Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life Members

As an enduring thank you to past Members of the Club who served us well and beyond the bounds of usual duties, the Club has from time to time found it appropriate to honour certain Members with Life Membership. In this regard, it is with pleasure that the under-mentioned Life Members are remembered on this Roll of Honour.
Peter Torckler Founding Member and past-President 
Laurel Jonkers Past Secretary (deceased) 
George Watt Past-President serving in Office for two lengthy terms 
Jean Watt Past Committee Member 
Gordon Sutherland Former Treasurer/Secretary/Current President from 2008
George and Jean Watt being congratulated on their election to Life Membership on the occasion of our March 2009 AGM. Gordon Sutherland the current President on the right of the photo presents flowers and hugs to Jean and a congratulatory hand-shake for George.
George and Jean have an acoustic piano at home which was purchased on the occasion of their marriage and so George has had plenty of time to master his wonderful style of piano play. George and Jean also have a Technics GA3 organ similar tot the one the Club currently owns (2009). Jean has difficulty playing these days but used to be a dab-hand at getting fantastic arrangements and rhythms out of the GA3. They still handle the raffle for the Club each month as well as man the door for the entry fees. As a long-serving past-President, George is also a very helpful resource for guidance from time to time.


Life Member, Laurel Jonkers (Dec'd), playing her Technics ensemble piano at her home in April 2008 which was the Club's Coffee Day. Laurel was very active in the early days of the Club for which we are eternally grateful.
Below: Our founding member of the Club, Peter Torckler, cutting the Club's Birthday Cake to celebrate our 21st Anniversary in 1998
NSAOKC Peter Torckler 21st B'Day

Past Presidents of the Club

I have been able to piece together the past-Presidents of the Club with the assistance of Club members including: Ngaire Lonergan; Molly Scott; Irene Darby and George Watt and so thanks for your help. The chronological order may not be quite accurate and the periods in office are approximate. If anybody has any additional or more accurate information in this regards please contact the current President or Secretary to the Club.

1977 ~ 1978  Peter Torckler (Life Member)
1978 ~ 1980  Dave Deamer (deceased)
1980 ~ 1981  Len Bough (deceased)
1981 ~1985   Harry Beesely (deceased)
1985 ~ 1987  Molly Scott (deceased)
1987 ~ 1988  Barbara McNab
1988 ~ 1993  Verne Christiansen (deceased)
1993 ~ 1998  George Watt (Life Member)
1999 ~ 2000  Joan Remnant (deceased)
2000 ~ 2002  Ann [Kay] Izzillo
2002 ~ 2008  George Watt (Life Member)
2008 ~           Gordon Sutherland (Life Member)

I believe that this would make the North Shore Amateur Organ and Keyboard Club by far the earliest established organ and keyboard music club on the North Shore that is still going and going strong at that!

Our Club meets Country and Western

 A photo provided courtesy of Ann Izzillo (a past President of the Club). Ann had her arm 'twisted' to write a few background words about the photograph below, from around the year 2000. The writer was present at at least one of this Trio's performances and can attest that Ann is too modest as the Trio were great entertainment. The photo shows Ann Izzillo, Tony Vinton and Joe Izzillo playing at the North Shore Amateur Organ Club. Looks like they were having a lot of fun as a C & W Trio!

In Ann's words:

"In about 1999, members of the North Shore Amateur Organ Club as it was known then, decided to form a trio, they were: Ann Izzillo on the Organ: Joseph Izzillo on the Accordion; and, Tony Vinton on Guitar. Between them there was heaps of enthusiasm if not the ultimate in talent. Actually the practices were the most fun, each "Musician" (and I use the word loosely) did his/her own thing, and if the trio finished on the same note at the same time, the practice was considered a success! They called themselves the JKT Trio, and did actually have a modicum of success playing several times on Club Night, and performing at Northbridge Retirement Village on two occasions. We also played at Creative Keyboard Club in Brown's Bay,no one walked out as  far as I am aware! The trio separated in 2004, when Ann and Joseph moved to Rotorua, I seem to recall we did get together one more time, but then, after Joseph's untimely death in 2005, the trio was no more.

Looking back, it is staggering how much pleasure can be given to other people, with a smile and a bit of enthusiasm".

