Mark Sheldon Becker
Mark Becker, a tenor, is the choir director and voice teacher at Forest Lake Academy, a position he has held since 2005. An accomplished singer and conductor, he has performed frequently and directed choral and handbell groups in Seventh-day Adventist schools and churches for over thirty years.
Mark was born in Colorado, one of three children of Alvin L. and Audrey Becker. He attended Mile High Academy for his elementary and high school years and was active in both music and speaking. He then attended Union College where he completed a B.S. in music education with departmental honors in 1977. He was one of 24 listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities when he graduated
Becker began his teaching career at Mile High Academy in Denver, Colorado, in 1978, after completing a music degree. For the next five years he directed choirs at the academy and a nearby grade school, gave private lessons, and taught classroom music in grades 1-6.
Beginning in 1983 and continuing for three years, Becker served as minister of music at the Denver First SDA Church. His duties in that position included directing the choir, a small vocal ensemble, children's choir, brass ensemble, and handbells. He also created a concert series. In his last year there, he also directed the choir at American Lutheran Memorial Church.
In 1986 Becker joined the faculty at Gem State Adventist Academy in Caldwell, Idaho. In addition to leading all the music ensembles and giving voice lessons, he taught a class in the art of making stained glass. While teaching at GSAA, he completed an M.Mus. at Boise State University in 1991. He was awarded the Zapara Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1992.
He accepted leadership of the choral and handbell program at Andrews Academy in Berrien Springs, Michigan, in 2000. During his five years there, he and his groups were frequent participants in the worship services at the Andrews University Pioneer Memorial Church.
While at Forest Lake Academy, his choir has been active on campus and in community activities, singing in Walt Disney World’s Candle Light Processional in November and December and in the Disney Marathon in January. Voices of Forest Lake, the large choir, has auditioned and been accepted for the Processional program for the past nine years, eight of those as an honor choir.
The Processional is a Christmas concert at Disney’s Epcot Center that features a 300 member choir; a cast choir, Voices of Liberty; herald trumpets; full orchestra; and a guest celebrity narrator. In the Marathon they are part of a choir that sings gospel anthems as an encouragement to those nearing the finish line.
After hearing FLA’s select choir Cantabile sing at the Honors Choral Clinic held at Southern Adventist University, the guest conductor, David Gardner, invited them to participate in a concert at Carnegie Hall that he conducted in March 2010. They were part of a large choir formed by combining invited ensembles from other schools that performed Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, assisted by professional singers and orchestra. Cantabile raised over $63,000 to cover expenses for the trip and during their stay were able to experience singing a major choral work at a professional level, do sightseeing, and attend three Broadway musicals.
Becker is an active member in the American Choral Directors Association and has attended and participated in a number of their conventions and workshops. He has similarly been active in the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, at whose meetings he has made a number of presentations.
Sources: Mark Sheldon Becker resume (2005); Information provided by him, December 2013; The Central Union Reaper, 9 November 1948, 3; personal knowledge.