Jonathan Kingston

2019 Willis Pipe Organ Festival

Musical Director: Jonathan Kingston

The 2019 festival will take place from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 September, as part of the national Heritage Open Days weekend.

We’ll be repeating the most successful elements of our previous Festivals again this year. If you’ve been before you’ll know how much fun these are … and if not, save the dates now and join us this year!

We have 3 free daytime events and one evening concert (silent movies with organ):

Saturday Night at the Silent Movies 2019

Saturday Night at the Silent Movies 2019

Saturday 14 September:
Saturday Night at the Movies
Back by popular demand:  Silent Movies with live organ accompaniment - The Wizard of Oz (1925) and Habeas Corpus (Laurel & Hardy).
7:30 pm-9:30 pm

Before the movies, Donald plays a selection of lighter organ music and gives a personal introduction to the films. Laurel & Hardy star as a pair of reluctant grave robbers hired by a mad scientist in ‘Habeas Corpus’.  Larry Semon stars as the Scarecrow and directs the 1925 version comedy fantasy-adventure of The Wizard of Oz which features Dorothy Dwan as Dorothy, Spencer Bell as the Scared Lion and Oliver Hardy as the Woodsman.

Don't miss family fun at the Silent Movies with Odeon Leicester Square Organist Donald MacKenzie providing a live soundtrack on the Willis organ. Popcorn, wine and ice cream will be on sale.
Tickets £10 (accompanied children under 18 free).

Online booking is now open:

Box officeFree daytime events include:

James Jarvis playing his Rex England cello

James Jarvis playing his Rex England cello

Friday 13 September:
Friday Festival Season Opening Organ and Cello lunchtime Concert
Free Friday lunchtime concert with Jonathan Kingston and James Jarvis.
12:30 pm-1:15 pm Organ and Cello recital

Jonathan and James showcase the breadth and depth of rich tones and melodies in this fusion of
classical, romantic and modern works for cello and organ

We launch the organ festival in fine style with a free lunchtime Organ and Cello Recital with Jonathan Kingston at the Willis organ console and James Jarvis playing his Rex England (Stony Stratford) made cello.

The programme will include music by Vivaldi, Hindemith and Mathews.

This is a free concert with refreshments available, or you can bring your own sandwiches to eat while you listen.  A relaxed and fun concert for everyone to enjoy. Groups from local schools are most welcome to attend. Donations to the Organ Maintenance Fund welcomed

Hands on the Willis!

Hands on the Willis!

Saturday 14 September:
Hands on our Willis! and Willis Pipe Organ Exhibition
Your chance to try playing a wonderfully restored Victorian pipe organ.
A free exhibition about the Willis Organ.
This session provides you with a golden opportunity to play (with help) those wow chords on the pipe organ.  The organ console is in the gallery which is reached by stairs, so this event is unfortunately not accessible for wheelchair users.  There is also an exhibition about the Willis organ telling the story of music at SMSG in the past, present and future.  Bring your piano music to try on the organ and enjoy cakes and light lunch. Donations to the Organ Maintenance Fund welcomed.

Jonathan Kingston at the Willis console

Jonathan Kingston at the Willis console

Sunday 15 September:
Audience requests - free organ concert

3:00 pm-5:00pm
Jonathan Kingston plays a few of your favourite hymns and songs of praise on the Willis pipe organ for the audience to join in, or listen, as you wish.
We conclude the festival on Sunday afternoon with tea and cakes from 3pm followed at 4pm by Sing along to your favourite hymns on the organ: Free audience request concert by Jonathan Kingston.  Book your request in advance via the website booking form or email your request to of your favourite hymn for Jonathan to play, with audience participation. Donations to the Organ Maintenance Fund welcomed.

Audience Requests Recital - my request

Request your favourite piece of hymn music for the recital on 15 September at 16:00 pm.

You can read about our previous pipe organ festivals (2018, 2017, 2016, 2015).

For Organ concerts see also