Reginald Foort

Cinema organist

Reginald Foort holds a key place in the role of cinema organist, having been a pioneer of organ broadcasting and recording. He began by accompanying silent movies in 1926, and became staff organist at the BBC in 1936, a position he left in 1951 and moved to America. His early life, however, had a strong Rugby connection

Early life

Foort studied at Lawrence Sheriff School, where his music teachers were Mrs. Yuille-Smith and Dr. Basil Johnson. After this, he was enrolled at the Royal College of Music, and obtained his FRCO (Fellowship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists) at only 17.

Later Rugby connections

When the Plaza Theatre opened in 1933, its organ was designed by Foort and could produce a number of special effects such as klaxons and aeroplanes, along with being able to simulate a symphony orchestra and cathedral organ. Indeed, before the cinema actually opened, the organ could be heard on a broadcast by the BBC on 18th January of that year.

Check out Reginald Foort in this Pathé news clip.

Here he is, meanwhile, on Desert Island Discs in 1971.

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