Meet a Tiger: Mark Spede
Growing up, this Tiger was told that he would never make a living from his music. Today, he does just that by leading the Clemson Band program, providing Clemson University with the sound that “Shakes the Southland.” His passion for his outstanding performance and student success radiates through the university and beyond.
Meet Mark Spede.
Title: Director of Bands, professor of music
Years at Clemson: 16
What I do at Clemson: I administrate the Clemson Band program which includes over 10 ensembles. I also direct the Symphonic Band and Tiger Band.
What I love about Clemson: The synergy between students, faculty, and staff. Oh and football! I love college football. Three of my previous schools were also football powerhouses: Michigan, Florida, and Texas. Last year’s National Championship win by Clemson capped a lifelong dream to be present when my team won the big one. Unforgettable.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of: So many things ! I’ll pick four. 1) When I was hired to grow Tiger Band; it was 166 members my first year and has been double that for the last five years. 2) I am the current President-Elect of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) as voted on by my peers. A huge professional honor. 3) Tiger Band has been recognized for outstanding performances four times by CBDNA, another huge honor. 4) My family!
Where I see myself in five years: In a new office! The band program has outgrown its home in the Brooks Center — the band room was designed for a band of about 200. We’re out of space, and we would love to have a facility that could serve the band students better, hopefully as a Brooks Center expansion!
Last thing I watched on TV: The Goldbergs. I’m not normally a sitcom fan (I hate laugh tracks), but Murray cracks me up. Plus, my mother is a bit like Beverly. Just a bit.
Guilty pleasure: Among my hobbies is architecture — I am fascinated by architecture as art. A few summers ago, I dragged my family on a vacation to Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water.” It was like a pilgrimage for me; better than I even imagined it would be. I love looking at homes on Zillow too! Another guilty pleasure is that I arrange much of the music that Tiger Band plays, and I love hearing the band bring it to life off the page.
One thing people don’t know about you: I grew up in New York and attended the University of Michigan, and I CAN’T STAND COLD WEATHER! I’m happy to be in the south!
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