Local muso branches out

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Pianoman: Mark Wilson

Queenstowner Mark Wilson is singing off a new hymn sheet – his own.

The talented local singer and pianist is working on his second album Branching Out In Faith.

He’s been creating a bunch of new material which he’ll share at a concert, ‘O Taste and See’, on Sunday.

As well as being a teaser it’ll help him gauge which songs need a bit of work – or which ones really resonate with his audience.

He also hopes it will result in a few pre-sales before its release in September.

This is Wilson’s second album and follows Keep The Faith three years ago.

He describes his faith as central to all his music.

“Inspiration from songs definitely comes from scripture – there are phrases that leap out at me. It is the lyrics that determine things and so that is always the starting point.”

While the album will feature only original tracks, he will sing a few traditional hymns at Sunday’s concert.

He’ll also be joined by local songbird Margaret O’Hanlon.

Wilson says they go way back and he first performed with her in 1993.

“Margaret is the guest artist and she’s doing three pieces. People absolutely love the singing and musicianship of Margaret. She will be a huge drawcard for the concert.”

Wilson was introduced to music at a young age – while studying at Homai College for the Blind.

“Music was central to everything. Without necessarily knowing it I was being drawn to the piano.”

In 1974, during the Christmas holidays, he was gifted a new piano at home – one he still plays over 40 years later.

“It has been a faithful friend. There are probably pianos that are better but it works for me and it’s special.”

Christian music isn’t the only genre he enjoys.

“I was drawn to jazz because of the freedom of expression. When I was five years old I would be making things up on the piano – before I even knew what improvisation was. So when I was introduced to jazz it kind of resonated. It was a language that I could relate to.

“I am drawn to chords and taking a melody or tune and giving variation to it. Whereas with classical music it is very exact – you can’t play around with it too much.”

louises@scene.co.nz

Catch Mark Wilson and special guest Margaret O’Hanlon, Sunday, 2.30pm, St Peter’s Hall. Tickets $20.