Arts Community Mourns Loss
May 08, 2003 -- The Loudoun musical
community was in a state of shock Wednesday as it endeavored to come to grips with the death of one of the Loudoun Symphonys
best-known and best-loved members, Tom Marks of Mount Gilead.
Marks was killed and his 16-year-old son Vincent was
injured during a Tuesday morning car crash at the intersection of Loudoun Orchard Road and Rt. 704. Marks was driving the
car. Vincent was taken to Loudoun Hospital Center where he was recovering from non-life-threatening injuries Wednesday.
Tributes began rolling in Wednesday, with stunned fellow
musicians recalling Marks as a mentor, teacher and colleague, with a marvelous sense of humor.
The sense of loss to symphony members was deep. We are
a very close-knit group, said Music Director Mark Allen McCoy. It will be a devastating blow, not just for the orchestra,
which was his extended family but for his own family.
A sign of that closeness was the orchestras desire to
continue its regular Wednesday night rehearsal. It will be tough, said one colleague Wednesday morning. The Loudoun Symphonys
May 17 Beethoven and Bravura concert will be dedicated to Marks, McCoy said.
Its a time of great loss for us. Tom was all about making
music for the orchestra and thats what were going to do tonight [Wednesday] to the best of our ability.
At the time of his death, Marks was principal second
violinist with the symphony. His generosity and kindness to other players was legendary. Cindy Hollister was, with Marks,
one of the original members of the Loudoun Symphony which played its first concert in March 1991. Today, Hollister is on a
one-year absence from the symphony, but she recalled Marks as an individual who touched so many lives in so many ways.
Chief among them was his mentoring and teaching impact.
Marks had a large private studio on Fort Evans Road in Leesburg where he taught violin.
A lot of orchestra members studied under him, said Hollister.
He was such a positive man. Nobody ever came away from meeting him without feeling good.
Marks headed an extraordinarily talented family. His
wife Lucky and he produced five sons, each one of whom is a professional musician and all of whom play or have played for
the Loudoun Symphony. Many times the family would play at local weddings or other occasions as the Marks Quintet or Marks
Quartet, depending on who was available. His sons were Jethro, violin and viola; Paolo, cello and instrument maker; David,
viola; Theo,cello;and Vincent, violin.
Julien Schrenk remembered Marks as a friend and mentor.
He took lessons from Marks at his Leesburg studio. He described Marks as a very patient and forgiving teacher. He could make
an orchid out of a dandelion, Schrenk said, adding Marks always brought out the best in people. It will leave a big gap in
the musical family of Loudoun, he said.
Schrenk, too, mourned for Marks family. I always called
them the Von Trappe family of Loudoun. The whole family was an inspiration.
Michael Rohrer has also known Marks since the symphonys
beginning. The pair served on the Artistic Committee that held auditions for new players and consulted with Music Director
Mark Allen McCoy on the program each year.
For the orchestra, he was a lot of things, Rohrer said,
praising Marks consummate musicianship. Groping for the right words, Rohrer said Tom was a presence. He was so enthusiastic
about the music and the orchestra.
Of the decision to carry on with the regular weekly
rehearsal, Rohrer said, We thought we should get together. After all, its one of our family thats gone.
Loudoun Symphony Executive Director Esperanza Alzona
said Wednesday morning that her last meeting with Marks was last weekend when the symphony held its sponsors dinners and recital.
He was just so upbeat and lively. Its nice to have had that last vision.
Another colleague remembered Marks great kindness and
encouragement of people who wanted to play.
The world is a lesser place today than it
was yesterday, she said.