Lark fell in love with some of the old bluegrass gospel tunes, noticed that few groups sang them anymore, and wanted to share them for the joy they inspire (without needing to take the words literally!) Lark and Dale sang together in the Pacific Mozart Ensemble for many years; it turned out that when Lark reached out to Dale, he had grown up in some of that gospel tradition and was excited to join in. We then reached out to the Bay Area A Cappella user group in search of a tenor and found Mark, who was intrigued to sing and explore with us. He also plays guitar, Lark plays bass, and here we are! And although Mark has been lobbying to change the name to Mark and the Larkdales – Arkdales? – The Larkdales it is. Our repertoire includes a cappella and accompanied music that can broadly be called “Americana”, including bluegrass, old gospel, and country with a sprinkle of pirate songs and more. We are drawn to music that has heart and soul and joy and humor and look forward to sharing it with you soon!
Lark is the founder of the Larkdales and sings baritone and tenor (and yes, sometimes even bass). She has sung with Solstice, an award-winning women’s septet, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and the Pacific Mozart Ensemble (now Pacific Edge Voices). With PME, she was a soloist on the Kent Nagano/Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin Grammy-nominated recording of Bernstein’s Mass, and performed with Dave Brubeck, Sufjan Stevens, Sweet Honey on the Rock, and Bobby McFerrin.
Dale has sung in classical ensembles for most of his life – early music, contemporary music, a bit of opera – but always has been a lover of diverse genres of American music, with a special kinship for gospel. His other group, Pacific Edge Voices, has a wildly eclectic repertoire and every year does a concert of a cappella jazz and pop – which often includes country, bluegrass and other Americana.
Mark Shepherd sings tenor and writes some arrangements for the Larkdales. Mark has been singing acappella for 3 decades. Before the Larkdales, Mark co-founded and sang with One Night Stand, an acappella jazz quintet that performed around the bay area, including a 1st place finish at the annual Acappella competition at Silo’s Jazz club in Napa. Mark is also a founding member of the pop/jazz group Just Voices, in Marin county, and has performed with that group for several seasons. Mark has studied vocal technique with Jan Pedersen-Schiff, Kristen Womack, the Ali Akbar School of Indian music, and the Freight & Salvage. His latest project is teaching guitar and playing bluegrass music at Rootpile, one of the few Bluegrass camps at Burning Man.