Mark Seamons: Living in Tune

“Mark Seamons: Living in Tune,” Ensign, Dec. 1988, 60

Mark Seamons: Living in Tune

Mark Seamons is a uniquely gifted musician. To listen to him play a piece on the piano after he hears it once is to be convinced. Whether the music is complex or simple, if Mark can listen to it, he’ll be able to play it.

When Mark was two, he heard some children playing a simple piece on the piano, then tried it himself. It was immediately apparent to his father and mother that Mark had a unique talent. By age five, he was playing the organ.

“In my home as a child, we had many 78 rpm records of all sorts of music,” Mark recalls. “These recordings became my source. Since I couldn’t read music, I had to hear it—from Dorsey, Lombardo, whoever. That’s how it began.”

Congenital tumors in the retinas of his eyes—called retinoblastoma—had required the removal of Mark’s eyes when he was four months old. His blindness forced him to learn to play all music by ear.

Mark has now recorded two albums of religious music—his own arrangements—and is working on a third album. “This one will be pieces I composed myself,” says Mark. His favorites range from popular and jazz to country and western. He performs such varieties at a Salt Lake City hotel dining room, as well as for school assemblies and Church activities.

“I want to be a good ambassador for the Church wherever I perform,” Mark says. He serves as ward organist and as Primary pianist in the Center Ward of the Salt Lake Rose Park Stake. Ward members will tell you that Mark expertly tailors his music for Primary or sacrament meeting.

In August 1982, Mark married Melva Gunn, and they have three children—two boys and a girl. Melva describes Mark as “the most sincere and caring person I’ve ever known. He doesn’t know how to speak unkindly. Even with the energetic demands of our little children, we lead a simple and calm life.” Mark and Melva are usually among the audience at the Thursday evening Tabernacle Choir rehearsals on Temple Square. “It’s one of our favorite dates,” Melva says. “Music somehow keeps us in tune with each other and with the Spirit.”

Photography by Ann Florence