December 7 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, October 13, 2013
A former Suffolk schoolboy has gone from playing his first tentative keys at a local church to commanding one of the world’s grandest and most recognisable venues.
Only a few years ago, Matthew Merrett was starting out on the organ at St Margaret’s in Leiston. But now the 23-year-old can count performing at St Paul’s Cathedral on his list of achievements.
At just 21, the former Leiston High School pupil, who also studied sports science at university, landed a job as assistant director of music at St Wulfram’s Church in Grantham.
During holidays, and on certain other days during term time, St Paul’s Cathedral invites visiting choirs to sing services – one of which Mr Merrett was asked to accompany on the organ. “It was quite awe-inspiring,” he said. “I was very focused on just not thinking where I was until after it had finished.”
Mr Merrett started off playing the piano before being inspired to take up the organ by Derek Cole at St Margaret’s, where the young protégé visits whenever returning to his family home.
He said: “Playing the organ is a bit different to a regular piano. There are four keyboards instead of one and you have to use all four limbs.
“The level of concentration needed is quite formidable. You have to be in control to play even the most basic thing.”
For his performance at St Paul’s, Mr Merrett played the traditional Evensong procession and accompanied the choir for a psalm and two prayers sung to music.
Mr Merrett’s father Simon said the family were very proud of his achievements. He added: “Matt was absolutely amazed to get the chance to play at St Paul’s – but he hardly seemed nervous about it at all.
“He has been playing the organ since he was quite young and played regularly at St Margaret’s here in Leiston before getting the job in Grantham.
“We are all very proud of him.”