Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Mark Emery

Where were you born and (if different) where did you grow up? Born Wisconsin; grew up Ojai, CA and Portland, OR

Current residence and marital status/family): Arlington, MA with wife Jennifer and cat Nala

Education: MM New England Conservatory; Fellow, Tanglewood Music Center

When did you start playing with the VSO? 2003

Other current jobs besides VSO: regular work as an extra and substitute with Boston Symphony and Boston Pops; Music Director/Band leader/Composer for The Arch Street Band at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston; private teaching

Favorite composer: Beethoven

Hobbies: Practicing; Jiu Jitsu; writing prose and music; singing; binge-watching Netflix; walking with Jennifer

How did you get started in music? I learned to read music, play piano and sing by growing up around church. My family is very musical and practice was mandatory. There was a rule that my three brothers and I had to take band and choir for one year. So, I asked my dad for a saxophone…..the music store had a special “deal” on trumpet rentals… I am a few practices later.

Describe a typical day: A typical day will involve a meditation sequence I do when I wake up to lower stress and get my mind right. Then after one cup of coffee, 2 ½-3 hours of practice spaced over 6 hours or so, time spent composing and managing my church music job, some amount of singing, and hopefully some exercise. Within all that, several episodes of some show on Netflix. With a couple “life maintenance” duties, that about fills up a day.

Dream job if not musician: builder; cabinet maker; some sort of craftsman

Secret ambition: to be pushed around national historic sites in a “Man-Stroller.” No…..well, totally yes, but… listen, what I do often looks and feels very self-oriented….lots of time in a room alone. Lots of missing things because “I need to practice.” In my life, I’d love to experience a deepening in the ability to help others through my efforts.

Favorite vice: eating Mexican food, then not moving my body.

People would be surprised to know that: I recently sang three Stevie Wonder cover-tunes at Fenway Park Red Sox pre-game.

Best advice I ever got: If you’re driving, just rub one eye at a time….. -or- more seriously, “Become aware of your actual body and the energy in it, then hang on to that awareness while you just look around. Accept. Welcome to the moment.”

Favorite way to spend an evening: Feeling good about how I lived the day. Accepting whatever’s up, as long as I confronted some fear head on during the day. That gives me relaxation.

Pet peeve: Knowing something intellectually, but not being able to live it out in actuality. For me, it is the futile effort I put toward “what others think.”