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.