Mark Thress is an accomplished musician, with a wide range of experiences that have shaped his development as a well-rounded artist, performer, and scholar.
As an Ohio State University Fellowship recipient, Mark received both a Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance and a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy, in addition to the Singing Health Specialization certificate program. Mark graduated with honors from James Madison University with a Bachelor in Music in Vocal Performance, as well as a minor in Communications Sciences and Disorders.
Mark fell in love with music at a young age. In 5th grade, Mark played “Louis” in a local high school production of The King and I, which sparked his interest in performing. In high school, Mark practiced the piano by playing songs for the elderly as a volunteer at an assisted living home, the first time he began to conceptualize the healing power of music. At 17 years old, Mark was selected to participate in a summer program at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center--the host for the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts-- during which he was chosen as the first person to sing, perform and record part of an upcoming musical under development. It was after this opportunity that Mark decided to take his passion for music and turn it into a lifelong career.
While pursuing his undergraduate degree at JMU, Mark had the opportunity to compete in a number of prestigious vocal competitions. In the inaugural NATS National Student Competition, Mark placed 1st in the Upper Collegiate Division, affirming his status as one of the top tenors in the nation. In addition to his competition experience, Mark has performed various roles in opera and musical theater productions.
Mark also performed internationally, thanks in part to an honorable scholarship from the Cornish American Song Institute. During his time at the institute, he studied performance in England at Oxford, Falmouth, and London, while receiving numerous master classes and seminars from internationally renowned performers and professors.
An experienced private voice coach and piano teacher, Mark continues to teach lessons in Musical Theater, Classical, Opera, Jazz, Pop, Rock, and accompanying styles. As Music Director for the nationally renowned college a cappella group, Exit 245, Mark was a Producer of several albums, including Boyfriend Material, which won the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for “Best All-Male Collegiate A Cappella Album” in 2013.
Beyond his own personal scholarship, Mark has sought to pass along his skills and experiences through a variety of teaching, research, and service opportunities. As a two-time Guest Artist for the Shenandoah’s Governor’s School of the Arts, Mark has been a music director for a student production of Pippin, as well as the teacher of a Music Business and Technology course. Mark’s research includes music seminars for students with autism, in addition to an iPad Music Therapy Service executed in collaboration with the Hahn Oncology Center at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. In the latter experience, Mark was awarded a $3,000 grant to develop care-based, music technology solutions for patients to alleviate stress and track cognitive development during chemotherapy.
Mark’s current projects include: running the artist mentorship organization, Vocal 360 Global, performing and songwriting, and instructing as a part-time college professor at Belmont and Lipscomb University.
Throughout his numerous professional and personal experiences with music, Mark has sought to distinguish himself as a dynamic performer, scholar, and pedagogue.