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Allens music extravaganza 2019 review

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    Allens music extravaganza 2019 review

    Hello fellow home organists.

    As per usual a few words on this years event.

    Another visit for me to Peterborough Friday home Monday and finally worked out the buses from the train station. Last year as we know Lowrey it was discovered at the event were about to fold which rather put a damper on that whole weekend, but this year was very different indeed with the emphasis very much on Versi aka Wersi organs. A big push was clearly on and having chatted to quite a few home players last weekend orders for them were being taking probably many Lowreys taken in exchange. I'll be interested to see how people go on going to the dark side as the Wersi is far away from a 50K Lowrey I would guess in auto player world.

    Liked the Wersi having 'had a go' with the OAX800 seeming to be the most popular model although I seem to be reluctant to part with my Hammonds.

    Concert wise I didn't get to much myself as my flu jab backfired leaving me with some pretty hard going side effects. Doctor said I was unfortunate to be the 1 in 100 who suffered..great. I made a couple of workshops and the highlight for me was Trev and his talk about Lowrey and the new organs they are working on with two American companies the first was not quite ready for the event. These will not be Lowrey but a new brand and all new inside the box.
    I did see some pictures and they are not going to be massive hand crafted furniture pieces. I with them well with the new developing.
    They also spoke about the incorrect info that was being posted on the web when Lowrey was folding and full detail what actually happened last year was given and helpful to Lowrey owners who were concerned about spare parts as I am for my 2 stroke Vespa now that its also gone west from the market place due to emissions.

    Although I was groggy this time the whole event was so different it for me did sort of get a bit over Wersi and much less Lowrey which for any owner used to seeing Lowreys must have been disappointing. The other down side is we had no real names/showman playing or not that I knew anyway.

    Overview: Numbers were lower and the food was passable this time with things generally cut back a few felt. Some meals were landing cold and small.
    I skipped one meal enjoying a nice 5 mile stroll into town watching the leaves fall in the sun and had a hot meal out for the change. The hot veg helping my shivers.
    My ward at the hotel was a fridge at night but after a few attempts to get a room heater one was found around 3am on the last day. 4 star not! My neighbours were also shivering and older than me.

    It'll probably be the last time I go mainly due to home health but it was nice to have a go at the Wersi range and also the Ringway....but that is another story.

    Improvement?
    It would perhaps be nice to have a copy of the timetable included when our bookings are confirmed as its impossible to get one from the bus station.
    Heating in rooms at night particularly in Oct and a frost on the ground.
    Hot food and some recognisable entertainers and people were complaining.

    Nothing like last year but we all wish them well with the Wersi shift and new products to come.

    Last edited by Hammond-Organist; 10-31-2019, 02:55 AM.
    HAMMOND XE200 Special Edition

    #2
    Thanks for the review, good to see you had a good time.
    Regarding players I thought the top Lowrey players were supposed to there, along with Robert Bartha for Wersi.
    The rooms should be heated without needing a separate heater, sounds like there has been a change of management or priority’s, as people who have gone to previous events have loved it.
    Regarding buses, use google maps or traveline to plan your route (Choose the public transport option) and it will show you where to catch the bus, the number, the times and where to get off, so all you have to do is print it out for both the out & return journey.
    As to Wersi, the 800 is over the top for most folks (Unless you heavily use real time controls) and would be better off with the 600 (17 Pedals) or 700, (25 full pedalboard) as the features and sounds are the same for all models from the OAX1 right up to the Pergamaon.
    Also have a look at the Bohm’s, (And if you can find a dealer Bemore) or a used Roland Atelier, (Their pretty cheap these days) as I find the current Wersi’ are pretty C**p at the moment. (Awful sounds, limited features etc.)
    I had been a Wersi fan since the late 70s (Still have my Abacus) but since they introduced the V2.00 software for OAX, I would not recommend them to my worst enemy. (There have been minor improvements with later updates but they still fall short)

    Bill

    Comment


      #3
      Hi there - well isn't it interesting how different people see things in different ways! So I attended the event arriving on the Thursday so to give me plenty of time to drive up from South London.
      First off let me give a big thank you to the Allens team for arranging the show and another thank you to the performers. Really was extremely well set up and delivered a 'feast' for organ lovers.

      This was only the second time I had attended the event and since I am venturing back to learn to play!

