Marie Grass Amenta attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts (formally Chicago Musical College) of Roosevelt University for both undergraduate and graduate school and was a graduate assistant for both the director of choral studies and the music education department chair. She has studied conducting and has sung with Doreen Rao, the late David Larson, Anne Heider and Donald Chin as well as master classes with Margaret Hillis, Robert Page and Lloyd Pfautch. Marie still studies voice and is a student of Anne Perillo.
She has taught in the public and parochial schools in Chicago, the western suburbs, Nashville, Tennessee as well as the southern suburbs. She has served as music director and director of choirs for congregations in the western and the southern suburbs of Chicago and directed a community children’s choir in Tinley Park, Illinois for almost ten years. Marie founded the Midwest Motet Society in the winter of 2006.
In addition to being a musician, Ms Grass Amenta is a dancer and choreographer, studying with Walter Cameron and Bentley Stone, with master classes with Peter Genero, Joel Hall, Lou Conte, and the National Ballet of Panama, and has taught and choreographed ballet as well as musicals and enjoys incorporating movement in her choral work. She was a founding member of the Parkland Camarata in Champaign, Illinois and choreographed a madrigal program, using historic dance steps.
She has conducted the choral portions for the Park Forest Rotary’s annual Do-It-Yourself Messiah for over eight years and has given pre-concert lectures for the Grande Prairie Singers and the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. She has written program notes for the IPO, most recently for their March 13, 2010 performance of the Mozart “Requiem”. Marie is a Moderator for ChoralNet, an online community for the ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) and is editor for their Chamber Choir/Vocal Ensemble community as well as the FOJN, a group devoted to encouraging/forming choirs for those with developmental disabilities. In addition to her musical endeavors, Marie is involved in the disability community and has lectured on using music with young children with autism and inclusion in the music classroom. She has long been an advocate for those with disabilities and is especially interested in those with challenges of all sorts participating in the performing arts.