By Nancy Fisk
Marshall Voit began working in January for First UU as the new Music Director. So far, he’s very impressed with the professionalism of the staff and the welcome he’s received. When in-person singing is allowed, he’ll be directing the Chalice Choir and the Women’s Choir. Until then, he’s collaborating with the other music staff members on our worship services. A native of San Diego, Marshall went to high school in the Poway Unified School District. He credits them with a foundation in music education that has led to his career in choral direction, singing, and playing musical instruments. Raised in the Jewish tradition, his father is a Jewish music leader, and his mother is a rabbi.
Marshall started playing the trumpet when he was 10, and later was convinced to take up the tuba. He participated in marching band and wind ensembles. Convinced to join a choir ensemble by friends, Marshall discovered that because he had studied instrumental music and music theory, he had a knack for reading choral music. His senior project in high school was directing the choir through a few numbers. His high school choir director is still one of his mentors.
He did his undergraduate work at UCLA, where he finished a degree in Geography. His musical outlet was playing for Hillel at UCLA. He ended up working for the Wilshire Blvd Synagogue.
Marshall was invited to Australia to work with a rabbi who wanted to create a music training program for reformed Jews. After 2 years as a musician-in-residence in Australia and creating conferences where he taught the skills of running a successful musical program, Marshall returned to the US to get a degree in Ethnomusicology at San Diego State.
Discovering Unitarian Universalism in 2014 while preparing for a summer tour, Marshall sang with ten UU congregations that summer, and immediately felt that UUs were his kind of people. He likes that he can be who he is culturally, with no pressure to believe in a particular doctrine or creed. And, that he is not only accepted but valued. He was a musician at the UUA General Assembly in 2015. After working for Temple Emanuel as a musician and choir director, he went to work for the San Dieguito UU Fellowship in 2020, as their music director.
His hobbies include team sports, with friends he met in college. Right now, they play disc golf. He also sings in a barbershop quartet, a hobby he’s pursued since he was 14. His group is called Los Bordershop. There are 6 members—3 are Mexican citizens, 2 are US citizens, and 1 has dual citizenship. They’re working on a repertoire of Spanish barbershop quartets, which usually means they have to do their own arrangements.
As a choir director, Marshall loves the chance to present something uplifting, to make music in a way that’s spiritually nourishing and musically satisfying. He has a passion for making music and is grateful he can support himself with it, a privilege he knows not everyone has. He would love to get to know people here at First UU. Feel free to reach out to Marshall and introduce yourself. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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