Izzillos and Vinton Ornamental Frame

Len Bough

One of our early Presidents was Len Bough (deceased) a keen organist and very much proactive when it came to charitable functions such as the Telethon's of years gone by. If any body has any additional information to share about Len Bough and the Club please let the current President or Secretary know for possible updating this Web Blog. The lady in the background is, I believe, a current member as at March 2009 - twenty-seven years on from when this photo was taken back in 1982. The lady is a very youthful looking Vera Wrightson.

Len Bough

Thanks go to Club Member, Ngaire Lonergan, for providing this great photo from her archives!

Verne & Violet Christiansen

When the writer of this article joined the Club back in 1991, the President was Verne Christiansen (deceased) and it was great to receive a warm and friendly welcome as I did not know anybody in the Club at that time. Verne maintained the tradition of playing for the St Anne's Club for the Blind who used to meet in their premises at Gibbons Road, Takapuna and in the same lounge where we stored our organ. The St Anne's Club for the Blind used to have a morning/lunch session on the first Tuesday of each month (if not more frequently) and this coincided with our meetings in the evening.

I had the pleasure of going to one of Verne and Violet's Coffee Days around 1992 when they lived up at old Torbay and as can be seen from the newspaper clipping, Verne had one the current Yamaha Electone models with lots of whistles and bells to play with! Verne and Violet moved to Taupo (I think) and spent the rest of their days in that area.

Again, the Club is indebted to Ngaire Lonergan for digging-up this old newspaper clipping from 18th April 1989.

Verne Christiansen

TVNZ's Telethons

The North Shore Amateur Organ Club (as it was known in the early days i.e. minus the Keyboard bit) was active in the Community both in terms of playing concerts at various venues to build Club funds but also for worthwhile charitable causes. One of these charitable events that the Club was involved with on two occasions was the now almost forgotten TVNZ's Telethons that used to last for a full 24 hours on a Saturday/Sunday once a year. These Telethon's raised hundreds of millions of dollars for charitable causes. The Club is proud to have contributed to such events.

The Club participated in the 1982 Telethon and as can be seen from the Newspaper clipping below this lasted for 28 hours at Shore City Shopping Mall and with a roster of members keeping the 'orgathon' going without stop! I understand such current members as: Molly Scott; Laurel Jonkers; Ngaire Lonergan; and Doug Farr were active in getting the organ shipped around the North Shore for outplaying events such as the Telethons. The newspaper clipping shows our then Club President Len Bough (deceased) sat at a Baldwin organ which presumably was the one used for the Orgathon. The writer is not sure whether this was the Club's organ at the time or borrowed.

Please let the current President or Secretary know if you have some anecdotes from the past that involve the Club and you would like to share for posterity.

Orgathon 1982

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Celebrating the Club's 21st Birthday Party - October 1998

Some pictorial memories of an extra special Club Night in October 1998 to celebrate the Club's 21st Birthday. There were some rather special guests in the audience that night including amongst others:

Peter Torckler - Founding Member and Life Member
John Bult - President of the Creative Keyboard Club of Browns Bay (now deceased)
George Watt - President of the Club and a Life Member
Laurel Jonkers - Founding Member and Life Member
Roger Smith - Musical Instruments Distributor
Darren Smith - Musical Instruments Distributor (now with MusicWorks HQ)

The Club had just recently acquired its current organ, a Technics GA3 and which can be seen in some of the shots as can a Technics ensemble piano which Darren Smith would have kindly brought along for the occasion.

NSAOKC Cake 21st B'Day 

NSAOKC Peter Torckler 21st B'Day

Peter Torckler, befittingly cutting the celebratory 21st Birthday cake. Peter was the initiator in founding the Club back in 1977 in the heady "A" days of electronic organs.







