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Hall of Fame - Tina Marsh

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Tina Marsh (January 18, 1954 - June 16 2009) Tina Marsh was born in Annapolis, Maryland on January 18, 1954. During the late 1970s, Marsh worked as an actor in musical theater in and around New York City and Philadelphia. While living in New York, she became interested in jazz singing. After moving to Austin in 1978, Marsh attended concerts by jazz artists Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers at the Armadillo World Headquarters which led to her first collaboration with Alex Coke, The New Visions Ensemble. This proved to be the basis of a lifelong musical relationship between the two artists. Other members of this early group included Rock Savage, Booka Michel and Horatio "Cola" Rodriguez. In 1980, at the suggestion of renowned jazz bassist Charlie Haden, Marsh studied at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York. Upon returning to Austin, she formed the Creative Opportunity Orchestra (CO2)(along with Carl Michel), with the members of New Visions Ensemble at its core.

Conceived as a cooperative organization, similar to Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), the CO2's purpose was to give local musicians an opportunity to compose new works for a large ensemble and, beyond that, have their compositions performed in a concert setting. Performances with world class guest-artists including Carla Bley, Hamiett Bluiett, Vinny Golia, Dennis González, Billy Hart, Roscoe Mitchell, Steve Swallow, and Kenny Wheeler followed. Along with being the vocalist and one of the chief composers, Marsh gradually assumed a managerial role and ultimately became the group's director. For twenty-seven years the Austin-based, composer's consortium produced numerous recordings, performances, and tours.

Marsh was also a participant in the Austin Jazz Workshop as well as a frequent collaborator with local dance companies and choreographers, including Jose Bustamante, Sally Jacques, and Deborah Hay. In 2000 Marsh created and produced the multi-cultural program, The Circle Of Light, which highlighted holiday traditions around the world, including Christmas, Hannukah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and Ramadan, by interweaving music, dance, story, and song. Education was another primary focus. Marsh brought musical programs to thousands of children in her position as Artist-in-Education at Becker Elementary School along with various other community outreach programs.

In 2000, Marsh joined the official roster of the Texas Music Hall of Fame. In 2008, the Austin Critics Table inducted Marsh into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame. 

In 1994 Marsh was diagnosed with, and treated for, breast cancer. In 2008 Marsh learned that the cancer had returned and she died on June 16, 2009.

​The Austin History Center maintains a collection of Marsh's papers. 

Click below to view Tina's youtube performances: