2021-2022 Member of the Year
About Marshall Gurley
Marshall grew up with his family in St. Louis and then later relocated to East St. Louis. His grandfather played the fiddle and his brother played oboe and clarinet. Marshall sang in his church choir and started formal piano lessons at the age of eight. He also dabbled in clarinet for a few years. His high school choral director, David Brown was a big influence in Marshall’s life which led to a love of music that inspired him to teach. He graduated from S.I.U.-Carbondale with a Bachelor of Music in Fine Arts and later attended S.I.U.-Edwardsville where he obtained his Master of Music degree. Marshall taught music for over 20 years in the public school system in the St. Louis area. He has operated an independent music studio in East St. Louis for 50 years, teaching piano, voice, and music theory. Several of his students have performed at the Muny Opera (St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre) and have become music teachers and church musicians in different parts of the country. Marshall also served for 60 years as pianist and/or choir director at his church, Truelight Baptist Church in East St. Louis.
Marshall was a founding member of the East St. Louis-based Westbrook Green Concert Choir, and he served either as pianist, director, or baritone soloist. Another highlight in his career was teaching vocal classes at the famed James Cleveland Gospel Music Workshop of America. He always looked forward to attending the yearly workshops that were held in various parts of the country with up to 20,000 delegates assembled together in the selected city for a teaching, learning, and performance-orientated environment.
Marshall has been an active member of GAE for 42 years, joining in October of 1979, and he served as secretary of the group for several years. Along with the social aspects of meeting with other music teachers in this group, he enjoyed other benefits such as learning new ideas from other teachers, gaining professional development, and involving his students in recitals and the A.I.M. piano exams. When asked what advice he might give to a young music teacher, Marshall said to keep growing and learning and find an organization to belong to such as GAE.