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Mark Spoelstra

 

Arcadia High School Alumni Association

 

Musical Alumni

Mark Spoelstra Spencer Sercombe
Greg Tortell & Joe Ramsey Timothy Hagelganz

 

 

MARK SPOELSTRA

Mark Spoelstra was born June 30, 1940 in Kansas City, Missouri. He dreamt of being a guitar player at the tender age of seven years old. By the age of 11, he was playing his first real guitar, and by 18 he had begun to establish himself as a professional musician. After graduating from Arcadia High in 1958, he joined a long stream of musicians pouring into Greenwich Village, singing on street corners all night for a few dollars to buy his next day’s food. It was during this time that he met an equally struggling singer/songwriter with whom he would play at various times during the next several years; Bob Dylan.

 

In 1961, his first break came and he recorded two albums for Folkway Records. Shortly afterward, he signed with and began recording for Elektra Records. In 1965, he performed at the Newport Folk Festival. Following a stint in the military, he began a tour of the eastern United States, Canada, and Holland and was listed in Who’s Who in America. During the main part of his career, Mark recorded six albums. Some of his music can be found in the soundtrack of the film, “Elecktraglide in Blue” starring Robert Blake.

 

By the time 1969 rolled around, Mark and his wife, Sherry, were nearly starving. Mark’s career had never caught on commercially although he had achieved considerable critical success. At this time a minister befriended Mark and Sherry and urged them toward recognizing a need for God in their lives. By genuine invitation, Mark and Sherry asked Jesus Christ to come into their lives. For the next eight years, Mark gave up the music business and devoted his life to his ministry. In 1976, he recorded his seventh album, “Somehow, I Always Knew”. He began to integrate his music with his ministry.

 

Mark was, again out of the recording industry for the next 24 years. In 2001 he recorded and released “Out of My Hands”, an album of mostly original compositions. Music critic, Zac Johnson said of this effort, “his days of dueting with a young Bob Dylan may be far behind him, but his passion for clear, Delta-influenced guitar work and his bright vocals are none the worse for wear. His chiming 12-string guitar songs evoke the simple and powerful work of Leadbelly, while his duets with harmonica players Rick Levine and Chris Christensen showcase the influence of friends Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.” Johnson concludes his comments by adding, “Shining through all of these pedigreed influences is Spoelstra’s own winning intimacy and good-naturedness, which really makes every song his own.”

 

High praise, indeed, for one of our own!

 

Arcadia High School Alumni Association

 

Entertaining Alumni

The Turner Sisters Jim Coyle
Kathy Wolveck Bob Breech
Wayne Stam Phil Hendrie
Chris Murphy Kathe Klopp

 

 

 

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