Markus needs new recruits


Markus Michel our new choir master and organist based at St Columb’s church is appealing for new choir members at the 10:00 am Mass in St Columb’s Church. He is quick to point out that the first aim of the choir is simply to enjoy yourself and that if you can speak then you can sing.

“I would like to invite you to come along and join our choir even until Christmas. I am sure you will help us to sound even better. With a little bit of rehearsing for approximately one hour per week, normally on a Monday evening,  you may be surprised at what you can achieve. Apart from supporting the liturgy at the 10:00am Sunday mass, you will also be making new friends and broadening your musical horizons.
You can speak to me or any of the choir members. Alternatively leave your name at the parish office or with one of the priests and we will be in touch. We look forward to welcoming you.
Laudate Dominum in tympano et choro; laudate eum in cordis et organo! – Praise the Lord with timbrel and choir; praise him with strings and organ!
These words have given me a focus as a church musician over the last 35 years. They are from the fourth verse of psalm 150 and are written on the arch over the altar of St Laurentius’ Church in Sundern-Enkhausen, Germany – one of the last Churches where I was organist in Germany before moving to Derry.
We, as a choir find joy in singing and in (sacred) music – The enjoyment is what is important to us. As a choir we wish to support and to enhance the liturgy through music and to ensure that God’s praise will continue to be sung for generations to come.”

Originally from the Westphalia region in north west Germany, Markus moved into the parish approximately 2 years ago. At that time the choir at St Columb’s Church was on the lookout for a new choir leader and organist. Markus accepted the challenge and was delighted to discover that the church had a beautiful pipe organ.

Markus arrived in Derry in 1999 to support a machine bought by Seagate from the company that he worked for at that time. He was supposed to stay in Derry for one year only however Seagate offered him a position and he’s been living here ever since. He lived initially in the Foyle Springs area close to Seagate and in order to remain involved with church music he played the church organ to accompany the local Holy Family Primary School whenever they were singing in the Church of the Holy Family at Foyle Springs. He continued to contribute in this way for some 15 years.

Although a physicist by training Markus has been playing music for 45 years. After successfully completing a course of study with the Open University Markus achieved the Diploma in Music  eight years ago.  He started playing trombone at age 6 back in his village in Germany. One very wet Christmas eve when he was only 13or 14 years old the concert band, of which he was a member, was forced to move indoors to play from the church organ loft.  At that point in his life when listening and watching the organist coordinating the keyboard and stops to create the beautiful music coming from the pipe organ, Marcus decided that this was something that he would love to learn to do.