Hubert Edwin Selby - Biographical Notes
Hubert Selby was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, England on 12 November 1911. His father was a schoolmaster, and his mother taught music. It was from her that the young Selby undertook his earliest musical education. More formally, he studied piano and music theory under Mrs. Milton Rose ARCO ACTL. From the age of thirteen he was organist at a local church.
First hearing a theatre organ in the company of a teen-age friend at a cinema, he went on to study with Frank Newman FRCO before touring as a guest organist with the Gaumont-British Picture Corporation.
In 1931 he became organist at the Surrey County Cinema, playing the Compton Kinestra, an instrument with fourteen ranks on three manuals. At the same time, he was Assistant Organist at the New Victoria, London, at the Compton 3/15 which had been inauguarted by Reginald Foort.
He was appointed Guest Organist with Union Cinemas in 1936 and toured the circuit for the next two years, before becoming variety accompanist and solo organist for the Odeon Theatres.
In 1939 he became resident organist at the Paramount, Manchester where he began his radio broadcasts. In 1940 he was guest organist for Granada.
He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the Second World War (1940-1946).
Upon discharge from the Army in early in 1946, Hubert Selby became resident organist with Associated British Cinemas at the Ritz in his home-town, Ipswich.
It was about this time that the Hubert Selby Fan Club was formed. This Club was to eventually lead to fhe formation of the Cinema Organ Society, which he founded in 1952.
After a year in Australia, he returned to take up the position of resident organist at The Ritz in Birkenhead at the newly installed 3/8 Christie - the replacement for the Compton 4c/12 destroyed by bombing during the war.
From 1951 until 1957, Selby became associated again with ABC as a touring performer. In 1953 he introduced the Hammond Organ to theatre-goers. In 1956 he opened the ABC Television Studio in Didsbury, Manchester, with his Sunday evening show "Time for Melody" where he displayed his considerable talent on the Hammond.
Leaving ABC in 1957, Hubert began touring the North of England Clubs, playing electronic instruments - usually a Hammond - until 1970. During this time, he frequently accompanied his wife, the soprano Jaqueline Jones. Afterwards, he was appointed demonstrator for Hammond, again spending much of his time on the road.
In 1972 Hubert and his family settled in Downend, Bristol and took up the appointment of Manager for Churchill's, the principal music centre for the West Country. Three years later, in 1974, he and his family migrated to Australia. In this new land he performed in concerts and played at important events such as University graduation ceremonies and other public functions, including regular radio broadcasts and television appearances. He acquired a reputation as a fine teacher during this time. As well, he undertook nation-wide tours to play at an assortment of instruments scattered throughout this vast land.
Except for a brief return to the United Kingdom in 1977, he lived in semi-retirement in Perth, Western Australia, until his death on 17 December 1985.
During his lifetime Hubert Selby made a number of recordings which remain extant. Because their release pre-dated the marketing of the compact disk, it is most unlikely that copies remain available for purchase.
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