Loxam at the Odeon Leeds
Available on CD
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1 How High The Moon
2 Quickstep Medley: I'm in A Dancing Mood / You Were Meant For Me / Jeepers Creepers / Bye Bye Blues
3 Mighty Like A Rose
4 Strauss Waltz Medley
5 Gipsy Mood (Brahms Hungarian Dances, Dark Eyes)
6 My Grandfather's Clock
7 The Woodchopper's Ball
9 Two Sambas: El Cumbanchereo / Cumana
10 Harbour Lights / The Nearness of You
11 12th Street Rag
12 Wedding of the Painted Doll
13 The Petite Waltz
14 Kiss of Fire
15 Piccolissimo Serenade
16 Come back to Sorrento
Arnold Loxam is a native of Bradford, Yorkshire and gave his first broadcast there as a child pianist in 1925. In 1946, after he had mastered the organ, the opportunity arose to deputise for Norman Briggs at the New Victoria Cinema Bradford , which was the beginning of a long association with the Wurlitzer there. Arnold gave his first solo broadcast on the BBC Theatre Organ on November 29th 1947 and the first from the New Victoria, re-named Gaumont, in 1951 - the year he and Audrey were married.
On June 4th, 1950 he gave his first concert for theatre organ fans at the Gaumont for the very first meeting of the Northern Area of the Theatre Organ Club. He played frequently for the organ clubs after that first experience, and at a meeting of the Cinema Organ Society at the Odeon, Leeds, in January 1961 I had the privilege and pleasure of being on the same bill and the Loxams and I have been friends ever since. Arnold often visited the Tower Ballroom Blackpool to hear his idol Reginald Dixon and fifty years later his dream of playing there at the Tower came to fruition when he was appointed to the team of organists for the 1983 to 1988 seasons.
He has appeared in concert almost everywhere that it is possible to play in England, and has also played concerts in Holland, Canada and the United States. North American audiences always remember the Union Jack socks that he proudly wore at his concerts and they happily recall the famous "Loxam bounce." In recognition of his lifetime of making music for the enjoyment of people at home and abroad the University of Bradford awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in 1996.
This recording was originally released by Concert Recording in the United
States in the late 1960's. Bill Johnson, the owner of Concert recording, has
graciously provided the original master tape so that Pipe Organ Presentations
could release this CD as a tribute to Arnold on his 90th birthday. Thankfully,
at a time of life when many people have long since given up playing, at the age
of 90 Dr. Arnold Loxam is still giving concerts and still thrilling audiences.
So...Happy Birthday, Arnold!
Don Thompson, May 30, 2006
At the time of this recording the Wurlitzer organ in the Odeon Theatre, Leeds had the only console remaining in a cinema outside America in what Wurlitzer termed their "Modernistic Design." Two came to Paramount Theatres in England, destined for theatres built by that company, the other one went to the Paramount Newcastle. The theatre was re-named the Odeon but much of Paramount’s luxury remained till the late 1960s, for at the last redecoration few changes were made to the original scheme, and even the huge Japanese-style painted panels around the auditorium were restored. The organ console was situated on the extreme left of the orchestra pit. The three manual console controlled nineteen ranks of pipes and accessories. The organ was divided, with the Main on the left of the auditorium and the Solo on the right. The organ was still in excellent mechanical order at the time of this recording, and although it no longer formed part of the theatre's daily shows, it was regularly featured on Sundays by Arnold Loxam, and was one of the organs most frequently broadcast by the B.B.C. The model of Wurlitzer was of a specification which appears to have been originally designed for some of the Balaban and Katz theatres, but which was subsequently used in several Paramounts in America. When the organ was removed it was purchased by George Cushing and installed in his complex in Thursford, Norfolk, where it remains to this day and is still featured regularly in concerts and presentations by guest organists and by the resident organist for the last twenty-five years, Robert Wolfe.
Grateful thanks are due to Alan Ashton, the British broadcaster and journalist, for his assistance with this project. Alan's radio program may be heard at www.organfax.com