News Column

Jazz pianist returns home for free workshop, concert

September 8, 2013


Sept. 08--La Crosse will get a bit jazzed up Wednesday night as New York pianist and La Crosse native Dave Marck puts on a free musical workshop and concert at the Viterbo Fine Arts Center main theater.

"The workshop focuses on how to listen to jazz music -- how to de-mystify it," he said.

Marck will make the music come alive for those who attend, said Nancy Allen, associate professor of music at Viterbo and longtime friend of Marck.

"He is a natural teacher. He's so passionate," she said.

Allen and Marck teamed up to bring this musical outreach to the community, enlisting the support of Viterbo's music department along the way.

Even so, the show is all Marck's.

"They basically gave me the night to do what I want," Marck said.

He described the show as a chance for people to listen to and learn about music they might not often hear. And for Marck, this also is a chance to give back to the community in which he grew up.

"They've been big supporters of me," Marck said of his friends in the music department, "They've treated me well."

After the workshop, the concert will feature Marck playing piano solos. He also will be joined by Greg Balfany on the saxophone, Karyn Quinn on bass and Rich McDonald on drums.

"We just want to have fun and have people to share it with," Marck said, "Having an audience, as a musician, completes the equation."

In New York Marck works for the Dance Institute as an associate music director.

"I'm lucky enough to make a living as a pianist," he said.

It's only a part-time position, but it lets him free-lance his talents, too.

Of course it also lets him come home.

The 1976 Central High School graduate said he still has a lot of family and friends in La Crosse, which offers a change of pace from the bustle of the big city.

"I love coming back to such a beautiful place," Marck said, "I get to downshift my nervous system for a while."

One of the best parts of coming home, he said, is getting to play for his native city.

"I've always wanted to play in the big room at Viterbo," Marck said. "It's the most compelling space in La Crosse."


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