Marie Grass Amenta
Location: Illinois, USA
Marie Grass Amenta attended Chicago College of Performing Arts (formally Chicago Musical College)of Roosevelt University for both undergraduate and graduate school in music education/choral conducting and was a graduate assistant to both the director of choral studies and music education department chair. She has taught music in public and private schools throughout the Chicagoland area and has served as director of choirs for churches in the western and southern suburbs of Chicago. Marie has had children's choirs in the southern suburbs for the past ten years. In 2006, Marie devoted her energies to forming a community chamber choir, filling a void in the Chicago Southland community. The Midwest Motet Society has two concerts a calender year, as well as singing carols and madrigals for various community events. The MMS has a mission to bring quality chamber choir repertoire to their community and has grown in reputation. Musicality and beauty of vocal sound are things that the MMS strives for. Marie still studies voice and occasionally sings in recitals, concentrating on quirky pieces for quirky sopranos! Marie has written program notes for choral works performed by the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and has given pre-concert lectures for the IPO and the Grande Prairie Singers. She is a champion of music inclusion and as the parent of a young man who has autism, knows the difference music makes in the lives of those who have challenges. Marie has spoken and written about music inclusion as well as using music as a tool for reaching those with disabilities. She is active in the disability community and should finish her book, "Russell is STILL Extra-Special: A Book About an Autism Journey" later this summer. A formally trained ballet dancer, she studied at the nationally known Stone-Camryn School of Ballet. Marie taught dance to pay for her undergraduate schooling, following in the footsteps of her father, the dancer Charles Grass, who was Bob Fosse's vaudeville partner and Ruth Page's assistant. She still has an interest in dance and has written and lectured about the ballet "Billy Sunday", a ground breaking ballet of the mid-20th century. She uses dance in many forms in her other performing interests, whether working with children, adults or sacred dance. Marie has been known to choreograph the occasional musical and has fun doing it! Married to the long-suffering, Dr. Chuck Amenta, an otolarnygologist, the Amentas will celebrate their 30th anniversary in August. And are commissioning a short choral work for chamber choir to celebrate.