Mark Gifford has been performing on the Barton Theatre Pipe Organ in Springfield High School since the Spring of 1993. It was at that first concert that Mark started what has become a tradition in Springfield - a theatre pipe organ concert full of surprises.
You never know what Mark has up his sleeve when he sits down at the console. What you do know is that he will delight you with songs of yesteryear played in the theatre organ style. You'll smile with memories and tap your toes to the swing beat of Mark's unique style. Most of Mark's concerts include either a silent movie, or a sing-a-long, or a special guest. He's always got the latest jokes and makes sure that everyone has a good time.
In addition to playing the Barton Theatre Pipe Organ in Springfield High School, Mark is one of the organists at the Lincoln Theatre in Belleville, IL, and the FOX Theatre (lobby organ) in St. Louis, MO. He has recorded a Christmas album on the Lincoln Theatre Pipe Organ entitled, "Pipe In a Swingin' Christmas" which was released in December of 1998.
Mark's introduction to organ was quite a fluke. It was in 1965 that a music store in Belleville, IL decided to put an organ in one sixth grade classroom to see if it would create interest in the instrument. The classroom chosen was Mark's; and it certainly caused interest. Mark was 11 at the time, and had been given an opportunity that would set the course for the rest of his life. Mark played his first offertory in church at the age of 12.
Mark graduated from McKendree College in Lebanon, IL with a B.A. in Speech Communication, and also holds a Masters in Religious Education from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.