Sam Marks

Sam Marks, French horn player and director Sam played French horn in the Brio Brass at Como Park pavilion in 2000. Click here to see Sam conduct the Roseville Community Band playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" on the band's 50th Anniversary concert.
Former Role in Roseville Big Band: 


Member during: 

July through December, 1987


School band director, photographer

After playing ten years in the Roseville Community Band directed by Bob Lancette, Sam served as interim director of both the community band and the Roseville Big Band while the Parks and Recreation department conducted a search for a permanent director for both bands. Although Sam put his name into nomination for community band director, he didn't have the time to lead both groups so didn't apply to be the permanent leader of the Roseville Big Band.

Sam was selected as the director of the Roseville Community Band, while Paul Pizner was chosen to direct the Roseville Big Band. Thus, in his interim position, Sam was the last person to direct both groups.

During his brief tenure as big band director, Sam introduced the group to some of the compositions and arrangements that his Johnson High School big band had performed, most notably charts from the Stan Kenton band's book. Sam included some of the Kenton Christmas charts in the group's 1987 concert at Rosedale.

Also a professional photographer, Sam took portraits of the Roseville Big Band on several occasions. His involvement with the band also included substituting on electric bass during the 1980's.

Bringing his extensive music teaching background to the position and focusing on developing the Roseville Community Band's musical excellence, Sam continued as community band director until 1995. He also created and maintained the band's web site while he was director. A highlight of his tenure as band director was the group's 1992 concert tour of Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

Sam taught at the Monroe School in St. Paul while it was a K-12 school, then taught at St. Paul's Johnson High School for eleven years, until 1984. His music program at Johnson including a big band that was capable of playing some very advanced music, and by the time Sam moved on, Johnson had the best jazz library of any of the St. Paul schools. He also directed a community education jazz band that met at the school.

In the late 1980's, a talented 18-piece jazz group known as the "SPIT" band, comprised of music teachers from the St. Paul school system, played for teachers' workshops and other music education gatherings as well as performing in the schools to raise interest in the school music program. Sam directed the group one year and played electric bass in it another year.

After Johnson, Sam taught at Hazel Park Middle School, then Expo (now Wilson) Middle School and various grade schools before retiring.

Before moving from Roseville, Sam played French horn in Brio Brass and the North Lakes Brass Quintet and occasionally substitutes in the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. In the past, he has been a member of the French horn section of the 3M Orchestra, Lakewood (now Century College) Orchestra, and St. Paul Civic Orchestra. You might have also seen him substituting on electric bass in the Johnny Owen Band. While a member of the Roseville Community Band, Sam was a featured soloist on a number of occasions, performing such works as the Rondo for Hosepipe (performed on a garden hose) and the Mozart Horn Concerto #3.

Sam played horn in the Duluth Community Orchestra (whose name is now the Duluth Civic Orchestra) for a year, then became the director in 2014 and continued as director until the Covid shutdown. The orchestra grew from about 35 to 65 musicians under his leadership.

Sam also plays French horn in the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra.

This page was last updated
Monday, August 14, 2023.

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