JOHN MARSZALEK TO RETIRE IN JUNE
Key Leader in Area Jazz Education
John Marszalek, an unsung hero in area jazz education, will be stepping down as band director at General McLane High School in Edinboro in June. Marszalek has been a key behind the scenes instigator in the development of many thriving regional projects which add range and depth to the musical experiences of area young people.
Among projects in which he has played a central role:
* The District Jazz Festival, which brings together high school jazz bands in performance activities. John's initiatives were among the first in the state, and helped set the standard for this inter-school program throughout the state.
* Growth in General McLane's band programs. There was a student jazz band when he joined the faculty in 1975. Soon there were two, and now three, participating in programs outside as well as in the school. Gen. McLane's marching band numbered 19 in 1975. The band grew quickly and now has over 150 members.
* Initiating, with others, the Lakeshore Marching Band Association, which now enjoys a healthy life, bringing together area bands and educators.
* As an active member of JazzErie's Board of Directors almost since its inception, John, along with former Collegiate Academy cohort Chuck Lute, initiated and has maintained JazzErie's "Next Generation" concerts, bringing together area student jazz bands and student musicians, and area professional musicians for a spring performance, often at General McLane. A high point in this project was the formation, with assistance from McDowell band director Dave Hetrick, of the "JazzErie All-Stars," a high school student band which performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
* John has been generous in making the General McLane facility available to community jazz groups, including Lloyd Johns' rehearsal bands and other ensembles.
As an educator, and specifically as a teacher of jazz, John has established a formidable reputation among students, parents and other educators. "I was in the McLane jazz band when John joined the faculty," says bassist John Huegel II. "By the next year we were playing Woody Herman and Stan Kenton charts. He had a killer library. John helped all of us along."
Jazz has always been one of Marszalek's passions, as a musician as well as an educator. As a baritone saxophonist, He performs regularly in the Misery Bay Big Band as he did in its predecessor, the Dave Stevens Big Band, and the Doug Dressler Big Band before that. He also performs with the Slippery Rock Concert Band, the Savella Concert Band and others.
John's wife, Marilyn Marszalek, a recently retired elementary school teacher, is also an active musician. Marilyn performs in the Misery Bay Big Band, the Parade Street Dixieland Band and others, along with attending to their (now grown) children and five grandchildren.
A celebration of John's accomplishments as a music educator and as a warm, productive human being is planned for later in the year. Watch this space for details.
January 2, 2014