Marilyn Wagner

Marilyn Wagner

We dedicated the 2013-2014 concert season to Marilyn Wagner. The musicians we bring you are the heart of what the Chamber Music Society is about, and Marilyn has been the force behind our program choices since the inception of the Society. After 33 years of service, she stepped down from her position as chair of the program committee.

A group of music-loving friends—including Marilyn—formed the nucleus of what became the Chamber Music Society of Logan.  None of the founding members had any expertise in concert booking or presentation. Marilyn, having developed an interest in chamber music through her son Jeff, took on the task of ensemble selection, drawing in the early seasons on her connections with Jeff and other members of the Utah Symphony. Although the world of arts booking was foreign to her at the time, she soon began attending booking conferences in New York City and the western US, often accompanied by her husband Fred. Here she made lasting professional and personal connections with agents, quickly becoming very adept at the business of contract negotiation. Under Marilyn’s guidance, our concert series expanded into presenting ensembles drawn from across the United States and then from across the world.

Marilyn brought her innate sense of Southern grace and hospitality to her interactions with agents, who are well-accustomed to hearing “Oh, we couldn’t possibly afford that fee” knowing that it is a prelude to some serious bargaining. She also set a high standard of hospitality for our musician “guests”, making sure they are well fed, never get lost in town, and even have child care if needed. This treatment became legendary among ensembles, and those in the know continue to be aware that Logan is a desirable destination for any tour.

Through the years, the Society’s efforts have expanded to include short-term residencies for performers, community outreach activities, Arts-in-Education visits to public schools, and master classes for university music students.  Marilyn was aware how these opportunities help shape students of today into the audiences and musicians of tomorrow. As a consequence of her vision, the Chamber Music Society has a greater cultural presence in the community.