Mark Bettcher knows a little bit about tooting your own horn.
After earning a bachelors degree in music education from the University of Illinois and a masters in trombone performance from Northern Illinois University, Mark went on to perform with some of the top names in jazz and pop, playing with Tony Bennett, Joe Williams, Louis Bellson, Slide Hampton, Ramsey Lewis, Gladys Knight, and The Temptations. He toured with Phil Collins (recording a live CD with him in Paris) and recorded five multiple Grammy nominated CDs with the Frank Mantooth Orchestra.
But it’s his work as an educator that really gets Mark jazzed.
A teacher in Chicagoland’s District 300 for 27 years, his Carpentersville Middle School Jazz Bands won numerous competitions and hosted several guest artists. Since 1989 he has also directed the jazz program and orchestra at Dundee-Crown High School, growing its string program from less than 20 students into three orchestras of more than 160 students.
Mark also directs the Elgin Community College Jazz Program. He developed the ECC Jazz Ensemble into one of the area’s hottest bands and founded the annual ECC Jazz Festival and Youth Jazz Program. The program has attracted guest artists including Bill Evans, Bobby Shew, Arturo Sandoval, Randy Brecker, and David Liebmann.
Mark’s two solo recordings – Through the Eyes of a Child and Take a Look Inside – received critical acclaim. He used the profits from both to buy instruments for disadvantaged students.