Stevi Marks conducts her last musical; reflects on career

Dana Sim, staff reporter

Choir Director Stevi Marks made her mark while directing West Side Story, her final musical at South. Marks is expected to retire at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

Stevi Marks first came to South in 1993 as an Act Director for the Variety Show.

In 1995, she became the overall director for the Variety Show. In 2002, she was hired as the full-time Choral Director.

Today, on top of directing the Variety Show and choir, she directs the Glenbrook Musicals; however, 2013 will be her last year as director of the Glenbrook Musical.

“I’ve done some incredible things not because of me but because I’m moved by what my colleagues do and expect,” Marks said.

Senior Noor Abdulmassih has worked with Marks as the assistant director for the 2011 and 2013 Glenbrook Musicals.

“She’s left a legacy here at South,” Abdulmassih said. “You could easily see that Mrs. Marks loves Glenbrook South and she’ll do anything for the school.”

Marks has worked closely with Martin Sirvatka, head of the Music Department, for the past 20 years, according to Sirvatka.

“I don’t think I’ve known anyone that works harder than she does and that inspires me,” Sirvatka said.

Marks also teaches several music classes at South and takes away a lot from her students.

“I’m going to really miss seeing my students,” Marks said. “But I will also miss the drive, the energy, [and] the passion for learning and always achieving such a high level.”

Abdulmassih has been deeply impacted by the things Marks has done.

“Words cannot really describe what Mrs. Marks has done for me,” Abdulmassih said. “She not only directed me vocally and musically but also on a personal level. She connects to all her students on a personal level.”

Marks’ big impact on the Music Department is a result of the large amount of time she dedicates to it. This has hindered her involvement in other sectors of South,  a regret  of Marks’s.

“I like to go to my student’s sporting matches, but how am I supposed to do that if I have rehearsal every day after school?” Marks said. “I can’t support my colleagues or watch the kids on the field [enough]…Those sorts of things are my regrets.”

Jonathan Kim, a 2012 graduate of South, has worked closely with Marks through his involvement in Scat That!, according to Kim.

“She really showed me that music, performing and the arts are things that bring people together better than anything else,” Kim said. “She always created an environment in which music and performing went hand-in-hand with community and love, and that is what made my time in the GBS Music Department one of the best times of my life.”

Arian Moayed, a 1998 graduate of South, is currently a director and producer for a theater in New York. He credits Marks for getting him excited and inspired for theater and entertainment.

“Mrs. Marks’ ability to manage that many different entities and really work on making the best show for the night was more than influential,” Moayed said.

Marks expressed her love for South, using her local high school as a basis for comparison.

“The big thing for me is how much I love Glenbrook South,” Marks said. “I went to Deerfield High School. My kids went to Deerfield High School, we still live in Deerfield. I love Deerfield but I’ve never felt about a school the way I feel about [South]. It’s part of who I am, and I know I will miss [the musical] greatly.”

Marks hopes to leave all of her students with a sense of independence as muscians as well as   the knowledge that they are a part of something bigger. She challenges her students to think globally in order to benefit the world.

“To me, the most important thing is to know the world is much bigger than just these walls here at Glenbrook South,” Marks said. “What I hope [the students] learn in my class is to be a good citizen of that world and that means we think outside ourselves.”

Marks plans to direct the 2015 Variety Show as her last involvement here at South.

“Whatever your passion is, follow it,” Marks said. “Carpe diem.”