About Us

Australian Virtual Organs (AVO) was formed by a group of Victorian organists who love the sound of the pipe organ and enjoy playing the instrument.

Bruce Allen

At the age of 16 while studying at Melbourne Grammar School, Bruce became attracted to the pipe organ and for two years was organist at the Methodist Church, Preston. Later he studied under organist Sergio de Pieri who was the St Patrick’s Cathedral organist at the time. Since 1965 Bruce has been organist and choirmaster at All Saints Anglican Church, Greensborough.

In addition to his involvement with traditional church music, Bruce is an accountant in public practice.

John Bothe

John is an electronics engineer, and in retirement enjoys applying his practical skills to a wide range of projects, as well as being the technical leader of the Australian Virtual Organs team. John is Organist at the Calvary Lutheran Church, Greensborough and has been a life-long member of the congregation.

Christopher Parsons

Chris is a retired secondary school teacher with qualifications in music, computers and education. He came to the organ while at school after hearing Bach played on the organ of St Mark’s Anglican Church, Camberwell. He soon learnt that both his father and grandfather had played the organ and he began lessons with James Forsyth. He went on to the Melbourne University Conservatorium of Music to continue his study of the instrument with John Mallinson, June Nixon and Gillian Weir.

Chris taught music and computer education in the state school system for 30 years. After a break due to professional time constraints, Chris came back to playing the organ in recent years and helps out as Assistant Organist at All Saints Anglican Church, Greensborough.

Malcolm Simpson

Malcolm is an original member/trustee of the Theatre Organ Society of Australia, Victorian Division.  For over 25 years he compered their concerts presenting to audiences of that era, young Australian organists including Tony Fenelon, David Johnston and John Atwell, all of whom became world famous.

He also introduced to Melbourne, visiting overseas organists Vic Hammett, Lyn Larson, Father James Miller and Walt Strony.

As an engineer, having retired from his family’s Asia Pacific marketing business which was involved in production techniques and materials sourcing, Malcolm is a member of the AVO construction team.

In leisure times he is a hobby theatre organist.

Rick Vanderbom

Rick’s love of the pipe organ stems from learning to play the harmonium as a child and spending many an hour at the harmonium in the organ loft through his teenage years. He was then introduced to the joys of a real pipe organ over two years as a student of Hobart’s Cathedral and City Organist, John Nicholls. But when Rick moved to Melbourne his interest in the pipe organ increasingly was reflected only in his record collection. Many years later he decided to resume playing the organ, and acquired an Allen digital organ, only to discover Hauptwerk soon after. His Allen organ is now used exclusively with the sound system, as the console for his Hauptwerk system. The first virtual organ Rick purchased for Hauptwerk was the historic 11 stop 1722 Silbermann Organ from the St Marienkirche in Roetha, Germany. This charming virtual instrument then provided an initial Hauptwerk virtual pipe organ experience for a number of the AVO Directors, starting them also on their journeys into the world of virtual organ.