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Martha Monk Supports Kitty MacFarlane in Concert

Martha Monk, one of our talented musicians at Testbourne, supported Kitty MacFarlane to a sell-out audience on Saturday 9th November at the Gill Nethercott Centre in Whitchurch. Jon Wilks, local musician and avid folk enthusiast arranged for Martha to perform with Kitty. This opportunity allowed Martha to spend time with a professional singer-songwriter and to hear and share music together. Kitty thought Martha was incredibly talented for someone of her age. 

From an audience perspective, Martha grew in confidence with every minute she was onstage. Folk clubs are always a very encouraging place to start performing, as the essence of their existence is "music for the people, by the people". Martha took advantage of that really well – she was full of banter with the sell-out crowd, and they loved her. She has an extraordinary voice, and her own compositions are very mature, so it was hard not to! 

Jon Wilks, who helps to run the folk club said: “The challenge we set for the kids is to learn and sing one traditional song, and Martha did this wonderfully. She performed, ‘If I Were a Blackbird’, which was collected by folk collector, George Gardiner, in May 1906. It was sung to him by Mr Henry Lee and his daughters, who lived at 2 Weir Cottages, right here in Whitchurch. Many of the older people in this town know the song from their youth. Some call it ‘the Whitchurch anthem’. So it was incredibly moving to hear a 15-year-old native of Whitchurch take a song that is rightfully hers and bring it to life with such tenderness. The audience joined in with gusto. It was a lovely cross-generational moment – the people brought together by a single song.”

Well done Martha and thanks to Jon Wilks and the Whitchurch Folk Club for providing such incredible opportunities for our talented musicians. Previous concerts have been supported by Eddie George who is now studying music at the Academy of Contemporary Music in London as well as Kai Wilks more recently, who is currently studying his GCSEs at Testbourne alongside Martha. Please watch out for future concerts with the Folk Club and hopefully future collaborations with rising stars such as Martha!