& DISTRICT Organ Society

Concerts are held on first Friday of the month

At Coronation Hall, Spa Road, Woodhall Spa starting at 7.30 p.m.

“Music for Woodhall”

President Nicholas Martin B.E.M.

NICHOLAS MARTIN B.E.M.

 

OUR ARTIST FOR  MARCH 1ST, 2024

 

 

 

NICHOLAS MARTIN  B.E.M.

Nick's musical career started when he first studied the piano at nine years of age. He began to take a keen interest in the organ shortly afterwards.

During a family visit to Blackpool, in 1969 (at the age of five), he overheard the Wurlitzer organ being played in the Tower Ballroom by none other than "Mr Blackpool" - Reginald Dixon. Having heard the sound of this amazing organ, Nick became smitten and made it his sole aim to play one day - at the Tower Ballroom.

Amazingly, his Tower ambition was realised in 1981, and he accepted a post as resident organist - a huge goal achieved at just 17 years of age! He played there solidly, seven days a week, during the 1981/82 seasons. Literally, a dream had come true!

Whilst at Blackpool in 1982 Nick was approached by Nigel Turner a businessman from Northampton. Mr Turner proposed opening a new organ entertainments complex - "Turner's Musical Merry-go-Round". The feature piece would be a large Wurlitzer theatre organ (formerly installed in the Paramount, later Odeon, Cinema Newcastle). This organ was widely recognised to be one of the finest to arrive here in the U.K. - from the Wurlitzer Organ factory in North Tonawanda, New York State, U.S.A.

Nick commenced duty at "TURNER'S", as resident Wurlitzer organist, in April 1983, and remained there until its closure in June 2004 - a period of some 21years (and two months!). It is widely recognised that during that time, TURNER'S catered to over three million paying visitors!

Whilst at Northampton, Nick recorded over thirty albums on the "TURNER'S" Wurlitzer - as well as Video's & DVD's. He was regularly heard on BBC Radio 2's "The Organist Entertains" programme (recorded at "TURNER'S"), and has made several appearances on TV over the years. Another claim to fame is a CD he made of non-copyright music - which is held in the WARNER/CHAPPELL Recorded Music Library in London, and is used by Media companies world-wide, when the sound of a Wurlitzer theatre organ is required.

A major highlight in Nick's musical career was an offer (in 1985) to perform in concert, in the U.S.A., at the Kirk of Dunedin - a Community Church on Florida's Gulf coast. Since that first hugely successful visit, playing to over 2000 people, he has returned time after time. Indeed in Feb. 2010 he made his 25th trip across the Atlantic and in Feb. 2015 his 30th visit.

In Sept. 1995, the Nicholas Martin Fan Club was formed. This stemmed from Nick's residency at "TURNER'S" where he'd built up quite a fan-base. The Club is currently in it's 28th year and still thriving. Members receive a quarterly newsletter which explains about Nick's activities and playing whereabouts. Members are also permitted to come to the "Martin Home Events" - which help to raise money for "Miracles To Believe In" (see below). Membership of his Club costs £9.00 per annum.

After "TURNER'S" closed, in July 2004, Nick became Musical Director at Wicksteed Park (Kettering, Northants.) - a family theme park set in 127 acres. His work there consisted of performing all the music for the afternoon variety shows and accompanying the various acts - whilst using his Technics G-100. His "term of office" came to an end there in Dec. 2008.

These days, Nick's career finds him performing concerts for organ societies/clubs, in churches and at many dance venues around the U.K.  

His main passion though is his family - his wife Marianne and two sons James (26) & Joshua (24). The family live at Markfield, a small village in N. W. Leics. Sadly both James and Joshua are afflicted with autism, which impairs their social interaction, general learning and developmental skills. Even worse, Joshua is completely non-verbal making communication for him very difficult. Both James & Joshua go to Special Educational Needs facilities in Loughborough, Leics.  

In Feb. 2001 Nick and Marianne co-founded a charity for autistic children: "Miracles to Believe in" (Reg. Charity No. 1101463). The charity helps children, and their families, who suffer with autism (a life-long mental disability). in the East Midlands region. Nick is "Miracles" main fundraiser and ambassador, mentioning the charity at virtually every event he performs at up and down the country. Since 2001, over £450,000 has now been raised to aid those affected by autism in the East Mids. For more infomation you can visit the "Miracles" website at www.miracles-to-believe-in.co.uk

For his relentless and tireless support of the "Miracles to Believe in" charity, helping those with autism, Nick was awarded the B.E.M. (British Empire Medal), in the Queen's New Years Honours List (Dec. 31st 2014). In May 2015 Nick & Marianne were invited to Buckingham Palace to meet her Majesty the Queen.