UCO Alumnus Releases First Solo Album

UCO alumnus, former Oklahoma Teacher of the Year and former Edmond North High School orchestra teacher Peter Markes released his first solo album after retiring from teaching last year.

Markes taught string orchestra at Edmond North High School and assisted at Edmond middle schools over a span of 15 years.

The journey to creating his album started when his musical partner since high school, Kyle Dillingham, emailed him in January 2017, asking about availability for a future show in August. Markes said he joked about having to resign, but Dillingham actually gave him a list of things they would be able to to if Markes did not have a high school teacher’s schedule.

Markes joined Dillingham’s band, Horseshoe Road, in 2009 as the guitarist.

During this time, Markes was still teaching and had to take personal leave time to go and perform shows. His school duties prevented Markes and Dillingham from practicing regularly and going on multi-day tours.

“We just made the decision that it was time to try this next step, which is being part of a band full-time and being a full-time musician,” Markes said.

Markes said that while the transition has been one of the biggest changes his family has gone through, it has worked well for them. As a result, he feels like being a musician has let him be more present with his family, whereas when he was teaching, he was at school for nine to 10 hours a day around 195 days a year.

Markes’ album, I Have a Dream, has an acoustic and folk-pop sound with 12 songs that Markes described as having a theme of encouragement.

“I hope [the lyrics] are encouraging or thought-provoking to audience members,” Markes said.

The album is heavily inspired by finger-style guitar, as seen with artists like Passenger or Iron and Wine, according to Markes. Some other influences for his sound included James Taylor and Jim Croce.

He also said that while his music is not Christian in terms of genre, his songs reflect the values of what he considers Christian teachings to be.

“My lyrics aren’t necessarily Christian…there’s no overt references to God or Jesus, but I think song is an important vehicle to share a message,” Markes said. “Those messages of my faith base are messages of love, messages of kindness and messages of using our time to the best of our ability.”

Markes’ music is available on Spotify, YouTube and Deezer.

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