Sarah MarkerA native of Grand Island, NE, Sarah got her musical start in the glitz and glamor of show choir. She’s since mostly put away her “jazz hands,” and adds a unique element to Mendelssohn’s guitar-driven sound with her vocal harmonies, melodic keyboard lines, and trumpet accents. Her time with Mendelssohn goes all the way back to the very beginning, when she and Jon decided to write a song while hanging out in their college dorm, a moment she still cites as a defining musical experience. More dorm room writing sessions followed, a band was formed, gigs were played, and a couple of years later, the two of them finally recognized the awkward romantic tension and started dating. Mendelssohn even performed at their wedding in 2014.
An avid sock-knitter, fly-fisher, and tap dancer, Sarah has also sang in two orchestral performances of the music from the Final Fantasy video game series where she encountered the “most devoted fans I’ve ever seen.”
Growing up in Minnesota, Colorado and later Iowa, Jon started music early, banging on empty ice cream buckets; while he sings and plays guitar with Mendelssohn, Jon’s first musical love will always be percussion. After taking some piano lessons through grade school, he learned to play guitar to fulfill that peculiar Midwestern passion for writing songs about grain elevators and telephone wires. He set up his first recording “studio” - two computer headset microphones taped to drumheads and plugged into a headphone splitter - and the rest, as they say, is history.
When he’s not writing songs about mountains and trees, he likes to climb them, and enjoys simply getting lost in Montana.
Jake has been with Mendelssohn almost from the very beginning, joining Jon and Sarah in 2008. He started off as our drummer, but after realizing that drums are hard, he moved on to other instruments and has been making weird noises in the corner of the stage ever since.
Jake grew up in the Detroit, MI area taking piano lessons from his mama like a good son. That is until he found his calling playing the drums after watching That Thing You Do way too many times as a second-grader.
When he’s playing with Mendelssohn, you might see Jake on the mandolin, banjo, or electric guitar, or playing with way too many buttons on various keyboards. He also just recently finished his Masters degree at the University of Montana in Music Composition and presented a piece at the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US conference in March 2015. But that doesn’t make him any less of a soulless ginger…
Pete PuczkowskyjBorn and raised in Chicago, IL, Pete's musical origins began with a comment to his mother that he'd like to try playing the piano, which to a mother means piano lessons, of course! It took a few years of not practicing enough and complaining too much, but eventually he realized that music is pretty cool and convinced his parents to let him try guitar as well. Thus, Pete's cake icing skills were born. His guitar playing has even seen him share the stage with members of Maroon 5, although he didn't realize it at the time... he had just woken up from a nap.
Citing influences such as Joe Pass and Nels Cline, Pete brings a unique, jazz-inflected sound to our band. When playing with Mendelssohn, you might see him sliding smoothly around the guitar neck during a solo, using a cello bow to coax lush chords from an open-tuned 12-string, or using various effects and gadgets to mangle his tone into some serious sonic madness.
When he's not playing music, you might find Pete skiing, climbing rocks, floating a river, or catering to his slightly unhealthy obsession with air-cooled, vintage Volkswagens.
Dan is technically the most “recent” addition to Mendelssohn having joined Jon, Sarah, Jake, and Pete in 2010 just before the band moved West. A Wisconsinite by birth, Dan grew up in a musical household hearing lots of piano, violin, and a wide assortment of recorded music which led him to try piano lessons. He’s since moved on to the drums (which he plays with Mendelssohn), guitar, and various other noisemakers.
Dan describes his influences as “some weirdos and heavy feelers” starting with John Bonham and Dave Grohl early on to Jim Black, Andrew D’Angelo, and David Byrne in more recent times. When playing with Mendelssohn, Dan adds a unique percussive touch to the music often using his own homemade sticks and rods.
When he’s not behind the kit or his contra-alto clarinet (lovingly referred to as “the dahknis”), Dan loves coffee, bicycles, and combining those two for journeys into the mountains.