Ferry native to ‘Raise the Roof’

MARTINS FERRY – One of Martins Ferry’s native sons is returning home the weekend of June 22 for a benefit show at Grace Presbyterian Church.

Acclaimed Disney World entertainer Mark King will be singing at Grace on Saturday, June 22 for a 7 p.m. performance in the church’s sanctuary.

King, born in Martins Ferry, was baptized at Grace Presbyterian Church and lived in town before moving both to Monroe County and later St. Clairsville, where he graduated from St. Clairsville High School.

He originally attended West Liberty University before transferring and earning his degree from the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

Now he performs as Disney World in Orlando, Fla., three nights a week and also has a regular circuit of clubs across the country he calls home.

King has always felt a strong connection with Martins Ferry and, through the years, has formed a personal friendship with the Rev. William Webster from Grace.

Grace recently had to replace its roof at a significant cost which it will be paying off for some time.

In talks with Webster, King wanted to think of a way to help lessen the financial burden the church is facing and decided to return home and put on a show to help raise funds.

Dubbed Raise the Roof, the show is free but donations are being accepted that will go toward the roof fund during the show.

When King first started his career, he performed as a singer, an actor and a dancer. He’s traveled as a frontman for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and performed at operas around the country.

He has a country act, a rock and roll act and brings numerous other stylings to his shows, depending on what the crowd is thirsting for.

Once, during an appearance on the Crook and Chase show that used to be appear on The Nashville Network, Charlie Chase asked King just how many songs he knew.

King responded that he knows roughly around 10,000 songs.

“Most weeks you’ll find me with my guitar, three nights a week at Disney, and most weekends, you’ll find me at any of about 10 cities around the country.

“I do a lot of corporate parties around the world. I’ve been flown in to London for a one-nighter and also go out and play a week or two at a time at a Vegas casino.”

King even performed a private show for then sitting President Ronald Reagan and a few of his secret service agents.

He’s performed on both Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines and cites a three-week tour of Japan playing in some of the country’s greatest auditoriums as a major thrill for his career.

King hopes to bring bits and pieces of his different shows to his performance on June 22 and give the Martins Ferry audience a full sampling of his musical repertoire. It’s all in effort to help out a good friend and give back to a city he loves.