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BRIAN SHARP - A LOOK BACK IN TIME

Brain Sharp learnt his 'trade' on the piano and often said that the piano sorted out the men from the boys.    But it was at the Hammond organ that he played for cabaret artistes at a Midlands night club before he became known nationwide as a star keyboard player, featured regularly on the Charlie Chester radio show and later on BBC TV's Pebble Mill at One programme.

In the early 1970's Brian did demonstrations for Arthur Butler, a Bouremouth based company, who was the UK importer for Gulbransen electronic organs, the first manufacturer to produce a piano sound on an organ.   Brian, however, went that one mile further and added an ARP synthesizer, placing it on top of the organ.

Brian had no sales pitch at the demonstration shows that were meant to sell organs - he simply let his playing do the selling.

Later Brian fell in love with the Dutch made Riha Orchestria and Eminent organs which had more of an orchestrial sound, the strings on the Eminent fascinated him.   But when Japanese Kawai organs developed their range of instruments, he became hooked on them to the extent of going to Japan and playing them during his visit.    A large Kawai organ  (T5) was shipped to the UK for Brian to promote for Arthur Butler who became the UK importer.  

Brian had the uncanny knack of being able to play any new electronic organ at the first time of seeing it, like he did on the T5 at the British Music Fair in the UK capital in the late 1970's

It was at the Kawai Organ that Brian made several appearances on the BBC programme, 'Pebble Mill at One' which got him noticed nationwide.   On BBC radio, Robin Richmond delighted listeners by having him to play on The Organist Entertains  and astounded a BBC review panel with his playing.

In 1980 the first National Home Electronic Organ Festival took place at Pontin's Barton Hall Torquay, the flagship of the Pontin's fleet, where Brian had star billing.   The following year a week-long keyboard music festival took place at Pontin's Tower Beach in Prestatyn where Brian again had star billing with a capacity crowd of 2,000 keyboard enthusiasts.

It was in 1984 that Brian appeared in the 'Spring in Spain' keyboard music festivals when he played electronic organs supplied by a Spanish dealer, as did all the other players at the event.  The Spanish festival was organised by Pontin's Pointenental Holidays in conjunction with the British magazine, 'Keyboard Player and Music Maker,' the readers having voted Brian as Britain's Top Player for several years in succession.

The happiest years of Brian's life was spent at Sandford Park Poole, which was owned by Peter Denison and his family, who later sold the holiday park to Weststar Holidays.  For almost two decades, the 80's and 90's, Brian played the Christie pipe organ there and again went that one mile further by adding electronic keyboards to it.  Sometime later, Weststar sadly decided to get rid of the organ in order to give the site a new image.

In the late 90's Brian held several of his own events at a Bournemouth hotel until another player came along took advantage of the enthusiasts in that area.

In 2004 Brian was presented with a Life Time Achievement Award at the British Player Awards held at the Lyme Bay Keyboard Experience in Devon.

In later years George Ingley, with his AOE connection, organised events in Brian's name at a hotel at Bewdley, where despite his poor health and age, he always had standing ovations.

As the banner of this website rightly says, Brian Sharp is indeed a legend in our time and will long be loved and remembered for his music and the pleasure it gave to others.

CG.

 




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