The international concert organist Jean Martyn was the guest of the Weyhill Electronic Organ Society at the Fairground Hall, Weyhill.
The Society's April concert, featuring Jean Martyn, was staged in support of 'Transform', the charity arm of Testway Housing (formerly the Housing Department of Test Valley Borough Council). During the evening, Jean presented a cheque on behalf of the Society to John Spens, Chief Executive of Testway Housing and a charity Trustee.
Although the Society has yet to complete its fourth year, the Committee and supporters are justifiably proud of the fact that they have been responsible for raising well in excess of £2,000 for charity - and they hope to continue their efforts at future concerts.
To add to their achievements, the Society has, for the second successive year, been nominated to receive a Voluntary Group award certificate from Test Valley Community Services. The award is to be made in early June, during National Volunteers' Week, in recognition of the Society's contribution to the community.
"Jean played to a packed hall and had a varied programme from the classical to the modern - playing both the familiar and the less familiar. WEOS were also kind enough to raise funds for Transform, a local charity set up by Testway Housing. John Spens received a cheque during the interval."
"Terry Trevett and his team do a splendid job in bringing top players to Andover to enjoy a form of music of which we hear too little nowadays."
About Jean Martyn
(from WEOS Programme Notes)
Tonight's very popular artiste, JEAN MARTYN was prevented by an unfortunate injury from performing for us in 2004 – so we are especially pleased to welcome her this evening. The warmth of her personality, allied to her undoubted musical talent, will guarantee a truly enjoyable concert.
Adored by audiences across the UK and Europe, Jean has now been playing professionally for more than twenty years and fully deserves her place at the very top of the tree of keyboard players.
She is equally at home on organ and grand piano and frequently uses both in her concerts. Her friendly and bubbly personality, together with her vast range of styles and repertoire, make all of her concerts a joy to experience.
Jean began playing at the age of three, playing nursery rhymes on her parents piano. Coming from a very musical family – both her mother and grandparents were musical – her natural ability began to show at the age of five. Her parents sent her to a music teacher who put her through her grades on the piano, then through Trinity College of Music in London where she eventually became an associate (ATCL).
At the age of eleven, Jean was appointed organist at her local church and even now, when time permits, she plays there when the regular organist has time off.
Her first involvement with the electronic organ began by playing cocktail-style music in a restaurant and, whilst waiting to go to music college, she turned her talents to backing cabaret artistes. This gave her the opportunity to work alongside many top-line entertainers such as Ken Dodd, David Whitfield, Vince Hill and Marti Caine.
After qualifying from music college, Jean taught music in schools in the West Midlands and took a position of Head of Music at a middle school for three years. She enjoyed her teaching career but her love of live concert performances enticed her away from the classroom to face her audiences once again.
She returned to her music studies and in 1995 was awarded the prestigious LGSM (Licentiate of the Guildhall School of Music) diploma for electronic organ.
Moving effortlessly between grand piano, custom-built electronic keyboards and mighty Wurlitzers, Jean often comes on to the stage still undecided as whether to stun listeners with a breakneck 'William Tell Overture', to stir up passions with the familiar 'Dambusters March', to conjure up the swing band era with a Glenn Miller medley or to 'rock the house' with Latin American music or something from the top London shows!
Jean's range of music is vast, ranging from classical composers to modern day music, but she excels herself when playing her own magnificent arrangements of music from the 40's. It is impossible to categorise Jean's particular style and keyboard artistry, except to say that it is most often allied to that of Errol Garner, but with extra fingers! She is equally capable of performing moving romantic interpretations in the style of Richard Clayderman, or 'upping the tempo' in the styles of Russ Conway or Fats Waller.
A highlight of her career was being invited to join the famous James Last Orchestra at the Apollo Theatre, Manchester in 1993 where she played a £32,000 electronic grand piano.
Flexibility, fun and frolics are the hallmark of Jean's inimitable performances, which draw their musical depth from her extensive classical training. However, she can embrace the dexterous jazz and big band influences that are natural for a performer who has played with the James Last Orchestra and also at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
Jean has travelled the world, entertaining people with her unique and remarkable style, on both piano and organ. She is regularly engaged by organ societies throughout the UK and has also been booked to play in the USA, Germany, Italy, Holland, Switzerland and Turkey.
Jean is a supporter of various charities and has raised a considerable amount of money for cancer and blind societies in particular.
Her many recordings ably demonstrate her talents on piano, electronic organ and of course her third love, the theatre organ. One of her favourite recordings was made on the Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer. Indeed, she is the only lady organist to have recorded at the Tower during the last 50 years!