Due to the developing situation with COVID-19, some NDSU and Performing Arts events may be disrupted.
Performing Arts Updates For general NDSU response to COVID-19, click here.

Retired architect pursues music dream, enrolls as Freshman at NDSU

October 09, 2019

Fargo, N.D. -Fargo, N.D. - Mark Preston isn’t your average freshman. He’s lived a successful international career as an architect, raised a family, and is enthusiastically out of early retirement to pursue a second bachelor’s degree, only this time in music. Preston started his fall semester in 2019 enrolled as a freshman and is working toward his Bachelor of Science degree in Music.

As a 1977 alum, the NDSU campus is familiar to Preston. However a lot has changed since he received his architecture degree. During his first enrollment at NDSU he sang alongside Dr. Jo Ann Miller, NDSU’s current director of choral activities, in the concert choir under the direction of Dr. Edwin Fissinger. As a student colleague 45 years ago and now under her direction, Preston has found it to be an exceptional part of his learning experience. Not only does he have experience in NDSU’s concert choir, he’s also performed in the annual special productions and played the part of the jester with the Madrigal singers.

Preston has always had a passion and interest in music. He played cello in his high school orchestra, took piano lessons, and has sung in numerous community choruses during his professional career as an architect. He has dreamed of choral arranging and once thought it would be fun and easy to just “take a few classes,” and it would all make sense. He has since grown to appreciate that music degrees are complicated and challenging, but is excited to learn everything he can to begin his future in choral writing.

Preston’s outlook on life is a positive one—“There is not necessarily wrong or right; you’re just fine tuning as you go”. He hopes to graduate in 2023.