Austin History Center

Tina Marsh Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Marsh, Tina
Title: Tina Marsh Papers
Dates: 1981-2009
Abstract: Tina Marsh was a jazz vocalist, composer and co-founder of the Creative Opportunity Orchestra based in Austin, Texas. The collection contains materials such as event programs, press clippings, press packets, Creative Opportunity Orchestra's administrative files, and sheet music relating to Tina Marsh's career as a vocalist, composer and director of the Creative Opportunity Orchestra that span the years 1981 through 2009.
Accession number: AR.2011.016
Quantity: .8 linear feet (2 boxes)
Location: Archives Stacks, Oversized Archives
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

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.

Scope and Contents

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.


Much of the arrangement was imposed by the donor but it is unknown if this was the original order maintained by the creator of the records.
Arranged into six series:
I. Event Programs And Flyers
II. Press Clippings
III. Tina Marsh Press Kits
IV. Creative Opportunity Orchestra Business Records
V. Sheet Music
VI. Assorted Items


Access Restrictions

Open to all users

Use Restrictions

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.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Marsh, Tina.
Creative Opportunity Orchestra.
Austin (Tex.)--Songs and music.
Jazz vocals.

Related Material

Austin Files

  • AF Subject - Creative Opportunity Orchestra M9300(C) (Folder 2)
  • Biography - Marsh, Tina

Recordings Collection

  • A CD JAZZ ITS It's Possible.
  • A CD MJ CREA Migration. Special limited edition, hand signed by Tina Marsh, 2007.
  • A CD MJ MARS Volume I: Inside The Breaking : Pop Songs, Standards, Arias And Ornette, 2006.
  • A CD MJ COKE Iraqnophobia: Wake up Dead Man, 2005.
  • A CD MJ COKE New Texas Swing, 2002.
  • A CD MJ AUST Take to the Sky, 2000.
  • A CD MJ MARS Out of Time, 2000.
  • A CD MJ MARS Worldwide, 1998
  • A CD EA MARS 110 The Heaven Line, 1994.

Separated Material

An issue of La Pena (1986) and The Austin Challenger (1986) have been transferred to the Periodicals Collection.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The collection was donated by the estate after Marsh's death.

Preferred Citation

Tina Marsh Papers (AR.2011.016). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/2005/030

Donation Date: 2011

Processing Information

Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults/2011.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Event Programs and Flyers, 1986-2006, undated

Box Folder
1 1 Event programs and flyers, 1986-2006

II. Press Clippings, 1983-2001, undated

Box Folder
1 2 Press clippings, 1983-2001, undated

III. Tina Marsh Press Kits, 2002, 2006, undated

Box Folder
1 3 Press kits, 2002, 2006, undated

IV. Creative Opportunity Orchestra Business Records, 1983-2000

Box Folder
1 4 Information packet materials, 1986-1993, undated
5 Calendar of events and press releases, 1986-1992, undated
6 Financial records, 1983-1993, undated
7 Administrative materials, 1985-1987, 1999, undated
8 Set lists and notes, 1992, undated
9 Meet the Composer grant, 1992-2000, undated
10 Benediction album, 1988, undated
11 Photographs, undated

V. Sheet Music, 1981-2003, undated

Box Folder
2 1-2 Assorted compositions, 1981, undated
3 Flight, 1989
4 RUMI, undated
5 Skylarks - V. Nelson, undated
6 Sheet music sent by others, 2003, undated
7-8 Orchestra sheet music - not original, undated
9 How to play the recorder, undated
Location BoxItem
qAR 053/008 Oversized sheet music, undated

VI. Assorted materials, 1986, 2003, 2009, undated

Box Folder
2 10 Greeting cards, thank you cards, correspondence, newsletters, event flyers, 1986, 2003, 2009, undated
Location FF
qAR 02/01/011-012 Dance Umbrella, Inc posters, 1986