The World Will Go On Without You
"The World Will Go On Without You:" How Mark DeRose Turned A Love Of Music Into A Lifelong Career
Mark DeRose is a music teacher, a dad, a musician, an artist, and a bandmate—but when asked how he hopes to be remembered, his answer was simple: for being kind.
Mark began his journey to becoming a local legend all the way back in grade school. He was lively and creative in his childhood—playing with instruments, active in the arts, running through sports fields. When he got to college, he stopped playing sports and eventually threw himself into music and art to fill his time. Mark graduated college with a degree in graphic design and photography, but, as he joked, wanted to “further complicate how he made a dollar,” and decided to go into music. “I never expected to be doing either one as a career,” he said.
Today, Mark teaches music as well as performs, vacillating between part-time and full-time as a musician. He also plays in his band “Mark DeRose and the Dreadnought Bregade,” who has plans to record a full-length album this fall. DeRose’s most recent undertaking is children’s music. This summer, he’ll be playing 34 shows at libraries and releasing his first children’s album. Children’s music was another surprise addition to his repertoire of skills; however, when he picked up a gig in a children’s band for extra work, he realized how much he loved it. After three years in the band, he decided to venture out on his own.
Though he now considers music his full-time gig, he incorporates his visual arts into his performances too, from designing maracas for kids to play during his shows, to his stage set features and his band’s merchandise. He even released a coloring activity book for kids that combines his artwork with stories from his music. Another inventive way he showcases his visual art is “Guitart Work.” During children’s shows, he displays images on his guitar that symbolize the stories and lessons of his songs.
Mark DeRose has taken his passions and done what many artists only hope to achieve: made a career out of doing what they love. But for him, the money is only a fortunate addition. “I’ve tried other things, and I’m not happy. Sometimes I wish I was good at numbers,” he said with a laugh.
As we discussed the “artist struggle,” Mark displayed a sense of honesty that was humble and trustworthy. “Either you’re fortunate and you get to go on the road selling your art, or you’re an everyday person who says: ‘okay, I want to make music and art a part of my life,’ so you make it work.”
“I’m fairly confident I’ll always be a local musician, and there’s something different that comes with accepting and being grateful for that.” As he said this, it was clear he wasn’t just attempting to be modest. He meant it. Mark says that his favorite part of his work isn’t the money or the status, it’s the “unique connection with people that you establish through what you create,” whether it’s a five-year-old in a library or an adult at a local bar. Mark’s appreciation for the opportunities Lancaster has given him was clear. Plus, he is as he aspires to be: heartwarmingly kind.
By: Lizz Dawson