It was January 14, 2015 when I attended a board meeting of Early Music Hawaii that I first suggested the name Dana Marsh to conduct a concert here. It was actually Peter Hallock who told us about Dana years and years ago — Dana was one of Peter’s former students who was trained as a boy chorister at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City and at Salisbury Cathedral in the United Kingdom. He then went to Eastman School of Music where he majored in organ performance, then received his master’s and doctoral degrees in historical musicology at the University of Oxford in the U.K.
When we first met Dana in the late 80s, he was the organist and choir director of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Monrovia, CA and we hit it off immediately. Dana visited Hawaii frequently in the early 90s and in 1993, he and Carl performed a countertenor duet recital in the courtyard of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. Another time he conducted the LCH Choir and Bach Chamber Orchestra in a Bach Cantata — don’t ask me which one, though!
Dana became Director of the Paulist Boy Choristers of California (1992-2000) and although the group’s repertoire was grounded in sacred choral music, they were heard in numerous film soundtracks such as “Edward Scissorhands, “Flatliners,” and the TV mini-series “The Thorn Birds,” all under Dana’s direction. I’ll never forget what Dana said: “It’s 90% animal control!”
Over the years, we met up with Dana in many parts of the world, including many times in Southern California (where his parents lived — his father used to teach violin at the University of Southern California), in Boston, in Seattle, and even in England, where he drove us around. Yes, he had gotten his U.K. drivers license and drove a stick shift with his left hand! Dana’s father, Peter Marsh, played the violin at my father’s funeral.
Dana taught early-music history at Oxford and Cambridge universities and published original research and review articles through the scholarly presses of both institutions. He was assistant director of music at Girton College Cambridge and was canon director of music at Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, from 2010-2014.
As a conductor, he entered into fruitful collaborations with the London Mozart Players, Magnificat (U.K.), Ensemble Charivari Agréable, the Band of Instruments, the Choir of St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra and the Indiana University-Early Music Institute Baroque Orchestra.
He has worked as a vocal soloist and consort singer in the U.S. and the U.K. (1992-2008), performing with the American Bach Soloists, Concert Royal, the New York Collegium (under Gustav Leonhardt), the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra and the Academy of Ancient Music. He founded the early-music ensemble Musica Humana Oxford—which toured the U.S. to critical praise—while living in the U.K.
While completing his doctoral research, he sang regularly with the Choir of New College Oxford under Edward Higginbottom and with that ensemble, participated in numerous collaborations with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the European Union Baroque Orchestra; additionally, recording 15 discs, one of which won the Gramophone Award for Early Music in 2008. He has recorded variously for Sony, Universal, Avie, Decca, Erato, Koch International Classics, Signum and Public Radio International.
In August 2014 Dana was named associate professor of music at Indiana University in its Early Music (now called Historical Performance) Institute and he will be bringing four period instrumentalists with him to Hawaii for next week’s concert.
So this weekend, my project was to work on the program for next week’s Musica Poetica concert. Ian Capps, the president of Early Music Hawaii, types the order of the music selections, the program notes, the texts, translations, and “thank you” notes to the volunteers — all in a word processing document, and then I use a page layout software to vary the font sizes, add tabs, and make other formatting changes to “make it look pretty.”
What caught my eye was the concert dedication:
In Memoriam, Carl Crosier
September 11, 1945 – August 28, 2014
This program is dedicated to the memory of Carl Crosier, whose inspiration, teaching and direction during three years as Artistic Director of EMH have made it possible for us to present these concerts with an outstanding ensemble of local performers.
Carl would have been so pleased to know that Dana is still making music with us!
Musica Poetica, Saturday, September 19 at 7:30 pm at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. Concert tickets will be sold at the door and online at www.earlymusichawaii.com.