Stemming directly from his time as a chorister at Ewell Parish Church in Surrey, and already an accomplished pianist and flautist, Mark Dancer began to study the organ with Michael Fleming at Addington Palace, then home of the Royal School of Church Music, passing ARCO and LRAM in Organ Performance while still at school. He read music at Durham University and was Organ Scholar of the College of St Hild and St Bede, continuing his organ studies with Alan Thurlow and David Hill, gaining FRCO in 1984. He studied singing with Hervey Alan.
In 1986 he moved to Birmingham, becoming a lay-clerk at Birmingham Cathedral and Organist of Carrs Lane United Reformed Church in the city centre. During his time in Birmingham, Mark directed the annual festival of the Midlands branch of the Free Church Choir Union, and later, the National Festival.
Moving to the south coast in 1995, Mark spent a period as Organist at St George’s, Waterlooville, where he oversaw the restoration of the organ, and making a recording on it to help raise funds for the project. In 1997 he was appointed Director of Music at St Peter’s, Petersfield. Following the reordering of St Peter’s in 1998-9, he has established a summer lunchtime series of organ recitals, of which this year’s is the eleventh. He is conductor of the Petersfield Choral Society, and developing a recently acquired interest in composition, which resulted in him being commissioned to compose the anthem for the Petersfield Musical Festival’s Centenary Service in 2001. His ‘Mass of St Basil’ (2005) is in regular use at St Peter’s.
In addition to his private teaching practice, Mark is a visiting tutor for flute and piano at Dunhurst School, and works as a music type-setter using Finale and Sibelius (for sample scores in pdf format, please email via the link in paragraph one above). He also has a keen interest in photography and church architecture.