NSAOKC Aubrey Wilson 21st B'Day Tags



Legend: A = Roger Smith; B = Darren Smith; C = George Watt; D = Peter Torckler;
E = Aubrey Wilson





NSAOKC Peggy n Vera 21st B'Day Tags

Above Legend: A = Jack Briscoe; B = Jim Nicholson; C = Vera Wrightson;
D = Peggy Cowan (deceased); E = Shirley Linney;
F = Aileen Davidson; G = Sam Davidson (partly obscured)

NSAOKC General 21st B'Day Tags

Above Legend: A = Aubrey Wilson; B = Thelma Wilson; C = Darren Smith


NSAOKC John Bult 21st B'Day

Now deceased, John Bult in the foreground






NSAOKC Roger Smith 21st B'Day









The Club is indebted to our past-President, George Watt, for 'digging-up' these photos from the past and so that the memories can be shared with past, present and future members of the Club.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Various Photos of Members (Past and Present)

The Club in indebted to various members for providing the photos below and so that we may remember some of our past members who may no longer be with us but the memories of the person and the music remains.

The Club in indebted to various members for providing the photos below and so that we may remember some of our past members who may no longer be with us but the memories of the person and the music remains.

NSAOKC Arnold Gotlieb

Arnold Gotlieb (now deceased) playing the GA3 organ. This would have been taken around the year 2000. Arnold used to host Coffee Days for the Club and had a lovely Yamaha AR100 organ at his home. Photo courtesy of George Watt.





 NSAOKC Verne Christiansen

Above, Verne Christiansen, past-President, playing a previous Club organ and having the distinct honour of playing for His Worship the Mayor, George Gair, who can be seen 'strutting his stuff' on the ballroom floor. Photo courtesy of George Watt.

Verne used to host Coffee Days for the Club and was a great organ enthusiast. The photo would have been taken around 1991.

NSAOKC Laurel Jonkers 27th B'Day Tags


Legend: A =  Ken Mahy; B = George Watt; C = Laurel Jonkers.

The photo was taken at the Club's 27th October Birthday Club Night in 2004.

Laurel is a pianist and former music teacher. She has both an acoustic piano and a Technics ensemble piano at home.

Photo courtesy of George Watt.


George Wood


'Cutting the cake' at another Club Birthday party ca year 2000. Legend:
A = Ngaire Lonergan;
B = President, George Watt; C = Club Patron, George Wood.

Photo courtesy of George Watt.

George Watt






President, George Watt, standing 'guard' over the delicious looking Club Birthday cake!

Photo courtesy of George Wood.






Legend for Photo below: A = Pam Rea; B = Molly Beesley; C = Peggy Cowan; D = Cristal; E = Molly Scott. Cristal is a very good pianist despite being severely sight-challenged and was a member of the Club. Photo courtesy of George Watt.



Ailsa Hinton



Legend: A = Ailsa Hinton, former Club Secretary for many years in the 1990's; E = Joyce King; C = Jack Briscoe; D = Vera Wrightson; B = Jim Nicholson.

Photo courtesy of George Wood.






Vic Clarke.





Long-time member of the Club, Vic Clarke taking a little rest! Vic has had a variety of organs and keyboards but has concentrated on his Internet 'surfing' in recent years as his partial sight inhibits his ability to drive at night.

Photo courtesy of George Wood.



Laurel Jonkers

Above: Laurel Jonkers savouring the music at our former Club Rooms, The Crosslands Lounge, Gibbons Road, Takapuna. Photo courtesy of George Wood.\

Peggy Cowan


Peggy Cowan (now deceased).  Peggy was a keen member of the Club and held many musical dinner parties and hosted many Club Coffee Days. Peggy had a Yamaha Electone EL25 organ for many years and finished with a lovely Roland ensemble piano.

Photo ca 2004 courtesy of Club Secretary, Colleen Kerr.






 Clare Davidson 2 




Clare Davidson playing her faithful Lowrey organ. Clare has been a long-time member of the Club. Clare has a very good voice and used to sing in a music variety group at the Northbridge Village Retirement Home that she now lives in. Clare tends to favour semi-classical music (lots of dots).


Photos of Clare courtesy of Club Secretary, Colleen Kerr and taken in 2009.