      My experience of the hotel was a little different to 'Hammond-Oranist' on entering my room I was 'hit' by a wall of heat just like being cooked in an oven and also within seconds heard a clunk clunk clunk coming from the ceiling - there was no way of stopping this as i tried the air conditioning fan but made no difference. I spoke to reception and have to say they were very quick on giving me another room over the other side of the upstairs balcony. So made my way for the evening meal - this was quite good and I guess maybe around 16 of us all sat together. Jim Vogelman gave an introductory presentation after the meal which was the first time I had heard him play but I discovered that he had been attending the Extravaganza' s for many years in the past. An excellent player which was enhanced by the fact that due to his vast experience of working for Lowrey in designing their styles and his showbiz contacts and knowledge he was always able to give some background history of the music played which I found very interesting.

      So off to my room and as i walk in i go to draw the curtains and unfortunately found evidence of bed bugs - two large patches of what appeared to be bed bug excrement! Having suffered these in the past when my local hospital kindly gave me a family to take home which took 4 years and £28000 to remove I was down to reception in super speed i can tell you! Reception though once again were very quick to respond. Came to check my discovery and within seconds i was this time being helped back to my original room which by this time 12.30am had been repaired and had no clunking coming from the ceiling. However the room was still just like an oven - turning the air con on gave no respite since the air con was only able to recirculte the air and gave no cooling whatsoever. This heat problem continued until Sunday whereupon the temperature suddenly dropped like a stone and this time i could find no method of warming the room!!
      Last part re the hotel only to agree with H-O in that the vegetables were generally cold - my broccoli was like trying to cut down a tree and due to an organisational change we had to wait for our pre-ordered meal to be served rather than self serve as it was last year and this mean't a wait of around 30 minutes between courses bring the end of the meal quite close to the start of the evenings performance.

      The performances I found really excellent with Jim Vogelman really pushing the sounds of the Lowrey and showing just how wonderful the Lowrey can sound - 'slightly' over ran his time slot on Sunday but and excellent performance again with many anecdotes about his musical pieces. Robert Bartha - who again I had not heard before also showed the Wersi capabilities and had a very appreciative audience. Leigh Wilbraham performed on the Saturday on Wersi - first time at the show I believe and gave a very professional and friendly performance - a man to watch out for i think. Of course the event wouldn't be the same without Trevor Flounder and Tom Horton both very pleasant people and excellent performers

      I attended a number of the workshops - Trevor telling us about the future company plans to ensure the home organ survives - Tom explaining 'organ sounds' - Jim teaching song arrangements - Leigh answering questions about the Wersi. I have to say here that the Wersi appears to have a multitude of simple to use controls to adjust just about every sound available enabling you to tailor the sound to your own liking so I'm a little puzzled as to why this organ would not be liked other than not having any song specific styles as on a Lowrey. I also attended Lucy Curtin's workshop where she showed us some of the 'fun Lowrey features' by teaching us the song Summer Nights from the musical Grease. An excellent lesson which as always she made a really fun and enjoyable workhop.

      All together then an excellent event with lots for everyone to enjoy - well done Allens.

      Looking forward to next year then.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks to both of you for sharing your thoughts on these events.

        I am very intrigued to see the first organs from that crazy zombie brand they’ve brought back to life to give Lowrey dealers something to continue to fleece pensioners with. First Wersi, then Ringway. Now a third Chinese manufacturer presumably making models that slot between them on price?

        I increasingly agree with H-O, now that Roland are no more it would be Hammond or bust for me if I was buying new. I have no faith in the longevity of any of the last men standing, and with the exception of Ringway, none are cheap enough to take the risk on you being left with a lemon.

        Average age of the crowd at the event chaps? Are we into triple figures now?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by seamaster View Post

          Average age of the crowd at the event chaps? Are we into triple figures now?
          Probably not far off!!!

          Will certainly be interesting to see the price range. They were saying that small new organs will be available shortly but it will be 18 months to 2 years before they have developed anything like the larger Lowrey and say they will be much further developed.

          Comment


            #6
            Interesting bits and pieces of info. I lament that Wersi never thought to introduce a successor to the Pegasus Wing. When hooked up to a pedalboard it is a fine home organ around the $2500 -$3000 Range depending on activations. While it was not as flexible as true OAS, it seemed a better instrument than the Ringway 400/600.
            It will be interesting to see the new low-end.

