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Dave’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We've created it to let friends and family know about Dave, his family, and events. Get started by reading the introduction to our website, My Story.

Visit often to read the latest journal entries, visit the photo gallery, and write us a note in our guestbook.

Dave Marston was a musical force in the world all his life.  As performer, instructor, director and inspiration, his life and work touched untold numbers.  From Handel to Brahms to Guthrie to the Beatles, Dave's vast knowledge of repertory and style has spread like ripples, inspiring others to find the music in themselves and, in turn, send out their own ripples.  Via lessons, choirs, benefits, rallies, performances and sheer expression of delight, Dave passed the gift of music along to friends, students, family and strangers alike.  As Pete Seeger would call it, Dave is a true "link in the chain", passing down the joy, import and impact of music to those who revel in it now, and those who will come next.

Dave contributed so much, it's hard to compile a complete list.  Here is just some of what Dave was:

Dave was a choir director: In the past, of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Green Show, the Ashland Congregational Church, the Unitarian Church, and the Havurah Shir Hadash; at the time of his passing, of the Siskiyou Singers, the Rogue Valley Peace Choir, the United Methodist Church, the Grants Pass Three Rivers Choir, the Applegate Choir, and the Children's Peace Choir.

Dave was a performer:  Vocally, theatrically and on instruments including guitar, piano, banjo, recorder, harmonica, sackbut and crumhorn; In the past, with OSF, Vera Chuck & Dave, Rogue Opera and other local venues; for almost 20 years with Extended Circle; recently, with his Beatles band The Nowhere Men, with Tami and their girls in tributes to Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and in countless gigs solo and with family. 

Dave was an activist: Having volunteered his talents in performing, directing and songleading for many causes over the years - among them, events for Marriage Equality and Labor Rights, against hate crimes, and to promote Peace in all its manifestations. Dave also inspired hundreds of boys over 5 years of musical mentoring at the RV Youth Correctional Facility.

Dave was a writer and composer: Of his one-man show, The Essence of Lennon, performed by Dave hundreds of times since its debut in the 80's; of his own opera, The Waters of Love, performed by Rogue Opera's school program and OSW; of the compassionate ballad of apology, acknowledgement and bridge-building, From America to Hiroshima - now sold at the Hiroshoma museum in Japan; of the anthem he wrote to the town in which he's lived, worked in and loved for almost 35 years, Song to Ashland; of many songs written for family and friends, and countless choral arrangements.

Dave was a teacher: In his own Beatles-themed preschool Pepperland in the 70's; of many hundreds of private students over 38 years of teaching voice, piano and guitar; of sight-singing classes in his own Marston Institute of Music; of Elderhostel classes on Music of Shakespeare, Songs of Work & Protest, Spngs of War & Peace, Songs of Westward Expansion, Civil Rights and the Women's Movement, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Brahms, John Lennon and the Beatles (whew!).

Dave was an athlete: An skilled baseball player (and avid lifelong fan); a disciplined runner who ran the Portland Marathon in 2005; a softball player with the OSF team for many years; and a darned good basketball player.

Dave is son to Sarah and Chapman,  brother to Jim and Steve,  and was husband to Sue, Laura and Tami.

Dave is also a patriarch: A father of four children - Jeff (31), Trevor (23), Sarah (17) and Rose (15); a stepfather to Colin (31) and Marie (30); and a grandfather of two (Jeff's daughters Emma and Mae).

In February of 2009, at age 56, Dave began having symptoms of imbalance and memory lapse.  While friends, family and community watched his rapid decline with heartbreak, Dave continued to spread music as always, even conducting two triumphant choir concerts in early May.  At UCSF in May, Dave and his loved ones received a confirmed diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a rapidly progressing terminal disease with no treatment or cure which devastates motor and cognitive function alike. (For more information, visit the CJD Foundation website at

In a testament to the seeds he's sown for decades, Dave was embraced, cared for and comforted by family, dear friends, and the wide, ever-expanding web of community who've been moved, inspired and touched by his presence in their lives. His attitude remained positive, his bright spirit continued to shine throughout, and he both took in and reflected the light surrounding him.