The Sixteen's tenor Mark talks party tricks, annoying habits and iconic choral music
What is your favourite Sixteen anecdote?
There are many not fit for public consumption however…. I remember fondly being asked by a fellow guest at a reception in Mexico “Do you like gazpacho?” Without pausing to consider that this was an odd conversation-starter I replied “I LOVE gazpacho!”. My puzzled interlocutor responded “Because if you like this patio, there is an even more beautiful one around the corner…”
What do you do to relax in your spare time?
I don’t have much spare time these days, since I have a 10-month-old son. He takes up all my free attention, and I love it. I used to enjoy hacking round a golf course, but it’s been a while.
If you could perform in any venue, what / where would it be?
We are really lucky that the Pilgrimage already takes in some of the finest churches in Britain. I would love to sing in St Mark’s, Venice though.
Is there a piece you have fallen in love with since performing it with The Sixteen?
There are lots! The one that comes most immediately to mind is Scarlatti’s wonderful Stabat Mater. It’s a piece I didn’t know before I joined The Sixteen and it’s now one of my all-time favourites.
What has been the most challenging piece of music you have ever sung?
For notes, I’d have to go with Poulenc’s Figure humaine or Messiaen’s Cinq Rechants. In terms of a workout you’d look no further than Bach’s B minor Mass.
Does anyone in the choir have any annoying or unusual habits?!
I am sure we all have plenty of annoying habits. People would no doubt tell you I ask far too many questions in rehearsals. I just can’t help myself!
Do you have a party trick and if so, what is it?!
Quite a few that involve making stupid noises. And if you get me drunk enough I play a mean air guitar…
Who were you, or would you be nervous to meet?
I am really lucky to have met lots of important and glamorous people, including royalty of various descriptions. I like to think I am down-to-earth enough not to let it faze me.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a singer?
I’d probably be something prosaic like an accountant. There are definitely days where I long for a nine-to-five job…
What would your ultimate desert island disc be?
Well, I’d certainly take some Bach, but it might also be between ELO, Paul Simon and Pink Floyd. I have pretty eclectic tastes.
What would you eat for your last supper?
Just a small bowl of quinoa. JUST KIDDING! Eggs Benedict and Key Lime Pie.
And the obligatory question…What football team do you support?!
Chelsea of course. Doesn’t everybody?