Dave Nicholas

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Dave Nicholas
Dave Nicholas.jpg
Dave Nicholas, October 2009
Background information
Birth name Dave Nicholas
Born Birkenhead
Occupation(s) Cinema Organist
Instruments Theatre organ Hammond organ
Years active 1955 – present
Website http://www.davenicholasorganist.com/
Notable instruments
Hammond organ, Compton Organ

Dave Nicholas is the UK's only resident cinema organist and at 20 years is the longest serving organist at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.[1]


Born in 1935 opposite the Plaza Cinema, Birkenhead. His earliest memories of becoming interested in organ music are of recordings the late Ken Griffin made featuring the Hammond organ. By now he was living a mile or so away from the Compton organ at the Plaza and found himself drawn to this organ where he commenced tuition from Frank Gordon and Ian Hamilton. He rapidly gained a reputation for his organ playing and his career in show business was founded at the Plaza Cinema and to this day Nicholas remains a stalwart fan of Compton organs.

Following the demise of the cinema organist Nicholas went on to play for 12 years at holiday camps, most notably Butlins,[2] where he played his own Compton and Hammond organs. After this he returned home to Tranmere and took up a position as the organ and piano demonstrator for the Rushworth's store in Liverpool city centre.

Nicholas took the post of resident cinema organist at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall where he plays the magnificent Rushworth and Dreaper organ for the Classic Movie nights and he is proud to quote that he has never missed a single night of playing there in over 25 years. On top of his cinema organ work Dave is also Organist for the United Reformed Church close to his home in Tranmere.


Nicholas has released several audio recordings of his organ music, two of which he has kindly made available for people to hear on his personal website. The first of these was recorded in 1972 on a Hammond A100 with a Leslie Tone Cabinet and titles Around the World with Dave Nicholas.[3] The second recording Nicholas made available at his website was recorded in 1997 at the console of the Rushworth and Dreaper organ at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and is titled The Golden Age of the Cinema Organ and features music that was typically played on Cinema organs in their heyday from 1912 through to 1939[4] More recently Dave now has his own YouTube channel showing video footage of him playing in various styles and demonstrating the capabilities of the pipe organ.

Notable occasions[edit]

Over the years Nicholas has either played with or met many of the greats of the cinema organ world, both players and innovators alike. In particular 1968 was a memorable year for him as during this 12-month period he dueted with Reginald Dixon at a Conn Organ Promotion then went on to feature on the same bill as him at a cinema in Glasgow. Following on from this he also appeared with both Reginald Dixon and Charles Smitton at the Odeon Cinema Bolton. Nicholas has been introduced to Leslie Bourne of Compton organs the inventor of the Melotone unit found on their instruments.


Nicholas has a sharp sense of humour and has been heard to say all of the following in personal interviews:-

Recently after having the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra playing Happy Birthday for him he asked the Philharmonic hall if he could have a reserved spot in the car park for his Zimmer frame now he's a pensioner

Many years ago when I used to play for dancing the Waltz was always in 3/4 Time now we've gone decimal it's .75

Back in those days you had to play in "real terms", these days it's always "terms and conditions"


External links[edit]