He was the Saturday soundtrack for visitors to the City Market for many years.
On hot mornings, Marvin Hollinshed was often the first person you’d encounter entering the Market from the west, staying cool in the shady passageway to the vendors’ stalls before he ventured outside.
But you heard his flute sweetly piping tunes long before you arrived.
He played with grace and skill, adding a jazzy flavor to the festive atmosphere that makes the City Market such an enjoyable place to shop and watch all humanity sharing their love for fresh food and authenticity.
The music ended June 30th when Hollinshed passed away unexpectedly at age 72. His death was mourned by many who shared the joy of his silver flute.
“When approaching the market from the west his silver notes were the first to greet you a half block away,” wrote Jill, one of his admirers, in a tribute attached to his obituary.
“Marvin loved his flute, and I loved to watch him play because he put heart and soul into the music, losing himself in it.
“(Marvin) will be missed dreadfully by everyone who heard his magic flute and experienced his gentle, cheerful nature.
Another fan, Christine Yannitelli, wrote “the City Market can never been the same.”
“My husband and I go to the City Market every Saturday,” she stated, “and always saw Marvin and always spoke with him….often about our joys and frustrations about the Royals and the Chiefs.
“I am heartbroken for your loss as a family,” she continued, “and heartbroken that we will never see him again at the market.”
Hollinshed’s appeal reached all ages, according to Carolyn Gross, who also commented on his obituary.
“It was a joy to look for Marvin at City Market,” she wrote. “He always took time with our three year-old grand daughter. She is shy but loved finding Marvin.”
Winston and Mable Canady wrote “rest well brother!”
“I always enjoyed the joy you spread especially when I was at City Market. Heaven just got sweeter.”
Elmer C. Jackson III compared Hollinshed to some of the great jazz flutists in his tribute.
“He was as good as Hubert Laws, Yusef Lateef, Herbie Mann, but remained an ‘unsung’ master on the flute,” Jackson wrote.
“The Plaza and the Farmers’ City Market will not be the same without the sound of his music.”
The Mutual Musicians Foundation International posted a 1982 recording, along with memorial tributes, that included Hollinshed performing on its Facebook page.
Emily Allen interviewed Hollinshed for her blog in 2015. He told her it was “the people that make this gig special for him.”
Sue Patterson, marketing director for the City Market, said Hollinshed had been performing there earlier in the day that he died. His funeral service was July 11th.
“He played right up to the end doing what he loved,” she said.
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