Chris Hopkins and his Wersi Abacus
Chris Hopkins
& his portable Wersi Abacus

From Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Chris Hopkins

4th March 2006

Chris Hopkins concert pictures

Chris Hopkins chats to the audiance at Basildon Keyboard Club
Chris Hopkins in concert at Basildon Keyboard Club
Chris Hopkins at Basildon Keyboard Club
Chris Hopkins at the Basildon Keyboard Club
Chris Hopkins plays Wersi Abacus
Chris Hopkins in concert

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As a small boy Chris Hopkins wanted to get a closer look at that 'huge white thing' coming up through the floor and when he did, his future career was mapped out. He has not only been playing the famous Wurlitzer in Blackpool since he was 21, but also the Wersi Louvre, another white 3 manual organ, which has been in the Tower since 2001. For his concert at the club however, he brought the Wersi Abacus Duo.

Opening with the Wurlitzer sounds Chris began his concert with I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside before delighting us with some lush string sounds with the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagne. Lionel Richie's Hello followed, with some nicely moving shapes in the background, before playing a Reg Dixon Tribute with a couple of waltzes, namely Under The Linden Tree & Fascination.

A big band arrangement of I've Got You Under My Skin was next. More strings, guitars and the saxophone for the History of Love & She, a huge hit for Charles Aznavour in 1974, both set to a gentle rumba. Back to the Wurlitzer sounds with some singalongs: Keep Your Sunny Side Up - Dardonella & Toot Toot Tootsie.

Memories of the Beatles followed with Ferry Across The Mersey, inclusive of Seagulls and engine sounds. Some classical music in the shape of Viennese Waltzes, namely Artist's Life - Loves Dream After The Ball & Waltzing Over The Clouds was contrasted by the 1970's Country & Western hit Mississippi by the Pussycat Group before taking us up to Scotland with Dark Island with those beautiful sounds of the Scottish Bagpipes.

Taking us up to the interval The Bachelors made a welcome appearance with another hit, rarely heard these days I Believe.

Refreshed by tea & coffee the audience were ready for more good music. From his album 'Jupiter', we had Andrew Llloyd Webber's All I Ask Of You played with just violin and strings, then cleverly linked by a few bars from Phantom Of The Opera to The Music Of The Night.

We were enjoying a lot of music from the Seventies; Moondance was a Van Morrison hit from the American film Werewolf, which naturally included some authentic howling!

A serious car crash put paid to Julio Iglesias' hopes of becoming a goalkeeper for Real Madrid. He was given a guitar in hospital, nurturing his interest in music. Begin The Beguine was a 1981 hit for him, which Chris played with guitar and organ sounds for us, closely followed by More.

We then had Memory from the show Cats, which was based on a collection of comic verses by T.S. Eliot and has been the longest running musical in history. Cavatina from the Deerhunter lends itself beautifully to the sounds of the guitar, to which Chris also added rain and a thunderstorm! Keith once again had fun with the lights whilst Chris brought the Wurlitzer back for us with some lively Happy Feet - Sweet Georgia Brown & the 12th Street Rag.

Chris then played us the theme from A Summerplace by the Austrian born American film composer Max Steiner. Introducing some mandolin sounds we heard the main theme from the film the Godfather, which Chris followed with Ann & John's favourite tune Angel in Blue. A Neil Diamond hit was next entitled Love On The Rocks.

Basildon tradition demands an encore, Chris very happily obliged with his very own arrangement of the 'Concierto d'Aranjuez' by Joaquin Rodrigo, set to a Latin beat. Most unusual, but beautifully done. Many thanks to Chris for travelling from Blackpool to entertain us so well.

More about Chris Hopkins

It was Frank Lythgoe, the highly regarded Steam Organ Enthusiast, who first recognized Chris Hopkins' talent, and Chris openly accredits Frank's support. Chris is the first to say that Frank's support was instrumental in his moving to Blackpool's Tower Ballroom in 1995.
Chris Hopkins entered his first season as a Blackpool Tower Ballroom organist in 1996 and has come to be regarded as one of the lynch pins by many who regularly frequent the Tower ballroom.
Chris is to be found entertaining his audience not only through the season, but also through most of the winter months when it is mainly the 'Regulars' who frequent the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
The Wersi Louvre entered the Blackpool Tower Ballroom in 2001 and Chris eagerly embraced its advanced technology and rapidly developed a rapport with the instrument, developing a repertoire that enables him to demonstrate not only the versatility of the Wersi, but his own, individual style.
Having embraced Wersi technology, Chris acquired the Wersi Abacus Duo Pro. It is principally on this instrument that he will be performing on in concert
Chris has made Numerous TV and radio appearances throughout his career at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, playing music for film sets and television programs; he is no stranger to camera.
A more recent engagement saw Chris playing [wersi] for his beloved Manchester United football team at a private retirement celebration at Old Trafford.
Contact Chris Hopkins

A few pictures from the Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Why not come along to a Basildon Keyboard Club Concert, you will be made very welcome, have a great evenings entertainment, a complimentary cup of tea or coffee with biscuits and of course experience the delights of live music played on top of the range electronic organs & keyboards by the best players.