By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN “I find music to be the most personal human expression we have,” Mark Hemingway of Delano said.
It’s a sentiment his whole family seems to share.
Mark’s wife, Jane, and their three children all have the gift of musical talent, and they love singing and playing instruments together as a family.
“We have ukuleles and kazoos, just for fun,” Jane laughed.
Jane is a soprano and Mark is a tenor.
“The kids all fall in between,” Jane said.
The oldest, Emily, is a senior at Delano High School who enjoys playing the piano. Michael, a freshman, plays the French horn; and Katie, a sixth grader, plays the trumpet.
Jane’s specialty is singing, and Mark is an accomplished organist and pianist. They both graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, which has an extensive music program.
Music is a part of everyday life for Mark and Jane, and their kids were born into that atmosphere as well.
“They kind of didn’t have a choice,” Jane laughed. “We used to sing to them when they were tiny babies all the time.”
Mark is the worship and music director at Trinity Lutheran Church in Long Lake. He also plays piano for concerts at the Delano School District.
“Music has just always been in me as a natural expressive element,” Mark said.
Before the family moved to Delano eight years ago, Mark had been a music teacher in Little Falls.
“His passion is teaching kids,” Jane said.
“The passion comes from the thrill of watching people working together, communicating with each other to create a beautiful and emotion-filled moment that affects the listening,” Mark said.
Mark and Jane have instilled a love of music in their own children, as well.
“As a teacher and director, it is wonderful to see that moment when every part of the daily world fades to the background and the individual becomes completely enveloped in the musical experience,” Mark said. “It has been a blessing to see those moments with the students I have taught, as well as my own children.”
“We have a lot of fun with it,” Jane added. The family likes a variety of songs and music styles.
“We also like some of the older ones from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s,” Jane said.
Music isn’t the Hemingway family’s only talent, however.
Jane has been an accountant for Northern Management in St. Cloud for about 20 years, working out of a home office.
“I’m kind of a detail person,” she said. “I like numbers. They fit in little boxes.”
The family places a high value on good education, and that’s the reason they chose to move to Delano, Jane said.
“We continually tell our kids how blessed they are to go to school here,” Jane said. Both she and Mark enjoy volunteering at the school.
Their children have been involved in math league, science olympics, destination imagination, and other academic teams.
Emily plans to attend St. Olaf College and major in Chinese and physics. Michael hopes to become a research scientist, and Katie is still exploring possibilities.
The Hemingway family enjoys a number of traditions, including an annual family vacation.
“We pull out the atlas and pick a place we haven’t been,” Jane said. “We always try to experience something new.”
During the Christmas season, the family usually goes to a theater to see a musical play. This year, they’ll be seeing “Black Nativity” at the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul.
“We’re a pretty tight family,” Jane said.
They also enjoy getting together with grandparents and cousins at Christmastime to make homemade lefse on a hot griddle.
Jane said she and her family are very happy living in Delano.
“We’re small-town people,” she said. “We really enjoy it here.”