            Comment


              #7
              FourEyes Oh and thanks for offering me your cold Broccoli veg at the first meal but I was happy with my cold peas. Nice to have a laugh with you once again even if I felt like a Lowrey searching for parts I was pleased however I missed the big cake and milk. Hope it was skimmed..
              You were lucky to have a sweat box room on the left lower number ward...sorry left wing. Ours was frozen each night, I do believe an elderly couple were taken really poorly on my Ward 2.

              Age Seamaster.. With the greatest of respect very old and many quite frail. The elderly chap I usually keep an eye on each year has departed I was sorry to hear a sweet man.
              I think the mid Versi was about 20K. How that works having trading in a 40 or 50K machine I'm not sure.

              There was me saying I was probably be the youngest and was pipped to the post by a chap just a few months younger than me with his new heart valves.

              Upside: They did have a Lowrey Prestige Plus there and I do still like the Prestige having played another quite a bit. We were actually talking Hammond at one point YAY!!!!! in a small group when they were all saying about going Versi way. I'm guessing a sea on Lowreys will soon be for sale as result. Strange how quickly people can drop out and move to a new scene.

              Well I'm off to my next adventure shortly having awarded myself a day off work to see Howard Beaumont play that excellent Kawai, hope a new CD is out soon. One of the top guys I'll try and get a photo or two at the seaside.

              Take care all.

              PS Did have a go on the big Versi but I couldn't get the correct balance from the top manual. Prob just me.
              HAMMOND XE200 Special Edition

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Hammond-Organist View Post
                FourEyes Oh and thanks for offering me your cold Broccoli veg at the first meal but I was happy with my cold peas. Nice to have a laugh with you once again even if I felt like a Lowrey searching for parts I was pleased however I missed the big cake and milk. Hope it was skimmed..
                You were lucky to have a sweat box room on the left lower number ward...sorry left wing. Ours was frozen each night, I do believe an elderly couple were taken really poorly on my Ward 2.

                PS Did have a go on the big Versi but I couldn't get the correct balance from the top manual. Prob just me.
                Hello H-O glad you were happy with your cold peas - who knows they may hold on to your peas and my 'forest Broccoli' until next year! I gave the chopped cake a miss - looked very suspicious......remember what I mentioned about my cousin's husband when he was in charge at Skyways Hotel at Heathrow!! Sorry to hear about the elderly couple - I'm still trying to come to terms with the reduced temperature I now find myself in - when I came out of the hotel I felt I had been roasted for 4 days on the middle oven shelf at 180 degrees!!

                Oh yes.........fancy trying to stand on the Wersi top manual and losing your balance!!...........Actually I believe there are a number of different ways in which sound balances can be changed on the Wersi so guess you didn't find that hidden one!

                Enjoy Howard - all the best

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Hammond-Organist View Post

                  Well I'm off to my next adventure shortly having awarded myself a day off work to see Howard Beaumont play that excellent Kawaii
                  I thought the Kawai had been pensioned off. Hope not.

                  Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
                  Current: Yamaha AR-100

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Hammond-Organist View Post
                    There was me saying I was probably be the youngest and was pipped to the post by a chap just a few months younger than me with his new heart valves.
                    I laughed out loud at that and immediately felt rather guilty for doing so!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Is there going to be another one of these Music Extravaganzas next year or was this the final one?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I'm sure they will keep it going particularly as the Wersi interest seemed to be taking off. Most seemed happy to part with a few thousand and trade in last year Lowrey. The problem they have is the event was really built for Lowrey owners but no new organs are being made now and spare parts was a concern over here in the UK. The first China made models the store is involved in are due anytime, I think they were branded Estay or something similar.
                        Best wishes
                        HAMMOND XE200 Special Edition

                        Comment


                          #13
                          So, the Estey branded organs will be Ringways?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            The small Estey's will be built by Ringway but with rhythms and styles by the Lowrey guys. Due at the first of the year is what I was told last week.
                            td

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I wonder why Kawai is being so difficult about licensing the Lowrey brand? It has no residual value to them. Indeed, if this new venture is a success, they might have made a few yen.

                              Comment


                              • andyg
                                andyg commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Knowing Kawai, there will be a sound commercial reason! Probably either: 1) The new company didn't offer enough money. or 2) They're going to use the name again at some point. Not organs, but Lowrey would be a fine old American name that they could put onto something like a new range of pianos, digital or acoustic.
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