Title: M. Joan Kuyper Farver Endowed Chair in Music and Professor of Music
Department: Music and Music Education
Office Location: Music Building 219
B.A. from Central College
M.M. from Westminster Choir College
Areas of expertise: organ, music education and church music
Mark A. Babcock, a native of Iowa, received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Central College. He holds a master’s degree in choral conducting and organ performance from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J.
While in Princeton, Babcock sang in the Westminster Choir which performs regularly with the New Jersey Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has worked with great musical leaders such as Joseph Flummerfelt, Joan Lippincott, Robert Shaw and Riccardo Muti. In addition, he has pursued doctoral studies in organ and choral conducting at the University of Iowa.
Babcock has taught vocal music at Union middle and high schools, La Porte City, was the director of music and organist at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids, taught at Kirkwood Community College and directed the Cedar Rapids Symphony children’s chorus, the Discovery Chorus.
He is in his 15th year of teaching at Central. He is the chair of the music department and the director of choral activities. As the director of the Central College A Cappella Choir, he led the choir on a tour of Italy in spring 2009, Washington, D.C and the National Cathedral in 2010 and Brazil in 2013. His duties at Central include private organ instruction; courses in church music, music education and music theory; and choral conducting. He was awarded the M. Joan Farver Endowed Professor of Music at Central in 2011.
Babcock is active in the church music and music education fields. In addition to his work at Central, he has been the dean of the central Iowa chapter of the American Guild of Organists, was the chair for the AGO Region VI Convention held in June of 2011, was elected to the AGO National Council as councilor for conventions in the summer of 2012, is on the board of the Iowa Choral Director’s Association as repertoire and standards chair for music and worship and is the organist and choirmaster at St. Mark Lutheran Church in West Des Moines. He provides consultation, festival leadership and music training in a variety of settings. He was honored by Iowa State University as the 2005 “Organist of Iowa” recitalist.