Sidmouth concert success with Nigel Ogden

Organist extraordinaire wows Sidmouth audience at Methodist Church

NIGEL OGDEN is an organist extraordinaire, writes Mary Hasbury.

Having been broadcasting for nigh on 40 years, he is unbelievably accomplished at keyboards, whether church or Wurlitzer organs, or pianos.

He is breathtakingly adept at all of them.

We were fortunate to have him back at Sidmouth again, and a packed audience welcomed him to the Methodist Church.

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He loves our town, and the ‘antique’ organ, built in 1840; although enlarged and refurbished since then, has a long list of 1,100 pipes and an amazing array of stops and pedals.

This latest visit was sponsored by Sidmouth Methodist Church in aid of Sidmouth in Bloom and Mrs Joy Seward, its president, welcomed Mr Ogden, who proceeded to entertain us in his inimitable style.

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Beginning with two pieces to commemorate the recent royal wedding – Russ Conway’s Royal Event and Robert Farnon’s State Occasion, he followed these with music the couple could have had, which brought in all manner of flowers: the Floral Dance, all from familiar well-loved melodies.

Once again we were aware of this musician’s complete mastery of the keyboard, indeed one could scarcely credit that one pair of hands could accomplish such complex variations of tone, volume and style.

We also heard lullabies, a medley of songs from 1961, some James Bond signature tunes and nostalgic snippets of favourite classics cleverly constructed.

Following the interval there was a new departure. The large screen that had been showing the keyboards in detail now treated us to a 20-minute good old silent movie starring Laurel and Hardy in a crazy adventure, with Mr Ogden supplying thrilling musical accompaniment throughout.

This was heartily applauded, and had clearly gone down well with the children present.

Finally there were more popular excerpts from the classics, followed by memories of popular songs from the forties, and a vibrant That’s Entertainment, giving a last flourish.

After sustained applause we were treated to a stunning arrangement of Country Gardens on the grand piano.

Heartfelt votes of thanks were given by Joy Seward and Jane Sutherland-Earl, representing Sidmouth in Bloom.

The event was organised by John McGregor (organist), promoted by Michael Edgecumbe and assisted by members of the Methodist Church.

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