Local minister gets in tune for marathon on the organ

Local minister gets in tune for marathon on the organ

5 September 2018

A PLUMP cushion will be the Rev Mark Spratt’s best friend as he undertakes a 12-hour music marathon.

The minister of Kilmore Presbyterian Church, near Crossgar, is once again preparing to play an organ and piano non-stop to raise funds for the church.

He will be playing hundreds of psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, church music, classical pieces along with wedding favourites from 9am-9pm on Saturday, September 15. 

It will the second time since 2014 that Mr Spratt will take to the keyboards to raise money for the Drumaghlis Road church where he is Director of Music.

A renowned organist, Mr Spratt told the Recorder: “I did a 12-hour marathon before in 2014 and that time we raised just over £2,000 for the Women’s Association and other church activities.

“This time it’s to raise money for repairs to the church’s roof and other property matters and I’ll be happy with whatever the community is able to give.”

Mr Spratt has successfully completed two other music marathons for Bangor Presbyterian Church where he was part of the ministry team before he moved to Kilmore. He knows only too well that he’s four years older than his last marathon.

“Well, I will make sure to have a good cushion so I don’t get a numb bottom,” he joked. “While I will enjoy playing the music and will be very concentrated on doing it, I will be well looked after by member of the social committee who will make sure that I’ve got enough refreshments to keep me going.”

When the Killyleagh native says he will play non-stop for 12 hours, he means it.

“I think that I only managed to get one five-minute comfort break the whole 12 hours the last time and the only other interruption was walking four steps from the organ to the piano when I switched things up,” he said.

“I suppose like any marathon, I will hit the wall at some point, but I’m well looked after during it.” 

Mr Spratt has been playing piano since the age of seven and was taught by the late Treflord Withers, the former organist at Kilmore.

He became involved in church music from the age of eight, beginning as a treble in the choir and then playing the organ at 10.

At the young age of 14, Mr Spratt became organist and choirmaster in First Killyleagh Presbyterian Church and then started employment as a music specialist in Mossley Primary School in Newtownabbey before entering the ministry. 

Over the years, he has been director of music in a number of churches. While the piano is his main instrument, he enjoys the variety of sounds and volume one can achieve at the console of the ‘king of instruments’ — the organ. 

Supported by members of the church’s social committee, the fundraising event encourages local people to come along and listen to the music and enjoy some refreshments.

If local people have a particular request of music and time to hear it, please, in advance, log on to: www.kilmorepresbyterian.org.uk/musicmarathon or text to 07817 307814.

Light refreshments will be available throughout the day with donations going to support church projects.