Dave Nicholas, October 2009
|Birth name||Dave Nicholas|
|Instruments||Theatre organ Hammond organ|
|Years active||1955 – present|
|Hammond organ, Compton Organ|
He was born in 1935 opposite the Plaza Cinema, Birkenhead. His earliest memories of organ music are of recordings the late Kenneth W. 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 instrument where he commenced studying under Frank Gordon and Ian Hamilton. He gained a reputation for his organ playing. His career in show business began at the Plaza Cinema. Nicholas remains a fan of Compton organs.
Following the demise of the cinema organist role, Nicholas went on to play for 12 years at holiday camps, most notably Butlins, where he played his own Compton and Hammond organs. 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 Classic Movie nights and noted that he had never missed a 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, two of which are available on his personal website. The first was recorded in 1972 on a Hammond A100 with a Leslie Tone Cabinet and titles Around the World with Dave Nicholas. The second 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. Dave has his own YouTube channel showing video footage of him playing in various styles and demonstrating the capabilities of the pipe organ.
Nicholas has played with or met many of the greats of the cinema organ world. In 1968 he dueted with Reginald Dixon at a Conn Organ Promotion and played on the same bill as him at a cinema in Glasgow. He appeared with both Reginald Dixon and Charles Smitton at the Odeon Cinema Bolton. Nicholas met Leslie Bourne of Compton organs, the inventor of the Melotone unit found on their instruments.