Marcy Requist is a singer/songwriter/pianist/voice talent from Iowa. She grew up on a farm in Red Oak, Iowa, the only child of Marvin and Barbara Requist. Her parent’s love of music had a very important influence early in her life. She remembers her father singing, records playing on the console cabinet stereo, and her mom’s guitar as her first memorable sounds. Marcy’s grandmothers also played a vital role in her appreciation for music. Her maternal grandmother had sung and played the guitar in a band, and her paternal grandmother was a pianist who saved money for Marcy to buy her first piano at the age of 6. It’s a Wurlitzer, and to this day is the only piano she has ever owned, and where she does most of her writing.
Marcy’s interest in writing began as a child when she would write for her friends and family. The first song she wrote was called “Rainbow’s End”, and was written for a friend’s installation as Worthy Advisor in The International Order of Rainbow for Girls (a Masonic organization). At her own high school graduation ceremony, she performed a song she had written called “One Last Goodbye”. She also sang it for the 50 other candidates while Miss Iowa USA. (It was the last night of the contestants being together at the Miss USA pageant.)
In 1993, Marcy wrote “Christmas Eve 1973” for a very specific reason. