About The Society
The American Theatre Organ Society was founded in 1955 by a group of dedicated theatre-organ enthusiasts in America, whose main aim was to preserve the musical magic of the mighty theatre organ for future generations.
Such was the success of their endeavours that new 'Chapters' as the Americans called them, branches to us, began to flourish throughout the length and breadth of the land. Today the society has thousands of members in nineteen different countries - thus making it by far the largest theatre organ society in the world.
There are now chapters in countries as far away as Australia and New Zealand, whilst the United Kingdom is represented by the London and South of England Chapter which boasts a membership of nearly 160 enthusiasts all bound by a genuine love for theatre pipe-organ and its captivating sounds.
The International highlight of the year is the Annual Convention, usually held in America, but in 1999 our chapter was the host when it was held in London. Representatives and enthusiasts from Chapters throughout the world get together on these occasions for a series of theatre organ concerts, seminars and social events. As always the musical entertainment is provided by the worlds top recording artists.
Full members also receive the bi-monthly deluxe magazine "Theatre Organ". This is a superb publication packed with interesting articles, photos, playing tips and technical features to delight the true theatre organ lover.
Click the link below to go to the parent site in the US.
London and South of England Chapter
With around 160 full members and 300 associates throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, our Chapter is renowned for its enthusiastic leadership and wide range of activities. Great emphasis is placed on encouraging the younger generation of budding theatre organists and the annual "Young Organist of the Year Competition" is a great favourite with members of all ages.
This competition was started in this country by Mrs. Edith Rawle, wife of the founder member of our Chapter, Mr. Les Rawle. This initiative was taken up by the parent body in America and all selected Chapter winners now come together for an "International Young Organists of the year Competition" held as part of the annual Convention.
Concerts are arranged at Woking Leisure Centre and were also arranged at the State Theatre Kilburn - sadly in 2007 Kilburn was closed and at present it is not possible to have concerts there. Go to the concerts page to browse the current concert list.
Occasionally members have the chance to join coach trips to visit interesting venues on the Continent and also to play host to visiting organ lovers from there and America.
Members with special skills and technical abilities are encouraged to join the Chapter technical maintenance team, which does so much to keep our instruments in such fine playing condition. Whatever your particular interest in the theatre organ you are assured that our friendly Chapter members will offer you a very warm welcome indeed.
The London & South of England Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, number 293238.