Tina Marsh Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
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 event flyers and programs, press clippings, press kits, sheet music, administrative files in this collection highlight the activities of Tina Marsh and the Creative Opportunity Orchestra (CO2) from 1981 to 2009. The event programs and flyers promoting local and national concerts along with the press clippings and press kits span the years 1983 through 2006 and document the development and progress of Tina's musical career as a solo artist and as a member of CO2. The CO2 business records date from 1983-2000 and include correspondence relating to scheduling concerts; marketing materials such as information packet materials, event calendars and press releases; financial records; set lists and notes; as well as materials relating to the Benediction album and the Meet the Composer grant. The second half of the collection is composed of sheet including some handwritten original compositions by Marsh and other members of CO2. The Assorted Items series includes thank you letters to Marsh for work on a project in New Mexico and for a performance at Cactus Ranch Elementary; a variety of event flyers, posters and newsletters from arts and political organizations; and an envelope of angels.
Open to all users
The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
The collection was donated by the estate after Marsh's death.
Tina Marsh Papers (AR.2011.016). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2005/030
Donation Date: 2011
Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults/2011.
Detailed Description of the Collection