Musicians mark special birthday

Michael Broadway
Michael Broadway

Musicians from Chorley are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their piano association, with a special music concert.

A rare 1914 pianola concert is being held in the main hall of the Cross Street Chapel in the centre of Manchester on May 12, at 3pm, to mark the North-West Player Piano Association’s birthday.

Accomplished concert pianolist Michael Broadway will be leading the concert, which is believed to be the first held in Manchester for almost 100 years.

He will be performing a varied musical reertoire ranging from Chopin and Liszt to a rousing finale with Gershwin and Billy Mayerl.

Anyone is welcome to attend the concert.

Talking about ‘The Pianola Concert’, Bob Kissick, the association’s archivist, said: “The Pianola was a very popular form of home entertainment in the early 20th Century, and there were also many public concerts featuring the instrument.

“It’s a lot more than just a machine for playing the right notes in the right order.

“Everything else - tempo, rubato, phrasing, dynamics and musical interpretation - are all fully under the control of the performer.

“In the hands of an expert Pianolist such as our guest artist, the music really comes to life.

“And each performance is truly unique.”

As well as the Edwardian-style concert, the North West Player Piano Association will be holding a variety of other events.

This includes a members’ luncheon at the Masonic Hall, and a special visit to the Clock Tower at Manchester Town Hall, where a 23-bell Carillon and roll-playing automatic carillon-player will also be played.

Tickets for the unique concert are priced at £5, and will be available on the door, on the day of the performance.

Founded in 1972, the association exists to encourage and support interest in the player-piano and related self-playing musical instruments.

Although focused in the North-West, the Association also enjoys UK-wide support and has members from both Europe and the USA.

It embraces not only those who own self-playing instruments but also those who simply share the enthusiasm and enjoy hearing them played.

The association arranges a regular programme of meetings at members’ homes when restored player instruments are demonstrated. For more information on the association, or to see how to make a donation to the association, visit, or e-mail