KMEA Hall of Fame
Marlin Cooper
Inducted in 2012
Marlin Cooper is an exemplary musician and music educator. His teaching career has been dedicated to music students in Kansas, most especially those in Kansas City, Kansas. After brief stints in Plains and Ness City, following his graduation from Ottawa University, he moved east and taught in Kansas City for the next 35 years. Upon retirement, he went back to his public school roots and proceeded to teach beginning band and strings in the Gardner and Shawnee Mission School Districts for an additional eight years. He inspired, modeled, and mentored thousands of music students in his care. Marlin's groups, especially his jazz bands, flourished under his direction. He managed to bring big-name artists to the urban campuses, like Dizzie Gillespie, Jamie Abersold, and Bobby Watson. His college concert band played at the National MENC Conference and three times his college jazz band was selected to perform at the KMEA In-Service Workshop. More than anything, Mr. Cooper has an enormous heart for kids. His students cite example after example of times Mr. Cooper gave them an instrument to play when they did not have one. Even in retirement he plays nearly every night at clubs in Kansas City and even plays at nursing homes.