After a 35 year career with the Waterloo Region District School Board, Mark is now working as an independent consultant in the education and technology sectors. His experience includes serving in a variety of roles: Chief Information Officer, IT Manager, ICT consultant, secondary classroom teacher and department head.
He currently chairs the OSAPAC advisory committee to the Ontario Ministry of Education, is a #VoicEdRadio (https://voiced.ca/) contributor and served as OSSEMOOC project co-lead. Mark was a speaker at the first www.TEDxKitchenerED.com event. He is a frequent presenter at Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching conferences throughout Canada and is an active blogger.
Mark’s personal interests include arranging and composing music. He is an active performer as a member of the Venturi Winds Quintet, Cambridge Symphony Orchestra and KW Community Orchestra. After receiving the guide for preparing for his P3, Mark said, “As a musician, his brain was flooding with ideas about...picking 3 pieces having personal meanings…” While he considered different genres, he settled on three songs that have “...particular meaning at a particular moments in time.” While they were classically oriented, each of his pieces yielded interesting conversation that went beyond. Music has been a lifelong passion for Mark, and it is something that helps him give back to his community, “It enriches your own life, and, of course, the whole music scene is a wonderful network of so many talented people that it just makes a nice piece in one’s life.”
Mark’s nostalgic song is a prelude, which is fitting for the category. “I chose the prelude and fugue in e minor for a number of reasons.” Mark shared that he loves the content, that the pace is a bit slower in tempo, and that it has a “melancholy feel to it”. This recording was done by his quintet, and Mark is playing the clarinet. He says that the “...harmonies and interactions of the very parts are really exquisite.” Mark reflected that in a quintet, you are one of 5 distinct instruments, so you are a soloist at the same time. “Each player brings their expertise, their sound their phrasing and volume and so on to bring the piece into life.” Having played that piece many times and being a clarinet player since he was in Grade 8, this is reflective of so much of Mark’s life in music. Here is Bach’s Prelude and Fugue:
Mark’s selection of this Elizabethan era identity song is more about the arrangement of the song than the song itself. “For me, this represents the idea of possibility, and I think there’s so many times in our careers, in our lives, in our parenting that it’s really important that we can look at things in different ways and see something new.” This piece is reflective of new lenses that pushed Mark’s creativity, which is something that reflects his life and role as an educator. He spoke of his teaching partner in Cambridge in the middle of his career, Bob Stalder, and how they explored the frontier of possibility for approaching teaching music theory and differentiation before it was a buzzword. “We thought, as educators, we owe it to ourselves to explore this and figure out how we could hone our practice to give students even better experiences.” They explored the role of the computer as accompanist, and they toyed around with different ways to try new things. They had a full decade of working together, so this arrangement was created by this symbiotic duo with software called Band in a Box. Referring to Bob’s composition and approach, Mark recounted that, “He brought this nice flavour to it with his choice of instrumentation, the beautiful cords that he used which were much more eloquent to the standard ones…” Mark and Bob used this as an opportunity to model what they were doing with a new way of generating the traditional melody. Mark still uses this piece in workshops to demonstrate the idea of “playing and mixing sound” and “seeing something new.” Here is Mark and Bob’s version of Greensleeves:
Mark’s pick-me-up song is one that he has come back to throughout his life. “I’ve listened to the full requiem dozens of times, and I’ve actually had the good fortune to perform it a few times over the years...to me, this seems like a piece that grapples with the life force.” Mark suggests sitting in a dimly lit room to quietly listen to the entire piece, the interaction between the choir and the different instruments. To be still and thoughtful and connected to how your body responds to hearing something like this. Mark says that it “resonates right at the core,” and “.. really drives a powerful energy change for me.” As a lifetime buddy that stimulates so much in our guest, here is the rex tremendae, the rex fifth movement, of Mozart’s Requiem:
(start at 13:39)
Mark was reflecting on his experience on the Personal Playlist Podcast. He said that, “This is a really insightful way o bring conversation out and tell stories in a different manner.” Mark wondered about doing this in a family context, which is something that I had never considered. With his “new eyes” on what the P3 might look like in different contexts, Mark reminded me how important new lenses have been on all the work that begins in my classroom and evolves through sharing it and learning from the perspectives of other educators. You can learn more about Mark’s perspectives through his blog, by following him on Twitter or Instagram, through LinkedIn, or email and by checking out his podcast, The Virtual Coffee Shop, or his YouTube channel. He is working on a performance for a children’s audience and even suggested coming to my classroom with his quintet next year. Mark lives his creed: Connect, Learn, Reflect and Share: Make a Difference Today.