Clare Davidson


Lenore Truscott

Lenore Truscott, again a member of the Club for many years, playing her beloved Technics GA1 organ. Lovely mellow flutes on these magnificent organs. Lenore has had a career in show business also and in the heady days of the Civic Theatre Lenore was in the cabaret dancing and singling chorus girls line-up. Oh to have been around a few years ago! Lenore likes semi-classical music although her eye sight is making it more challenging to play these days. In years gone by, Lenore used to stage a musical variety show of about 30 minutes duration and put these on for the Club's Christmas Club Night. Not only did Lenore arrange the choreography but she also trained her fellow companions in the art of tap dancing and expression as well as making all the costumes for the shows. Similarly, Lenore used to put on regular variety shows at the Northbridge Retirement Village that she now resides in. A very talented lady!

Photos of Lenore courtesy of Club Secretary, Colleen Kerr and taken in 2009.


Lenore Truscott 2


Lenore Truscott 2nd July 88





Here we see Lenore Truscott showing off some of her dancing moves at the 2nd July 1988 Coffee Day.







Lenore Truscott & Group at Crossland Lounge ca1990









Above Left to Right: Lois Rickman; Margaret Van Urk; Vera Wrightson; Ngaire Lonergan; Ailsa Hinton; and choreographer of the song and dance group, Lenore Truscott. The photos was taken at the Club's former Crosslands Lounge room and about 1990.

Margaret Van Urk 2nd July 88

Margaret Van Urk feigning playing the violin at the 2nd July 1988 Coffee Day. Margaret and husband Fred were long time members of the Club but moved to Australia about 1990.












Coffee Day 2nd July 88


More Club members enjoying 2nd July 1988 Coffee Day - looks like this was one heck of a party what with organs, violins and saxaphones!



Connie Bough and Hilda Latimer Lady Allum 1982 

Connie Bough and Hilda Latimer posing at the Coffee Day at Lady Allum Home in 1982




Connie Bough and Jo Cooper Lady Allum Home 1982





Connie Bough and Jo Cooper at the Coffee Day at Lady Allum Home in 1982





Hilda Stone Lady Allum Home 1982



Hilda Stone at the Coffee Day at Lady Allum Home in 1982





Jo Cooper Ngaire Lonergan Connie Bough Lady Allum 1982




Jo Cooper at the keyboard with Ngaire Lonergan and Connie Bough bringing up the percussion and vocals!





Ngaire L and Len Bough Organ Club 3rd B'Day




Members of the Club celebrating the Club's 3rd Birthday party in 1980. Is this their normal attire or maybe a costume dress-up party! In the middle you can see Len Bough and Ngaire Lonergan.






Monday, March 9, 2009

A Club Newsletter from the Early Days!

The Club owes its existence to Peter Torckler who in 1977 sold organs and established the Lowrey Organ Club - Lowrey organs were very popular in the 1970's and were always at the leading edge of technology. As the Lowrey Club became more popular, Peter suggested that the members may wish to formalize the Club and as more and more members owned different brands of organs, it was suggested that the Club may wish to consider changing its name to the North Shore Family Organ Club. So that is how the Club evolved into the North Shore Organ Club and at some stage the 'Amateur' tag was added and about the year 2000 the name of the Club was changed again to its current name "North Shore Amateur Organ and Keyboard Club" (NSAOKC for short). Courtesy of Ngaire Lonergan a copy of one of the earliest Newsletters is presented below - the registration tips on page two are just as relevant today as they were 30 years ago!

Torckler Newsletter p1

Torckler Newsletter p2

Barry Kent's Wersi Helios Organ

It is rumoured that about 30 years ago, the most famous organist in the World, Klaus Wunder lich, gave up playing organs because he was frustrated that they were not powerful enough to change orchestrations on the fly whilst used in a concert performance. At that time Wersi organs of West Germany developed a computerised organ with the capability of instant registration changes with realistic orchestral sounds. This tempted Klaus back into public performances! With this background, a member of our Club at the time, Barry Kent, decided he would love one of these and although they were very expensive, they were about the only major organ company that allowed you to buy one direct in a kit format. Barry thus imported the parts and spent many months putting the components and circuit boards together. I seem to recall being invited to his home one day and say the organ under construction - quite a frightening array of electronic parts all over the show! However he finished the project and ended up with a $30,000 organ for $16,000 (not counting the hundreds of hours of labour to put it all together!).

Barry Kent Wersi Photo

Barry Kent - Wersi Text
Above news clipping is courtesy of Ngaire Lonergan's archives.