Phil Kelsall

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Phil Kelsall
Birth namePhilip Julian Kelsall
Born (1956-07-13) 13 July 1956 (age 63)
OriginWarrington, Lancashire
Occupation(s)Theatre organist
Years active1977–present

Philip Julian "Phil" Kelsall MBE ALCM (born 13 July 1956) is an English theatre organist who has been principal organist at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom since 1977.[1] Born in Warrington he was inspired to learn the instrument by Reginald Dixon and was initially appointed as organist for the Tower Circus band aged 18 in 1975; he also deputised for Ernest Broadbent in the Ballroom itself. This followed his attending Rossall School in Fleetwood, an independent day and boarding school where he was taught by Robin Proctor who subsequently became Director of Music at Cheltenham College. After Ernest Broadbent's retirement, he was appointed Tower organist in 1977.[1][2]

Noted for his distinctive Dixon-inspired "Blackpool style"[3] of playing, he has made numerous appearances on television and radio playing the Tower's 1935 Wurlitzer organ, especially on the long-running BBC Radio 2 programme The Organist Entertains, which he has occasionally guest presented.[1] He has also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, Sam on Sunday, Friday Night is Music Night and Play It Again. During the Tower's closed season, Kelsall plays the Thursford Collection's Wurlitzer for their annual Christmas Spectacular shows.[1][4] He was awarded an MBE in the June 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours list.[2]

In 2013, he released his 59th album on the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer.

On the 18th of June 2017, a special concert hosted by The Organist Entertains Nigel Ogden was held to celebrate Phil's 40th year as Tower Ballroom Organist.


  1. ^ a b c d Biography,, Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b Organists,, Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  3. ^ British organists,, Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  4. ^ Douglas McPherson, Thursford Christmas Spectacular, The Stage, 17 November 2008

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