Faculty Notes “Marty has been and continues to be a wonderful colleague of mine at Adrian College,” Hodgman said. “He has created remarkable growth in our band programs and continues to draw very talented students to our department.” Hodgman also has a personal connection with Marks, calling him “a kind and gracious friend who I know I can trust for sound advice and loyal friendship.” Teaching at Adrian College is far from Marks’ only passion when it comes to music. His expertise working with young people comes into play in his role as an adjudicator for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association and as a clinician/consultant for school bands in both Michigan and Ohio. He’s also a chief warrant officer four in the U.S. Army Reserves and has worked with two army bands: as bandmaster, executive officer and commander of the 338th Army Band and as commander of the 395th Army Band. To him, being a military bandleader is a special kind of calling — one that ties him into to his former ministerial calling. Military bands perform at all sorts of functions, ranging from change of command ceremonies to public concerts. And Marks knows their music makes a difference to the people who have served in uniform — and to their families. For soldiers returning from combat, “the military bands provide a vital link,” he said. “Music is a way of reconciling themselves to their humanity after they’ve done that most inhumane of things: be in war. … We provide music therapy.” And then there are stories like the one from a concert his band performed in Big Rapids, Michigan. “They put on a good show, and I was very proud of them,” he said. “We closed with ‘Dog Face Soldier,’ a song we do just for fun. It has silly lyrics about preferring the Army to the other branches. It’s just silly, great fun.” But it was much more than that for one concertgoer. After the concert, the woman came up to Marks and reminisced about her husband, a veteran, singing “Dog Face Soldier” to their children and grandchildren. “He’d just died, and it was a great memory for her,” he said. As if all those various musical roles on the high school, college and military level weren’t already enough for one person, Marks also performs with several different ensembles all over the area. For the last 12 years, he has led or co-led the TCA Big Band. “They’re a lovely group,” he said. “They’re almost all community musicians, but they’re very passionate about big band.” He also plays with groups including the Adrian Symphony Orchestra Swing Band, the Jackson Jazz Ensemble, Swingmania in Toledo, the Adrian-based Dan Kesterke Band and the Croswell Opera House pit orchestra. “I love musical theater,” he said. “My wife and I are both musicaltheater geeks. I play three or four (Croswell) shows a year, and the people in the pit are just my greatest Adrian-area friends.” In what passes for his spare time, Marks likes to read, exercise, and spend time on Facebook, which gives him a chance to keep up with friends, former school buddies and his old students. “I started teaching in 1981,” he noted. “My first students have grandkids, just like I do. I enjoy staying connected with them.” Facebook also gives him a chance to be more than a little goofy. “I’m not very mature for my age,” he said, laughing. “I enjoy being silly and cutting up with my Facebook friends. After all, like my favorite
saying goes, band people could have fun in a wet paper sack.” What’s in his personal music library? “When I listen to music, I listen to it mostly to sing along to it, so my iTunes has lots of country, rock and gospel,” he said. “When I was in junior high in the Baptist church choir, if I showed up in a bad mood, an hour’s worth of singing put me in a better mood.” And his favorite vocalists are about as different as could be. “To me, the greatest singers of the 20th Century are Pavarotti, Ella Fitzgerald and George Jones,” he said. By any measure, Marks has created a career for himself that makes him, in Hodgman’s view, “one of the busiest working musicians I know.” But he wouldn’t have it any other way. “You hear stories all the time about professors who spend so much time in their ivory towers that they lose touch,” he said. “The hands-on experience helps you sharpen your skills.” But, he said, although he loves being a freelance musician, he can’t see himself not being a teacher too, because he knows that’s where he has the most impact on others. “I love recruiting students for Adrian College,” he said, “I tell kids, ‘You’re going to have a place on the map. You’re going to be important. And I can not only claim that, I can deliver on it.” And, to the onetime aspiring minister, that affirmation of others that he can do with the help of music is one of the best things he could ever do with his life. After all, he said, “I get to do this thing that lets people know they make a difference in the world.” n
New Dean of Graduate Studies Announced Dr. Andrea Milner — associate professor of teacher education and director of the Institute for Education at Adrian College — recently accepted an invitation to serve as the school’s dean of graduate studies. Milner is an alum of the University of Toledo. There, she earned her Bachelor of Education (with a focus in elementary education) in 1993, her master of education (with a focus on elementary & early childhood education) in 2001 and her Doctor of Philosophy (with a focus of curriculum & instruction) in 2008. In 2009, Milner joined the Adrian College faculty as an assistant professor. She attained her associate professorship in 2015.