James Marck, Artistic Director
James Marck received his bachelor’s in Music Composition from Bradley University, where he studied composition with Stephen Heinemann, choral conducting with John Jost, and piano with Ed Kaizer. He is an active member of ACDA and ASCAP. From 2003 - 2008, Mr. Marck co-directed the versatile, mixed acappella group, Acaharmodies. Based in Peoria IL, Acaharmodies performed the whole spectrum of traditional and contemporary choral genres for private parties, community events, and full-scale theatrical productions. While vice-president of Dramatic Crossroads Opera Organization, he accompanied a variety of classic and new operatic works with professional performers from around the Midwest. While in Peoria, he also served as choirmaster for Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Peoria, IL, specializing in both Renaissance and contemporary sacred polyphony. He also directed music for community theater, most notably the 108-voice chorus of Cornstock Community Theater’s 2012 production of Hairspray, directed by Pam Orear. He has recruited dozens of children and teens to American Federation Pueri Cantores, and has taken these choirs to perform in Chicago and Europe.
In 2015, Mr. Marck settled in Rockford. He has sung with the Mendelssohn Chorale and The Camerata Emanon, has served on the Executive Board of the Rockford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, joined forces with Phantom Regiment, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and Rockford Public Schools in launching Rockford Rhythm, and currently assists Youth Against Violence Organization in developing music education for students of YAVO. He lives at the north side of the Coronado-Haskell neighborhood.
Leah Baskin, Associate Director
For over forty-five years Leah Baskin has been dedicated to serving the music education needs of children in school, in church, and in the community. She was the founder and 15 year director of the Rock Valley Children’s Choir. Mrs. Baskin served for ten years on the Illinois Music Educators Association State Board and founded the IMEA Children’s Music Festival for northern Illinois. She has conducted workshops for music educators in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Virginia. She has presented clinics for the IMEA at both District and State Conferences in Children’s Choir Repertoire, International Folk Dance, Recorder Techniques, Handbells in Education, and Movement Education.
Mrs. Baskin’s music education pursuits are many and varied: music education at Augustana College, the University of Kentucky, and Silver Lake College, elementary education at Western Illinois University, training in Conversational Solfege, and Gordon Music Learning Theory, and certifications in Orff Schulwerk, Kodaly Methodology, and High/Scope Education Through Movement. Mrs. Baskin has served in both public and private schools advocating multiple intelligence and Montessori based curriculums. She is a member of American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, Choristers Guild, National Association for Music Education, Illinois Music Education Association, AOSA, OAKE, FAME, AGEHR and the WCSMA.
Leah Baskin is the 2010 winner of the Starr of Excellence Award for contributions to and advancement of music in the community and a 2009 High/Scope Commitment Award for her efforts in supporting movement Education through the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, and she has received the Illinois State Humanitarian award from the Illinois State Medical Society Alliance. She is married to Dr. William Baskin, a recently retired associate of Rockford Gastroenterology. Together they enjoy performing in, attending, and supporting the various arts, environmental, and service organizations in the greater Rockford area.
Board of Directors
Shane Caiola, President