Mark has been conducting vocal and instrumental ensembles for over 40 years with an emphasis on the choral art. Following his undergraduate studies in music (viola, voice, organ, church and choral music, conducting) at the University of Southern California, he continued with postgraduate work in conducting and education at USC, with further independent study at Stanford and San Francisco State Universities. While at USC, he studied with Milton Thomas, James Vail, Thomas Somerville, Daniel Lewis, Charles Hirt and Morten Lauridsen among many others.
Following his graduate work, he entered the field of music education. Under his direction high school choirs and orchestras won many awards and accolades in festivals and concert performances in the US and Canada. Since that time he has also been engaged as a clinician, festival adjudicator and honor choir director. Although he has not taught school in a long time, he strongly believes in the phrase “Once a teacher, always a teacher,” and he takes delight in watching people of all ages learn and improve themselves, taking even more delight if he had any impact on that process in any small (or large!) way.
Also involved in community music for most of his life, these posts have included Director of Music at several churches, most notably at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran in San Mateo for sixteen years and as Music Director at Peninsula Civic Light Opera for many years. He has also served in a variety of musical direction posts in individual productions for a number of theater companies. Mark strives to strike the critical balance of audience pleasure with singer satisfaction. It’s important to him that audiences leave their concert seats having learned something and felt something, and he trusts that they will look forward to their next adventure as an audience member.
More recently, Mark's musical endeavors included serving as Founding Director of Musaic, a San Francisco-based a Cappella men’s vocal ensemble (since then they have moved most of their operation to Marin County). He was accountable for all artistic operations of the group, and although Musaic worked collaboratively as an ensemble, the artistic results of their performances were always his ultimate responsibility.
For the past several years, Mark has been indulging his “inner singer” as a member of Cantiamo Sonoma under Carol Menke’s direction. In 2011 and 2012 Ms. Menke asked Mark to conduct the special combined choirs in extended works presentations for the Church of the Incarnation’s Good Friday Services.
Mark loves to sing, and has been doing so since he was a child, but he finds that his strength, and indeed his calling, lies as a director. Throughout his varied careers, musical and otherwise, he has fortified his leadership, facilitation and collaborative skills which make his offerings as a director somewhat unique.
The new relationship that Mayflower and Mark will be forging together will certainly open some new chapters for all those involved - singers, audience and director alike. We look forward to sharing this new “book” with everyone.
Mark Penn, Musical Director
Copyright© Mayflower Choral Society 2014
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Last modified 4/4/17
We wish to share our passion of music whether as singer, student, musician or listener
We sing to delight and inspire, and to share the passion of music whether as singer, musician or listener
In harmony, ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things.
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