Harmonium Choral Society names Jody Marcus as its first executive director

Jody Marcus has been named assistant director of the Morris County Tourism Bureau.
Jody Marcus
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The Harmonium Choral Society has chosen a veteran of the local nonprofit scene to help it emerge from the pandemic.

Jody Marcus, former assistant director of the Morris County Tourism Bureau and past director of the Community Children’s Museum, has been named the first executive director in the 42-year history of the choral group.

“The addition of Jody to the Harmonium family comes at a most opportune time,” said Harmonium Chairman Robert T. Emmerich.  “Her talents and experience will help Harmonium both turn the final page of the pandemic chapter of our history and write our next chapter – one that looks more inspiring, more transformative, and more inclusive.”

“I am so excited,” Anne Matlack, artistic director of Harmonium since 1987, said on Friday. “Having Jody on board will free me up to dedicate my energy to the artistic/musical side of my job.”

Anne Matlack leads Harmonium at St. Peter’s, at First Night Morris 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The 100-voice ensemble is navigating how to safely return to singing and managing audience safety protocols, Matlack said, “so it is great to have Jody to help implement some new ideas. And a mature approach to fundraising will see us into the future.”

From left, Linda Coutts Snyer of the Morris tourism board, and Jody Marcus and Carol Anton of the Morris Tourism Bureau, at annual meeting of the Morris County Tourism Bureau, Nov. 14, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Marcus said she is moved by the passion, dedication and professionalism of Harmonium’s all-volunteer singers and board, and by Matlack’s “stellar” musical leadership.

“They’re really committed. They’re passionate about it, and it shows. That’s inspiring,” said Marcus, who started the part-time position this week.

One of her missions will be developing a long-range fundraising plan. “They want to take it to the next level, into the future, and secure the organization so it can survive almost anything,” she said.

Harmonium presents four concert programs per season. The first post-pandemic live performance is scheduled for Oct. 23, 2021, at Grace Church in Madison.

Since its founding in 1979, Harmonium has won numerous awards, commissioned and premiered works by several top composers, and toured throughout Europe. This season also is the 25th anniversary of Harmonium’s annual contest for high school choral composers.

Harmonium Choral Society performance of ‘Open Minds,’ at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, Feb. 29, 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Marcus has a master’s degree in industrial design from the Pratt Institute and a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Morris Township resident serves on the boards of the Morris Educational Foundation and the Children on the Green. She is an avid cyclist and cross-country skier.

At the Tourism Bureau, Marcus was responsible for overseeing fundraising, and for development of relationships with businesses and associations to increase funding streams, membership, and collaborations.

She also has worked for the Morris Museum, the Raritan Headwaters Association and –full disclosure– as a consultant for MorristownGreen.com. Marcus spent a decade leading the children’s museum in Dover, and has worked with area nonprofits for nearly 25 years.

“Beyond Jody’s impressive resume and leadership experience, she brings a wealth of connections to the Morris County communities we serve,” Emmerich said in a statement to the Harmonium board.

“I’m confident that Jody can leverage those relationships and previous experiences to ensure Harmonium continues to inspire and transform our community through music for years to come.”

As an audience member, Marcus said she has been awed by the harmony of Harmonium  — 100 men and women melding separate parts into one powerful sound.

“Each plays an equal role in making that sound so vibrant and so wonderful for the audience. That was a revelation for me,” she said.

Making that sound is one area where the choir won’t get any help from Marcus.

“When I was 10 yrs old, they told me not to sing,” she said. “Nothing has changed since.”

Harmonium Choral Society, pictured in June 2019. Photo courtesy of Harmonium

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