Many Happy Returns to Dave Nicholas
As many of you may know, Chester Cinemas group member Dave Nicholas is a fine and distinguished professional theatre organist.
And this year is Dave’s eighty fifth birthday this Monday the 29th June and it also marks 33 years of playing as solo resident organist at The Liverpool Philharmonic.
Dave was born on June 29th 1935, very aptly, opposite the Plaza Cinema in Birkenhead, Merseyside, that had a 3/12 Compton Theatre organ. His parents moved in 1938 to Tranmere, Birkenhead, where, at the age of nineteen, he started playing organ professionally at the Plaza Cinema during the ice cream intervals. He played there for five months but as the organ was sadly fading at that time he had to finish. Dave had organ playing lessons from Ian Hamilton and Frank Gordon at the Ritz Cinema in Birkenhead in 1956.
Dave started playing at the Sandon Hotel Liverpool in 1957 and at The Knot Hotel in Ellesmere Port, and The Charing Cross Club in Birkenhead in 1960. He played in local clubs and also played at Butlins in 1961 and in 1964 at Clacton Park Dance Festival where he played ‘Fun Jenja’ which became known as ‘March of the Mods’
Then after a break in September 1967 he played at the Regent Hotel Blackburn.
Then next came, Woods Bolton and demonstrating Conn organs he played the first three manual Organ at the Frankfurt show.
Dave also performed a couple of duets with none other than Blackpool’s very own, Reginald Dixon, at Kingston upon Thames.
Dave went back to Butlins in June 1969 till 1973.
During the Butlin years he was at the Metropole during the winter playing at Skegness , Filey, and then Clacton for three years in 1974 also touring for Yamaha. During the summer, Dave played at Scarborough and also for Robinson Cleaver.
Having had to stay at home because his father was ill he started with Rushworths Music Store from 1976 until 1977.
Then after many varied venues he played for Lord Lichfield at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. From that time in June 1987 and onwards Dave has had solo residency at the Philharmonic hall and has been in this unique situation with the oldest orchestra in the world. The original hall unfortunately burnt down in 1933.
However the new hall, built in 1938, has a unique rising cinema screen and is the only surviving one of its kind.
This screen is just the job for projecting on to it vintage silent movies that Dave can accompany on the organ as used to happen in cinemas across the country early in the twentieth century.
The orchestra was given Royal Patronage in 1957.
Dave is unique in being the only resident solo organist in a concert hall in the country. Dave has recorded 4 LPs, cassettes and CD at the Philharmonic Hall between 1987 and 1997.
May we all wish our distinguished group member, a very, very, happy birthday, good health, and many more years ahead in his wonderful career.