She has television, film and theater credits to her name, but when you ask 1969 Minnetonka alum Marnie Mosiman about her career highlights, the projects she is most proud of are those where children are front and center.
In the 1990s, Marnie developed a program called SummerSounds at the Hollywood Bowl for children to experience world music and culture. Over the program's eight seasons, the "Voyage of the Global Harmony" explored more than 30 countries with 30,000 children each year.
In 2001, Marnie founded VoicesWithin, an artist residency program designed for fifth grade and high school students in the Los Angeles area. The residency program teaches students collaborative skills, they can apply when composing and performing original songs and, for the high school students, oratorios based on literature such as "Gilgamesh" and Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."
"I've been fortunate in my career and enjoyed many personal and career highlights. One especially memorable event is performing St. Joan in Honegger's Jean D'Arc au Bucher at the Aspen Music Festival. But the work I am most proud of has been my work at the Hollywood Bowl and with the students in Voices Within. It has been so rewarding," explains Marnie.
While a student in Minnetonka, Marnie remembers the teachers who were the most demanding–holding her and other students to high expectations. "It started in elementary school at Groveland with my teacher Mrs. Jones. She wrote a letter that she read aloud to the class on the last day, predicting where we each would be 30-40 years in the future. For me, I remember she said, '...and of course we all know Marnie Mosiman as our first woman president.' Ha! Wouldn't Hillary be surprised!"
The high expectations continued through middle school. Marnie's band and choir teachers at Minnetonka Middle School East (then East Junior High) engaged her and other students with "very interesting and challenging repertoire."
"I feel lucky to have been exposed to such a variety of arts and literature in school," Marnie adds. "Even in high school, Mr. Zarke, my theatre teacher, and Mr. Chisholm continued to encourage a wide-range of ideas. I was exposed to a diversity of thought and was allowed the freedom to pursue many ideas and projects of my own." This prepared her well for college and life in the theatre and beyond.
For other graduates considering a career as an actor, Marnie has the following tips: "There is no longer a clear path to getting work in this field; it's all over the map. You need to be very entrepreneurial... and don't wait for the phone to ring!" She also encourages people to consider acting as a hobby through community theatre. "You can experience all the joy without the heartache."
Her advice to other alumni is to travel. "Go everywhere," she says. "With others. By yourself. Small towns. Other countries. Minnesota-nice seems to work everywhere."
Soon, she will be traveling to Myanmar (Burma) to lead collaborative music workshops, working both with ESL students in Rangoon and with highland tribes. It is part of the U.S. State Department's cultural outreach initiative. She was involved in a similar excursion to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, last year.
As for the Skipper Hall of Fame award, Marnie says it is "quite surprising and overwhelmingly lovely." She goes on to jokingly reference Sally Field's famous 1985 Oscar acceptance speech: "'You like me! You really like me!' After the emotional ups and downs of high school, I think I understand what she meant," Marnie says. "There's value in hind-sight and maturity!"