Growing up in a single parent home in inner-city Dallas, Mark Marquez had a dream to use his gift of music to impact people. Learning the hard lessons that came from growing up on the streets, he longed for something more fulfilling out of life.
As the years passed and Mark grew up, he found a moderate degree of musical success singing in regional Tejano bands, yet the recognition and lifestyle that went with it still seemed to leave him empty.
Leaving music behind and finding career success in the Health Club industry ultimately brought Mark and his young wife Lacie to Corpus Christi, TX in 2003, where he managed a national fitness club for a season. Even though he had the outside appearance of happiness and health, his life was on a downward spiral.
In 1997 a young seminary graduate named Bil Cornelius moved to Corpus Christi, TX with a dream to start a church that would use modern methodology to communicate God’s timeless truth to a new generation of people who did not attend church.
Armed with very little in the way of resources, but possessing strong determination and faith, Pastor Bil and Jessica gave birth to Bay Area Fellowship. With unwavering perseverance, a small core group of people stayed true to the vision and BAF began to grow exponentially. Starting with literally 5-10 people in late 1997, the church was running 1,000 people in regular attendance by 2001 and over 2,000 people by 2003 when Mark moved to Corpus Christi.
Growing up without a male role model, Mark had a hard time making the choices conducive to having a healthy marriage and spiritual life. Searching for guidance, he felt led to visit the “crazy church” that just happened to be across the street from his apartment. The decision to follow through and actually attend services would end up changing his life forever…
“I came to church, desperate, broken, in need of truth and help, and to be quite honest, counsel. I sat in this church and had never really gone to church before. I had encountered God as a young boy, but never understood Him. As I sat, I heard some amazing music, and having been involved in music, I knew this was great! I watched the drummer (Paul Schulz) and he had something special–something I needed. Then Pastor Bil began to speak, and I felt as if there was no one else in the room. His message challenged and inspired me. Since that point, my marriage, my life and my heart have and are being restored! I cannot see myself ever doing anything else than reaching the lost through music.”
HUMBLE STAFF BEGINNINGS
Mark and Lacie began attending BAF and God began to change Mark’s heart through Pastor Bil’s sermons and the worship music. Eventually, Mark felt led to audition as a singer for the BAF worship band and was instantly recognized for his exceptional singing talent and presence. Having a heart for teenagers and the unique struggles they face, Mark also began volunteering as a leader with the student ministry of the church. After 18 months of leading as a volunteer at BAF, Mark began to feel a strong call to ministry and quit his job at the health club to take an entry level staff position at BAF. Staying true to Christ and the calling on his life, Mark prospered in each assignment and was ultimately promoted to Worship/Arts Pastor at BAF.
The Great Songwriter
Leading worship for thousands of people each weekend alongside a host of musicians and singers, Mark began to get original song ideas from the Lord and from the countless stories of all the people going through life change at BAF. With some help from the other key members of the band, the songs were refined and ultimately played regularly in BAF worship services, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
All of the songs have a unique God story; anything from waking up at 3am with one portion of the song only to be surprised that another person was given the other half, to displaying the lifestories of people in the band to members of our church. God has uniquely touched each one of these songs and formed it for people no matter if they have begun a walk with Jesus or have been a follower all of their life. I believe God has a message for everyone with this album.
Destiny Prevails Again
In March 2010, Mark accompanied Pastor Bil and other staff members to hear Pastor Bil speak at the Los Angeles Dream Center. While there, Lead Pastor Matthew Barnett and Worship Pastor David Hanley (also the Lead Singer for Press Play) of the Dream Center, heard a demo of the BAF band and were so impressed they instantly offered them a deal with Dream/Universal Records!
Shake the Nation
With recording wrapped up in mid-July, Shake the Nation’s debut album is set to be released on Dream/Universal Records on October 26, 2010. Along with Marquez on vocals, the band is rounded out by guitarists Sal Romeros and Aaron Hernandez, bass player Isai Lugo, keyboardist Phillip Borden, and BAF Executive Pastor Paul Schulz on drums.
The band chose the name “Shake the Nation” after the lyrics of the single “The Anthem.” Like Mark, each member of the band has a life change story about what God has done in his life through the ministry of BAF and they each want to “tell the world about what we’ve found” in Christ—salvation and life transformation!
From the truth that only God can fulfill what’s in our hearts found in the song “Satisfy”; the fact that we all need a savior seen in the song “Hero”; and the promise from 1 Corinthians 13 of faith, hope, and love found in the song “Open”; the CD has a message for everyone. And it appeals musically to non-believers as well with its soaring lead guitar lines, strong melodies, and transformational lyrics. Psalm 33 (The Message): “Use guitars to reinforce your Hallelujahs! Play his praise on a grand piano! Invent your own new song to him.”
With the release of the upcoming CD, Shake the Nation is excited to take its music around the United States and beyond. Although their primary purpose will always be to lead worship at BAF’s 6 weekend services, the guys plan to do live shows during the week at every opportunity. With decades of collective experience playing in secular and Christian venues, Shake the Nation brings not only a great worship presence but a dynamic and solid overall audio/visual experience to its live shows.