• History of our School of Rock

    Mark and Wyatt Photo

    I served on the board of directors for The Crossing Arts Alliance for several years. While I was on the board, I helped the Crossing establish an annual source of income, which has enabled the Crossing to continue its programs of supporting the arts in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

    In 2013 I was diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer. Following surgery and chemotherapy, I was hopeful that the cancer was cured, but in December of 2015, it returned. I am now on continuous chemotherapy in an effort to keep the cancer at bay, but the prognosis is not good.

    Hearing about my disease, the current board of directors of the Crossing decided they would like to do something to honor my service to the Crossing. A music scholarship was mentioned, but one of the board members thought starting a “School of Rock” in my name, would be more appropriate. Having sent my grandson Wyatt to a School of Rock 2 years previously and seen the results and the affects the school had on him, I got excited about the idea. And so the project began with a Celebration of Life party and fund raiser for the Mark Munson Memorial School of Rock in June 2016.

    Articles about the School were published in the paper and talked about on the local radio and television channels. Links to those articles and programs are:

    The contributions from friends and relatives were overwhelming. To date we have raised more than $28,000 for the school. Pictures of the fund raiser are in the photo gallery on this website. A committee of volunteers was formed. Marlee Larson volunteered to be the director for the first year, Lisa Jordan, the artist director for the Crossing jumped in with both feet to help organize things, Lisa Henry-Stawarski from District 181 Community Education volunteered their help and partnered with the Crossing, meetings with the directors of the School of Rock in St. Cloud and other schools were had to learn how to run a School of Rock, local musicians were interviewed and 10 of the best were hired as instructors along with 5 student instructors for our staff. Charlie from Great Plains Graphics designed our artwork free and logo free of charge, and printed all our T-shirts, Ron Morris from Insty Prints designed and printed the posters as his donation, Jon Luhrs from Bridge of Harmony pitched in with some great suggestions about the equipment necessary and plans for that equipment, grant applications have been written and submitted by Marlee and Lisa, Mike Owen has built and launched our new website, Dave Boran supplied the pictures for our website and the list goes on and on. So many volunteers have helped establish this School of Rock, which is on its way to becoming a great summer camp for our up and coming rock stars.

    My cancer is not going away, but presently I am still here and hopefully I can stay around for awhile. This School of Rock has given me lots to do and as most of you know, music heals the soul and sure makes me feel better.

    (Mark Munson)

    Editors Note: Mark passed away on Jan. 4, 2018 after his 4 year battle with cancer. Please read the great article published in the local paper, the Brainerd Dispatch here.