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Meet the man with his fingers on the keys of Yarmouth’s iconic organ and its 3,000 pipes

PUBLISHED: 09:19 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:19 29 November 2017

Martyn Marshall is the new director of music and music outreach at St Nicholas Minster, Yarmouth.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Martyn Marshall is the new director of music and music outreach at St Nicholas Minster, Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

The new man in charge of music at the minster is passionate about the benefits of choral singing and wants more people to add their voices to his tuneful throng.

Martyn Marshall is the new director of music and music outreach at St Nicholas Minster, Yarmouth.
Picture: Nick Butcher Martyn Marshall is the new director of music and music outreach at St Nicholas Minster, Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher

Martyn Marshall has joined the church as its director of music and outreach at the busiest time of year.

Just as the number of services ramps up with carols and prayers ringing out of the nave, he is getting to grips with the iconic pipe organ and its thousands of working parts.

The instrument is difficult to master and each one has its own unique way of working, according to Mr Marshall who fell for the sound as a teenager, and will be its resident player.

Yarmouth’s, he said, was particularly “excellent” despite its unpredictable character.

Martyn Marshall is the new director of music and music outreach at St Nicholas Minster, Yarmouth.
Picture: Nick Butcher Martyn Marshall is the new director of music and music outreach at St Nicholas Minster, Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher

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The 54-year-old, who has been working as a music teacher in Lancashire and is married with three grown-up children, said he was relishing his new role.

He is particularly keen to involve children in music and to develop links with local schools.

A free breakfast club already attracted youngsters from St Nicholas Priory Primary School in the Market Place who benefited from free music tuition but there was room to grow and help more children channel their talents.

He said getting children involved at a young age was important, although he was keen to expand the adult choir too.

“Music and singing is so good for building confidence and for team work skills,” he said.

“There are links between music and intelligence and there is a feel good factor.

“The kids that come to the breakfast club here have a great time and in theory they should go to school more awake and ready to learn.

“If they start from Year 4 and are committed to a group - with their parents support - you see them blossom over time and you get to a point where you ask them to do a solo and the confidence is there to stand up in front of an audience.

“I love music. That is what I do. I will work with music and wind down with music. It is my career and also something I enjoy.”

Yarmouth’s organ has not been cleaned for 55 years and needs a complete overhaul by a highly skilled organ builder.

The cost has been estimated at around £750,000.

To contact Mr Marshall call 01493 858410 or email office@gtyarmouthminster.org.

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