Even after retirement, band teacher will remain musically active

Elementary band director Steve Mark has taught music education for 38 years and will be retiring at the end of this school year to add more adventures to his repertoire.

“I intend to stay active musically. The band I play in (Checker and the Bluetones) performs quite a lot, especially in the summer. I’ll also be helping with the Summer Jazz program. My other passion is spending time outdoors fishing, hunting and biking. I enjoy attending our grandkids sporting events as well,” Mark said.

Though Mark said he is excited for new opportunities, “There are many things I’ll miss about teaching. Obviously, my students would top the list, as would my colleagues. I’ve really enjoyed helping beginning students progress from not even knowing how to put their instrument together, to being part of a performance. I’ll miss that,” Mark said.

Mark has left not only an incredible imprint on the Cedar Falls band program, he has also had an indelible impact on students’ attitudes toward the art. Ninth grade saxophone player Shelby Conditt said, “I always liked the stories that Mr. Mark told. He created a fun environment where we could all relax and play music together. I definitely would not have enjoyed band as much if he hadn’t started us off in a positive way.”

Mark has also stated that he will miss the small moments, the things that students do that make him smile on a daily basis. “I don’t think I have just one happiest teaching moment. They actually happen whenever you see a student master something that has been a challenge to them. The student’s joy becomes my joy too.”

Though, anyone who has ever been acquainted with Mark knows that he has an amazing sense of light-hearted humor and can not stay serious for too long, he said, “One of the funniest moments I had was long time ago when a French horn student was having a really tough time making a sound. We tried a few things, and then I asked to look closer at his horn. When I shook his instrument, three Star Wars action figures fell out. Problem solved!”

While Mark will be leaving the Cedar Falls Community School District as an employee, he plans on staying involved with students by substitute teaching and volunteering.

Mark has also left band students with some words of wisdom, “Band is a lot like life. What you get out of it is a result of what you put into it. Effort is a major component of success.”

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