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Marshall’s the musical maestro

Posted: 06 October 2021

West Nottinghamshire College music Production Skills Development student Marshall Fairbrother, 18, has scooped the Young Person’s Greatest Learning Journey Award at the Inspire awards celebration.

The event, which was held at Mansfield’s Central Library on Thursday (30 September), saw individuals, partners and staff that are part of Inspire, rewarded for their achievements and success.

Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries is a charitable community benefit society delivering cultural and learning services across Nottinghamshire.

Marshall’s award recognised the success he has seen on work placement with Inspire Youth Arts since February. Each week, Marshall worked on a project at Portland College with tutor Tom Bacon, who is a mixing engineer and music technology specialist.

Initially working online, but then in person, Marshall, Tom and Jess Fisher, a wheelchair user from the Able Orchestra, worked with the prestigious Hallé Orchestra – one of the country’s top symphonic ensembles which was founded by Sir Charles Hallé in 1858.

Using his music technology skills Marshall worked on this project with Tom and Jess to produce a piece for the orchestra, which he describes as orchestral mixed with pop elements.

Marshall, who has no sight due to being born with a rare visual impairment, septo-optic dysplasia, uses specialist software and screen-reading equipment at the college which makes learning materials accessible. He is also aided by learning support workers while in class and in the college’s recording studios.

At last week’s awards, Marshall described his pride at winning. He said: “It felt amazing, honestly. I knew I’d reached the finals but I’d been sat there for two hours and was wondering whether or not I was going to get an award, but then I heard my name called out, lots of applause and then I went up on stage!

“I wanted to show my appreciation to tutor Tom, Andy Dawson, John Bevan and Jimmy Power – another music producer who I have worked with in the past at Inspire but they wouldn’t let me use the microphone, so I screamed my appreciation across the auditorium without the microphone!”


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