Saxon Hall Welcomes Tony Compton’s Accordion Masterclass and Workshop

Print Email
(0 votes)

Tony Compton a renowned Accordion Jazz player in the UK, Essex freemason and all-round musician organised an Accordion Masterclass and Workshop which was held in Saxon Hall on Saturday, 23rd July.

Tony is proud of the cultural ‘City’ that Southend has become especially with its annual Music Festival. However, it was a student of Tony’s who had won a prestigious award at the Festival only to discover that there were no accordion workshops. Although they would attach the instrument to the piano, woodwind & brass section; with a pianist who would adjudicate.

Tony explained that the accordion is an extremely difficult instrument to play and master. With a keyboard on the right – and on the left buttons that you have to feel for and in the middle the all-important bellows; colloquially known as the ‘box.’

Tony went on to say the instrument is “Misused, Misaligned and Misunderstood” and was adamant that a pianist could not adjudicate; it must be an accordion player!

Therefore, he took up the challenge and set about organising the event.

Some 10 players attended, and each performed a piece of music after which Karon Street, an accomplished accordion player and saxophonist also a composer, who was invited as the adjudicator and gave all the players some one-to-one instruction on how to improve parts of their work to whom all were extremely appreciative for the advice that was given.

Following the formal proceedings, the afternoon ended with Tony performing some jazz in his inimitable ‘from memory’ style, giving way to a bumper round of applause. Also, Karon joined with Tony for a duet of a jazzed-up version of ‘the Flintstones’ theme to which again a rousing round of applause followed.

Tony will be well known by many, for his role as lodge organist for numerous units in Saxon Hall and the previous Southend Masonic Centre, Woodgrange Drive. Tony remembers, as soon as he was made a Master Mason in the Hamlet Court Lodge No. 6026, he was asked if he would like to take on the role and so, that began some 50 years of him playing for the masonic fraternity. Sadly, several years ago the Hamlet Court Lodge was dissolved which was also a signal for Tony to take a back seat and he now plays for just a few units.

However, he still gives private tuition and several of the players this afternoon were his pupils. One in particular, Simon Ramit, who played an electronic accordion which gives a realistic backing to his music while playing such popular themes as ‘James Bond, Mission Impossible and Pirates of the Caribbean.’

Also present was Jack Emblow a dear friend of Tony’s from his playing and working days – Tony stated that Jack has given more to the accordion than anyone and has composed many musical pieces ‘Sing Something Simple, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Last of the Summer Wine, Bergerac’ to name just a few.

Also, another of Tony’s great friends, Dennis Sharp; Dennis likewise has been a lodge organist for some 40 years but, today showed his skills with the accordion.

The afternoon was deemed a great success with all thanks to Tony’s enthusiastic organisation skills and the brave enthusiasm from all the players.


Pictures - Top to Bottom

Tony in action - some of the players - Karon Street - Tony with Dennis Sharp  


Southend Music Festival

Karon Street