This website and all images contained herein - © Rye Wurlitzer Academy 2024
American organist Tony Wilson giving a student masterclass

Len Rawle MBE - International Concert Organist & Restorer As an international

performing musician and theatre organ preservationist with 50 years experience, I write in full support of

the above, a worthy addition to young students' education. There is a resurgence of interest in quality

light music both here and abroad, however it cannot be sustained without proven teaching principles and

facilities. The Rye opportunity falls into the category of being able to offer specialist development of this

rare art form. It is something that is being increasingly valued by students and the public alike. Thanks

to those in the past who have seen the value of music as a worthy part of life’s education, many

colleagues and I have been able to maintain some of our most interesting musical instruments. We

have also been able to spread the joy of live music making. The task that this project will assist will be to

help keep ‘The King of Instruments’ alive for future generations.

Ken Double - President and CEO of the ATOS On behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Theatre Organ Society, I wish to write to you and express our sincere appreciation for the great work you are doing. What you are accomplishing at the Rye Academy is nothing short of astounding. A wonderful instrument; installed in an outstanding institution of learning; enthusiastic staff; and a growing group of young people learning to play, and perhaps more importantly, learning to appreciate this wonderful art form. It is a most worthy endeavor and deserving of support from your constituents across England and beyond. Ann Cockerham - Former Executive Principal, Rye Academy Trust (Retired August 2016) - We feel incredibly privileged to have Michael Wooldridge leading our Wurlitzer Academy. He has inspired many of our young people to want to learn to play the Wurlitzer and has given them tremendous encouragement to develop their skills as organists. We are also most grateful to Richard Moore for his vision in starting this initiative and to those organisations which have sponsored the project, enabling this invaluable tuition to become reality. Tony Wilson - Los Angeles Based Organist The RWA is the only organization in the world that provides consistent, competent and professional education for youth on an increasingly rare and historically significant theatre pipe organ. I have not seen such a strong and practical heritage educational program like it in my many years as a musician. The program is proven, as I have personally seen the musical growth trajectory of a number of the students over the last three years, and am absolutely amazed at what they have accomplished. Without the RWA, there would be few people who could carry on the legacy of the increasingly rare theatre pipe organ, and very few artists who could play them. Also, students would not have the fulfilling experience of learning music or the self esteem building experiences that result from their successes. Matthew Bason - Organist, Entertainer & Teacher May I say what a wonderful pleasure it was to work with the Rye Wurlitzer Academy Students. What RWA has achieved in such a short space of time is incredible and long may it continue. The students are genuinely interested in the instrument and the music, which makes teaching much more productive and enjoyable - keep it up guys, you are doing great things Mrs Sara Stonor DL - The Vice Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex What a fabulous evening you gave us at Rye College last week. The story of the Wurlitzer Academy is wonderful and the work that Michael and you have put in is truly inspiring. To see so many children performing and loving every minute was very touching. The ones who had been playing for some time were obviously very accomplished, but even those who had played for a very short time were happy to play and that is a great tribute to all you are doing. ...and from some of our RWA Students... I like having Wurlitzer lessons because it is an unusual instrument and Michael is a good teacher. It has lots of cool sounds and it’s really fun to watch it sink! David My experience of playing the Wurlitzer has been amazing! Seeing how this instrument works and learning to play it is really fantastic! I have really enjoyed playing it. I have learnt some nice pieces and the piece I am playing right now (Any Dream Will Do) is one of my favourites. I think you should definitely think about starting it! Esther When I first started playing the Wurlitzer, I was a bit surprised at how difficult it was. I am getting better now that I understand the techniques. Toby
Some kind words from some of the key people who have played an important part in the life of the RWA
Len Rawle MBE ATOS President Ken Double meets the RWA Ken Double Ann Cockerham Tony Wilson Matthew Bason Lord Lieutenant's Crest RWA Logo Len Rawle MBE in concert at the Ipswich Christie with RWA Student Jamyma Hanson Organist Byron Jones presenting the RWA's Jamyma Hanson & Thomas Pickering in concert at his Wizard Compton in Bristol
Select any photo to enlarge it
Rye Wurlitzer Academy