Seasons With Chorale: 11
Season Joined: 2006-07
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
BFA in Theatre from Stephens College (1985), Full Theatre Scholarship; University of Missouri, Voice & Violin full Scholarships (1980-82); studied 2 years w/ Dr. Virginia Pyle; Thomas Paul (Eastman Conservatory)
Do you also have a non-singing "day job"? If so, what do you do?
Living my dream as a working performer. As an actor I have been featured in over 7 dozen national commercials, TV episodes & film appearances since getting my SAG card in 2002. I'm also an Arbonne consultant. www.MarkSmith.Arbonn
Where else do you teach/gig/conduct/sing/perform?
As a jazz/r&b vocalist I've performed throughout North America and Europe at some amazing jazz festivals and concert venues; Royal Albert Hall & Montreux Jazz Festival touring w/ Sting and Vinx in the 90's; performed live with Herbie Hancock, Sheryl Crow, Vonda Shepard, David Sanborn; I also absolutely love singing in recording studios.
Cantor at St. Michaels Episcopal Church in Studio City; soloist for Beverly Hills 1st Church of Christ, Scientist and Hope Lutheran, Hollywood; Quartet bass (sub) for Temple Israel of Hollywood; Narrator/Reverend in Zimbe - (2012 & 2016) Los Robles Master Chorale, Lesley Leighton conductor; had the honor of singing the national anthem at a Lakers Game center court a cappella.
Some exquisite LA Master Chorale recordings out there. I had the pleasure of working on the Górecki - Miserere, 50th Season Celebration, Festival of Carols and the Verdi Requiem DVD w/ Gustavo Dudamel conducting. As an actor I've recently appeared on Ray Donovan as Dr. Harris Witlin in a scene with Liev Schreiber. Had a blast working on one of the final episodes of Rizzoli & Isles. Look for me in the new PIxL MOW, A Moving Romance, starring Keegan Allan & Ambry Childers. As a film score vocalist I've sung on over a dozen scores including: Sing, Secret Life of Pets, Minions, Godzilla, Despicable Me 2, Avatar, X-Men: Wolverine; Had a blast performing in Kobe Bryant's epic Nike - Conductor spot; as the angry dad in the Piston jersey. https://youtu.be/qQYz0I5dE_A
Highlights of your musical career:
This may sound corny, but it's true. Every concert with the LA Master Chorale is a musical highlight. Touring w/ Sting and Vinx; performing in the World Premiere (Toronto) of the Broadway musical, Jane Eyre; performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival w/ Sting & Vinx; singing on Tonight Show w/ David Sanborn & Branford Marsalis; performing at 2am at the Lugano Jazz Festival (Lugano Switzerland is my favorite town in Europe). Singing with Street Symphony's Messiah Project for LA's homeless on skid row. Profoundly moving. StreetSymphony.org for more info.
Favorite choral work(s):
That's a tough one...I love so many. Lauridsen's Midwinter Songs, Stucky Three New Motets, Handel's Messiah (especially the choruses most choirs don't perform.) Seems like almost every year we're moved to tears by another Eric Whitacre or Shawn Kirchner gem.
A defining moment of favorite LA Master Chorale onstage experience:
I'm extremely blessed to have a treasure chest full of incredible onstage memories. Without a doubt one that I shall NEVER forget is the now infamous Ravel - Daphnis et Chloé with Maestro Dutoit conducting the LA Phil & (standing) LA Master Chorale; rocking the Disney Hall during a 5.1 (oh-so-scary) earthquake. Nope. Will never forget that one. It's also one of the most exquisite pieces I've ever had the pleasure to sing.
What are you listening to these days?
Lots of Bach for solo violin lately. Hoping it will inspire me to practice more often (will get back to you on that.) Steely Dan, Debussy's Sonata for flute, viola & harp, Shostakovich String Quartet #6. Nico & Vinz, Brazilian Jazz, Janet Jackson, The Romantic Harp, Timbaland, Toni Braxton, Ledisi....
Anything you'd like to add about yourself?
I fall more in love with this chorale every year. Such an honor and joy to sing with this group. To find out more about my adventures, including acting and singing demos, check out my website: http://MeetMarkEdward.com
Where do you live in L.A.?
What L.A. experience do you consider essential for visitors/newcomers?
Drive west down Sunset to the sea, turn right onto the PCH till you get to Malibu Seafood. Outdoor eating across the street from the Pacific Ocean. Getty Museum is always a wonderful event. Venice Beach, and Santa Monica Pier. Most importantly, of course, is the Disney Concert Hall. Duh!