Musician, songwriter, recording artist
New age, cool jazz, rock, synthwave, country, and relaxation music
Mark started off on a musical journey by starting to play the organ when he was 5. His mom had a Hammond M-100, his paternal grandmother had a Hammond M3, his maternal grandfather had a Hammond B-3, his uncle had a Hammond L-100, and his aunt had a Hammond Chord organ. He got to play most of them whenever family get-togethers happened at any relatives' homes.
Supposedly, Mark had a few cousins that actually worked at the Hammond Organ company long ago during the early 20th century as well (according to an aunt).
Mark's mom, Floretta, played the organ at Zion Lutheran Church, near Edgington, Illinois, as well as his grandfather, Lorraine Bonnen.
Grandma Vida had given a few organ instrution books to Mark's older brother, Chris, but he didn't do much with them. Mark picked them up and learned to play on his own.
After a few years of banging away at the books and practicing off many songbooks that his mom had (as well as most of the other relatives' books as well), he was able to play well enough to play a few times during church services when his Mom was the organist.
During that time as well, Mark learned to play the clarinet and tuba. In high school, he won several awards, learned to play the electric bass guitar, and was also playing in his brother's rock band.
In the early 1980's, Mark played the organ at the weddings for relatives and friends.
In the late 1980's Mark started using more synthesizers and in 1994, started Mark's Custom Music after attending a local wedding in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he and his lovely wife, Jd, were living at the time. The wedding service was nice and elaborate and decorative, however, the music for the service was from a cheap boom-box playing a cassette tape. How awful. Mark figured he could provide at least good quality live music, OR he could also hire out himself as an organist for local services. But he discovered that in several of the local churches in that part of Tennessee, only the resident organists of the church were allowed to play the organ in that church. He got around that by offering to bring his own equipment and keyboards in and soon Mark was playing weddings all around town, including at 2 of the chapels at Fort Campbell, Kentucky Armed Services base. One of the bigger venues Mark has played in Tennessee was the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.
Mark expanded his services to cover receptions as well, mostly playing background or "dinner music" for more formal receptions, mostly in competition with local harpists and string quartets, that kind of thing.
The "custom music" part of the business is that Mark, using synthesizers and recording equipment, could perform most at most weddings sounding like almost anything the bride and groom wanted, including standard church organ, full orchestra, or in the case of the Opryland Hotel wedding, a brass band.
Mark discontinued the business when moving from Tennessee in 1998 to Georgia.
In 2010, Mark resumed his musical adventures by joining Paragon, an Adrian, Michigan-based classic rock band, and in 2012, joined his brother-in-law's classic rock and originals band, Mercury7. Mark plays synths and keytars in both bands and has been doing local touring to promote Mercury7's album, "The Time Is Now", featured on SiriusXM and on The Mitch Albom radio show in Detroit. Paragon is the featured band for the southern Michigan contests for the national country music competition, CountryShowdown.com.
In 2015, Mark has re-opened his solo music business for events, parties, and receptions, and performed with Mercury7 and Paragon.
In 2018/2019, Mark is continued solo recording and performing at weddings and coffeehouses. He was performing with Mercury7 (Fraser, classic rock), The Jim Dandy Band (Saline, classic rock and pop), Headknocker (Foreigner tribute band), and Street Angel (Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac tribute band).
In 2020....the COVID Pandemic hit. Due to the major upheaval of the live music business, all but Mercury7 had curtailed activities (or at least we got together for practices and general commiseration....)
Mark expanded into writing and arranging music, this time composing his own pieces in the "cool jazz", modern jazz, new age, synthwave, and experimental pieces. Mark added over 80 new songs and arrangements and has expanded publishing out through multiple streaming channels. He can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, SoundCloud, Deezer, AmazingRadio, and many other services now.