An active participant in West Michigan’s music community, Mark Sluiter (trumpet) credits an Al Hirt performance at the Ionia Free Fair in the mid ‘60s with inspiring him to pursue the trumpet. After graduation from high school he attended Grand Rapids Junior College and Western Michigan University, where he majored in Music Education.
In addition to working as a band director at area school districts over a period of 25 years (including Grand Haven, Fruitport, and Spring Lake) Mark has appeared as a member of a number of classical and jazz ensembles. Classical credits include the Kent Philharmonia and West Shore Symphony Orchestra (now the West Michigan Symphony). His work as a freelance performer has also led to engagements with the Hark Up Horns, the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, the Truth in Jazz Orchestra, Muskegon Civic Theatre. Grand Rapids Civic Theater, and Grand Rapids Circle Theater. He has also performed with operatic soprano Jessye Norman, gospel artist Steve Green, and The Temptations.
Mark is only one member of his musical family. His wife, Marla has worked as an elementary music teacher for over 30 years and served as Music Director for several West Michigan churches. His oldest daughter, Brenna, earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Washington and is actively pursuing a career in opera performance, as well as serving as a cantor and choir section leader for a Catholic parish in the Chicagoland area. Bethany, his younger daughter, is a graduate student at Cornerstone University. She is a talented cellist who has performed in high school and community orchestras and with Grand Rapids rock/folk bands. Although music is not her primary focus, she remains active in the music community.
Of TIJO, Mark says, “I enjoy the challenging music we play in TIJO. Being with this group has made me a better musician.”