Stevi Marks Obituary, A Trailblazer in Music Education, Deerfield, IL

The music education community is in mourning as it bids farewell to Stevi Marks, a highly respected and cherished figure in the field. Stevi, who was recognized as a semi-finalist for the GRAMMY Music Educator Award, passed away at the age of 69 in Deerfield, Illinois. Her husband, Jeffrey Michael Marks, shared the news of her peaceful passing. While the cause of her death remains undisclosed, the void created by Stevi’s departure is deeply felt by her family, friends, and the countless students whose lives she touched with her passion and dedication.

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Born on August 12, 1954, in Chicago to Howard and Judy Silverman, Stevi Ann Marks devoted her life to music education, leaving an indelible mark on both the Northwestern University community and the School of Music at DePaul University. At Northwestern University, Stevi made a profound impact as she taught Choral Methods 1 and its practicum, Voice Class, and served as the Coordinator of Student Teachers and Assessment for the Bienen School of Music. Her influence extended far beyond the confines of the classroom, inspiring and nurturing the talents of numerous students.

Stevi’s contributions to music education extended to her role as the director of choral programs at the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory. There, she conducted the professional children’s chorus, Voices Rising, and the elite high school ensemble, VocalPoint. Stevi and her choirs had the privilege of performing at prestigious events and venues, including the inauguration of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Merry Merry Chicago and a concert with the Indianapolis Children’s Chorus. Their participation in Bulgaria’s Songs of Life Festival, which commemorated the rescue of Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust, demonstrated the profound power of music in honoring history and fostering unity.

Throughout her musical journey, Stevi Marks achieved numerous milestones. During her tenure as the choral director at Glenbrook South High School, the institution earned the distinction of being designated a GRAMMY Signature School. For 24 years, she directed the Glenbrook Musical and the annual Variety Show, bringing joy and showcasing exceptional talent on stage. Stevi’s commitment to the arts went beyond her teaching roles, as she actively performed with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and directed numerous shows at renowned venues such as the Marriot Theatre, Lincolnshire Theatre, and Apple Tree Theatre.

Stevi’s dedication to music education extended beyond her own pursuits. She selflessly served as the District 7 ILMEA Vocal Jazz Chair and hosted the District 7 Music Festival on two occasions. Her expertise as a clinician and guest festival conductor led her to the Vocal Jazz ensemble at the 2019 District 7 ILMEA Jazz Festival. Stevi’s impact reached far beyond her immediate community, positively influencing the lives of students and educators alike.

Stevi Marks was not only an exceptional musician and educator but also a devoted volunteer. She generously shared her gift of music by singing weekly at nursing homes, bringing joy and solace to those in need. Additionally, she dedicated her time and efforts to Habitat for Humanity, leading multiple excursions and making a tangible difference in the lives of others. Stevi’s passion for music and her unwavering desire to make a positive impact on the world serve as a lasting testament to her character and selflessness.

As the music education community mourns the loss of Stevi Marks, it is essential to recognize and honor her significant contributions to the field. Her legacy will forever inspire future generations of musicians and educators to embrace the transformative power of music and the importance of selfless service. Stevi Marks leaves behind a profound imprint on the hearts and minds of all those who had the privilege of knowing her, and her memory will continue to resonate within the music education community for years to come.


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