Rye Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ

Year 11 student Jamyma-May today celebrated her 100th lesson with our Rye Wurlitzer Academy (RWA).

Through this unique and free project, Jamyma has loved playing not only our historic Rye Wurlitzer and her home digital orchestra (provided by the RWA for practise) but also very special trips to the north of England last year, which included an opportunity for her to play the world famous Wurlitzer at Blackpool's Tower Ballroom and, the previous year, to be a part of a group of RWA students on a fully paid trip to visit the American theatre Organ Society Convention in Los Angeles.

She celebrated recently with a jar of special homemade Celebration Jarmalade and doughnuts provided by RWA founder Richard Moore and our RWA Principal Tutor, international musician Michael Wooldridge.

We are very proud that at the end of July this year Jamyma and several of our other Wurlitzer students will be flying the flag for Rye College and our RWA as an entrant in the UK Young Theatre Organist of the Year Competition being held in Solihull.

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Rye College is home to an historic 1925 Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, the second oldest in the country.  Following some donations to the Friends of the Rye Wurlitzer, a charity run by enthusiasts who have restored the organ to tip top playing condition, we have been thrilled to be able to offer students some free theatre organ lessons in our Rye Wurlitzer Academy.

We are very proud of this trial project, as there is only one other similar scheme in the whole world, in America, on the outskirts of New York, and we have been thrilled to see the tremendous interest shown by our students, under the guidance of acclaimed international theatre organist Michael Wooldridge, with support from organist and preservation expert Len Rawle MBE and organist Matthew Bason.

Besides lessons at Rye, we have also run a few trips to see other installations where the students could play different organs and also learn a little of how to maintain these complex instruments.

Having seen remarkable levels of interest and enthusiasm in our historic Wurlitzer organ from the children, we now hope to be able to source funding to enable the project to continue long into the future.

If you are interested in supporting the project, please contact Harriet Catt

For more information about the Wurlitzer and future public concerts visit www.ryewurlitzeracademy.org.uk

For more information about Michael Wooldridge visit www.michaelwooldridge.co.uk or contact him on his college email address