When you meet Todd Marcus, you may be struck by his outward sense of calm—balanced with a kind of pragmatic realism. A true community activist, Todd runs the Intersection of Change in Baltimore, a nonprofit “dedicated to providing programs that enrich the economic, social and spiritual lives of those dealing with poverty related issues in Sandtown-Winchester and surrounding communities.”
Todd’s efforts in the community run wide and deep—tackling the challenges the communities face with a holistic, multi-faceted approach. A community arts program for children and adults, a recovery program for women overcoming drug addiction, an urban farm, and significant community revitalization through renovating abandoned buildings and vacant lots—including a very unique Sacred Place—are some of the hallmark programs Todd oversees.
I most enjoy the beauty our spaces provide and times when I use the spaces or see others using them. It is powerful to see them as places for congregation given their histories as an open air drug market, vacant buildings, and lots where people were shot and left for dead.
But what you wouldn’t know about Todd, if you just met him, is that he’s also been lauded by the New York Times as “…probably the most inventive bass clarinetist working in straight-ahead jazz today [and] lives in Baltimore, where he is a guiding light on the city’s jazz scene.”
His modest, kind demeanor may not tell you that he’s performed at the Kennedy Center and other international stages, either, or has received many national awards and media mentions for his talents with the bass clarinet.
But it makes perfect sense. Todd isn’t afraid to tackle complex challenges as Firesoul—endemic, long-standing ones—in the name of bringing beauty and peace to the lives of people who need it. Just as his music is complex—sometimes intense and impassioned—sharing compelling, honest stories of hope, melancholy and beauty—all intertwined.
Photo credit: Maureen Porto.