Arrowleaf

Courtesy photo

The members of Arrowleaf are (from left) Brady Schwertfeger, Sean Burress, Sarah Marker and Jon Filkins. The band performs tonight at Hear Grand Island.

Twenty or 30 members of the audience Friday at Hear Grand Island will be there to see Arrowleaf, a band that includes Grand Island native Sarah Marker.

Marker, who now lives in Missoula, Mont., graduated from Northwest High School in 2007.

“I’m just really excited to play in Grand Island, and come play in my hometown,” Marker said in a phone interview Thursday.

It’s great that Grand Island has live music, she said. “This didn’t exist when I was growing up. So it’s awesome to be able to take part in it now.”

Marker hasn’t played in the Grand Island area for a long time.

“The last time I performed in Hall County was probably 2007, in high school,” said Marker, who was calling during a fuel stop in Guernsey, Wyo.

The four-piece band was en route to Lincoln, where Arrowleaf played Thursday night.

Tonight, Arrowleaf will open the second week of Hear Grand Island, taking the stage at 7 p.m.

When Marker was a kid, she never imagined that she’d be performing at what is now Railside Plaza.

“Yeah, I don’t think that ever crossed my mind,” she said.

Marker, 30, is one of Rick and Peggy Marker’s three children.

At Northwest, she was in the a cappella choir, 14 Karat Gold show choir, marching band and jazz band.

Prior to that, at Engleman Elementary School, teacher Terry Speed played a pivotal role in her musical development.

“He got me started on trumpet in fifth grade,” Marker said.

She also worked with Speed when she was in band and jazz band at Westridge Middle School.

After high school, Marker got a degree in music business at Elmhurst College, which is near Chicago. It was there that she met her future husband, Iowa native Jon Filkins. She graduated from college in 2011.

“Pretty soon after graduating I moved to Missoula with a big group of friends,” she said.

Marker, who has lived in Missoula for eight years, is actually in three bands.

In Arrowleaf, Filkins is the drummer. Marker writes the music and lyrics and also handles vocals, keyboard and trumpet.

She’s also a member of Norwell and Mendelssohn. The latter group played at the Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln six or seven years ago. That was her last performance in Nebraska.

During the day, Marker works at a nonprofit that sells reusable building materials.

In Montana, she performs at least once or twice a month. But the group has been busy recently. Thursday night’s gig was the 10th out of 14 over the last month.

Marker says Arrowleaf is “kind of like an indie rock or indie pop band.” The band’s music features “hopefully catchy melodies and trumpet lines and pretty upbeat music.”

The band’s website says the music spotlights Marker’s “introspective songwriting.”

Tonight, “We’re going to play all original music,” she said.

Marker’s favorite song to play right now is “Middle Name,” which will be the last song of the show.

Her real middle name is Elizabeth. “But in this song I admit that my middle name could also just be Stubborn. Because I’m pretty stubborn,” she said.

In addition to stubborn and introspective, how would Marker’s mother describe her?

“Independent. She’s very driven,” Peggy Marker said. Her daughter “enjoys having a lot of different projects going on at the same time.”

She’s creative and likes challenges. She always challenging herself “to do something new with her music and whatever she’s involved in,” her mother said.

The entire family will be together for the shows. That includes Karen, 33, of Lincoln, and Andy, 36, of Rochester, N.H. He’s involved in a punk rock polka band called Bolzen Beer Band, which will spend three weeks in Germany this summer.

Peggy Marker is excited to have her family together, and that tonight’s weather forecast is good.

“We don’t get to see her perform very often, because of distance,” Peggy said. “So we’re just always happy when we get a chance to see her do what she loves.”

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I am the Cops & Courts Reporter for the Grand Island Independent. I welcome news tips!

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