The jazz soloist at the upcoming Park Rapids Area Community Band concert is a hometown boy.
Saxophonist Mark Egge graduated from Park Rapids in 1998.
His mother, Dodie Egge, is a founding member of the community band and sax player as well.
But it’s more than a family affair. All of Mark’s former band teachers – from middle school through college – are band members.
Paul Peterson is a retired middle school band instructor and plays tuba. Larry Novak on tenor sax taught high school band. Dr. Russell Pesola, community band director, was Mark’s music professor at Concordia College.
“For me, this is a musical version of ‘This Is Your
Life,’” said Mark. “It’s fun to have that continuum.”
The Park Rapids Area Community Band formed in 1991.
“I’d been waiting for one for years,” recalled Dodie. “I really wanted to play. I hadn’t played since high school.”
Mark, a sixth grader at the time, had just started on the saxophone. He was eager to join the community band, but youth weren’t allowed to play.
“It’s been a real treat for me,” Dodie said of her son’s involvement with this concert.
Dr. Pesola invited his former student to perform.
Mark studied music theory, composition and saxophone at Concordia, graduating in 2002. He then earned master’s degrees in saxophone performance and music theory at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
“He sorta knows what he’s doing,” Dodie said. “We’re very proud of him.”
Dodie regularly plays with the community band and the “Upper Mississippians,” a 10-piece band that performs 1920s-style swing and jazz.
The community band’s spring concert is slated for Sunday, May 8 at 3 p.m. at the high school auditorium.
Mark will perform “The Masquerade” by Leon Russel, a piece he also played while on tour with the Concordia College band.
“It’s fun to dust off the piece, pick up the horn and play it again,” Mark said.
The concert will feature a variety of music – from composers like Claire Grundman, Percy Grainger, Malcolm Arnold and one of America’s most prominent new composers, Briand Balmages.
A new, unusual piece from Finland was written by Einar England. It’s from the movie “White Reindeer.” It’s likely the second time the music has been performed in the U.S.
The community band will also introduce its new associate conductor, Adam Tervola-Hultberg, performing “His Honor” by Henry Fillmore.
“It’s just a wonderful, enjoyable experience,” Dodie said of the community band. “I’d encourage anyone to join.”