April 15, 2014

On-Stage Host: Mark Powers — The Beat Goes On
Category: 2014 Event, On-Stage Hosts

Mark Powers

Keeping the pulse is an enormous part of Mark Powers’ life.

“We all have heartbeats, so we’re all rhythmatists in one form or another,” Mark, a percussionist, says. “The better we get at aligning our own internal rhythms and keeping the pulse of our personal and professional lives solid and ‘locked-in,’ the more powerful our impact can be on the rest of the external world.”

TEDxConcordiaUPortland (now known as TEDxMtHood) is delighted to welcome Mark back as On-Stage Host for the second year. Mark’s magnetic presence captivated audiences when he spoke at our 2012 event, and the TEDxConcordiaUPortland (now known as TEDxMtHood) Planning team has loved partnering with him ever since.

“Simply put, I have been — and continue to be — incredibly honored,” Mark says of participating in the TEDxConcordiaUPortland (now known as TEDxMtHood) community. “Being asked to speak at a TEDx event is a dream that many people (myself included) would love to see come true. It’s scary; it’s challenging; and, for me, it was powerfully moving.

Mark with team at 2013 event

Mark with our 2013 team

Returning as the On-Stage Host for the 2013 event was completely different and challenging in its own ways, and pushed me to step into a role I don’t usually assume. … The connection and friendships made, collaborations begun and mutual support I see come from this group is continually inspiring.”

An educator, speaker and writer, Mark grew up in the Midwest and moved to Oregon seven-and-a-half years ago, teaching drum lessons and performing gigs while based out of Salem.

After 15 years of teaching drum lessons, Mark shook up his life three years ago. On April 11, 2011, his birthday, he set a goal to quit the comfortable routine and delve into the unknown. “I made the decision to reinvent things,” Mark says. “After I committed to that, everything was set into motion.”

He visited the Midwest again, where he taught percussion workshops to a total of 2,000 music students at more than 50 schools for three weeks. He jetted off to Kuwait City, where he worked as Artist-in-Residence at an International School. Next was the South Pacific, where he performed for four months on a cruise ship, based out of Brisbane, Australia. Finally, after yet another gig, which kept him in Seattle for six months, Mark ended up back in Portland.

Mark’s pulse has only quickened since last year’s event. He has launched an educational website called DrumItInAMinute.com, moved back to the Midwest, this time to Omaha, Nebraska., co-authored an instructional percussion book called “The 2-in-1 Drummer”, and self-published a collection of drumset etudes called “Solo in Style.”

He says seeing other people accomplishing their goals, even if they’re not anywhere close to things he does, makes his heart race. “Seeing people pushing themselves beyond what the rest of the world thinks is possible gets me amped up and excited to work harder myself,” Mark says.

One person Mark has looked to in his field is friend and fellow drumming educator, Mike Johnston.

“(He) has harnessed the power of some of today’s technologies and put them to use in a way that no other musician has ever previously done,” Mark says. “He has proven to me — along with many others — that the Internet can be a viable vehicle for simultaneously educating, developing a lucrative career, gathering together a like-minded community and being a positive force in the world. This has been inspiring and has opened my eyes to a number of options that I might not otherwise have dreamt up or given serious consideration.”

We are thankful Mark has become an integral part of our community and look forward to him being our host and guide throughout the event on Saturday, May 3rd.

 If Mark could harness the pulse and energy of 700 TEDxConcordiaUPortland (now known as TEDxMtHood) attendees, he would bring them together in “some massive rhythm making.”

“And yes, that may happen!” Mark says.

Lisa Anderson

Lisa Anderson is a Hawthorne-based storyteller, adventure lover and a dress-up queen. She’s one of several storytellers who will be sharing write-ups, interviews, and perspectives on the many extraordinary people from our surrounding community.