By G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD Music is in Mark Davis' blood. He started playing piano at age 5 and was regularly working as a professional by age 15.
Now Davis is presenting a musical reunion of sorts with a concert at the Bing Center Arts Center at 8 p.m. on April 13. Davis will be performing with a number of people with whom he has worked in the past and he is looking forward to the evening.
He told Reminder Publications the concert will be a two-hour survey of American popular music, including songs from the late 19th Century through the Big Band era to rock 'n' roll.
"There will be a wide and diverse range of music in the program," Davis added. "There isn't much we left out. The hardest thing about the program wasn't filling it with songs we liked, but what not to include."
The show will feature vocal performances from Kathleen Jacob, George Govoni, Maurice Lindsay and Ron Oliverio, while his band will include "long-time friends I've know for decades," Davis said. Those friends include Dave Tilley, Paul LaValley, Joey Sullivan, Al Doty and Paul Demek.
A Springfield native, Davis said with a smile, "No matter where I went I would also always wind up back in Springfield." He studied music in the city under a number of teachers including well-known local pianist Ken Manzer and was good enough to join the Musician's Local as a teen.
Davis earned a degree in music from Westfield State University and worked for many years as a full-time musician, playing in bands that toured New England. He also appeared in duos and as a single, he noted. For years, he played music five days a week as a professional.
He also taught music in both the Holyoke and Springfield public schools, but left that field to work in the computer field. Davis explained that now that he is considering an early retirement, he is thinking about "going back to music [full-time] as I did years ago."
Davis said with a smile that the movie "The Blues Brothers" provided a little inspiration for the concert. Like the fictional Jake and Elwood Blues, Davis said he was "putting the band back together again."
To honor the film, the last song Davis and his friends will perform will be "Sweet Home Chicago," which was also played by the Blues Brothers.
Admission to the show will be $5. For other events taking place at the Bing Arts Center, log onto http://bingartscenter.org.
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