Gem of the Week: The motivation behind the voice of Mark J. Lindquist
GRAND FORKS, ND--His voice can be heard around the country, and it comes from right in the Red River Valley.
This week's Gem shares his voice with hundreds of thousands as a way to share his story of hope.
His tenor voice is one of the most recognized in the Red River Valley.
The booming vocals of Mark Lindquist, as he belts out the Star Spangled Banner.
“I have always loved this song, because musically it has quite a large range, those high notes at the end, land of the free, rockets red glare, as a singer it's fun to hit those notes loud and proud,” said Mark Lindquist.
The 37-year-old was born in Seoul South Korea where he lived in an orphanage until he was 8 months old--that's when he was adopted by a family in Ortonville, Minnesota.
It was in high school when Lindquist developed his love for the national anthem.
“When the band would play, it was like meh, we can do better than this, so in choir, Ortonville High School I asked the choir director to teach me this song so I could ask the coach if I could sing the national anthem for one of his football games,” said Lindquist.
His patriotism only grew from there--after graduation, Lindquist joined the U.S. Air Force for six years--serving time in Afghanistan, and serving in another way.
“I would sing for all the military retirements, promotions, recognitions, change of commands,” said Lindquist.
Lindquist’s audience would soon grow from a few dozen to a few thousand when he moved to the Red River Valley to be closer to family.
He wowed the crowd before the start of each Red Hawks game - soon after the University of North Dakota came calling.
"It's the best gig in America, standing on the ice at the Ralph on Friday and Saturday nights with that fan base, sold out crowd every game, and the students.”
Now Lindquist is performing his 84 second rendition of the national anthem on the national stage - for professional and college teams across the country.
He was even picked for the World Series.
He will perform at several NFL games this year - including this weekend for the Miami Dolphins.
“That moment, everybody is silent, everybody is standing, they have their hats off, hand over their heart, staring at the flag, that moment is a thrill you can't duplicate anywhere.”
And Lindquist refuses to accept a penny for the 101 notes.
“Paying me to sing the national anthem just doesn't seem right and I just look at its honor.”
Lindquist just doesn't use his voice to wow crowds but also to share his story to audiences across the country - hitting one hundred cities this year - as a motivational speaker.
“Here I am making the most out of it, many people could have looked at it as starting out in an orphanage and being shunned at an early age and using it to debilitate them and make excuses in life.”
But Lindquist's voice will not be heard here at the Ralph this year--he is moving out to Denver in mid September to enjoy the great outdoor opportunities offered by the Rocky Mountains.
"It's time for me to have a new adventure, as much as I encourage my audiences to do the same.”
While he may have a new home - Lindquist will still continue to honor the red white and blue with the same enthusiasm - along with the North Dakota green.
So is Lindquist going to sing at Pioneer games out in Denver?
“No! No way! I’m UND for life,” said Lindquist.
Lindquist's most memorable performance was a much smaller crowd--it gave him goosebumps when he performed two weeks ago at a ceremony held at the site where the Star Spangled Banner was written--For McHenry in Maryland.
No worries UND hockey fans--Lindquist is expected to perform the national anthem in Vegas when the Hawks travel there to take on their longtime rival Minnesota Gophers.