Nice to Meet You: Mark Lawley

For Mark Lawley, each moment is to be filled with purpose. With each student interaction and task, MBU ’s new director of choral activities and assistant professor of music exudes confidence and care.

Lawley is the director of the region’s district of the America Choral Director Association, managing the area of seven states and providing mentorship to area directors. At MBU, he directs the Chorale, Chamber Singers and mentors MBU’s rising stars, in a combined effort to make the University known as “the Singing Campus.”

1/ Professor’s Chalk

Randy Pausch’s last lecture is watched yearly by Lawley, and he encourages all of his protégés to follow suit. Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, and due to a terminal disease gave a last lecture to the world stressing the importance of overcoming adversity, living each opportunity to the fullest and supporting others to achieve their dreams.

2/ Tuesdays with Morrie

Throughout Lawley’s office are bookcases overflowing with not just sheet music, but books. When perusing his shelves, Lawley has a story and life lesson from each book and will explain so with a gleam in his eye. One of his favorite books, Tuesdays with Morrie, is about a college professor’s mentorship of a student and is highly appropriate for the caring music professor. Students are quickly adopted into Lawley and his wife’s lives as they impart bits of wisdom and fun into the everyday.

3/ Hidden Cards

Peeking out of his books and scattered throughout the bookshelves are cards and notes from students and parents. Lawley keeps these mementos to remember the sentiment and those who have graced his life. When rediscovering the treasure, Lawley will send the note-writer a message of appreciation.

4/ The First Cup

Universities are a common place for one to discover coffee. Most of these coffee explorers are under 20, but for Mark Lawley the discovery came much later. This year, Lawley tasted his first cup of coffee after hearing of a research study linking coffee to increased mental acuity.

5/ Forks & Knives

A self-described foodie, Lawley explores the city of St. Louis through the area’s best and emerging restaurants. On his phone, Lawley keeps a list of restaurants for his family to try. Current favorites include MudHouse, Crown Candy Kitchen, Whisk, Rooster and Crushed Red.

6/ G.F. Handel

As a choral director, it can go without saying that Lawley is passionate about singing. What may come as a surprise is that after a long day of directing MBU choirs and students, Lawley chooses to direct a choir of an even younger generation. When moving to St. Louis, Lawley founded the St. Louis Boys’ Choir after serving as the director of a similar choir in Springfield, Mo. Lawley has worked with Broadway singers, Casting Crowns and other notable vocalists for various concerts including some televised by the Public Broadcasting Service.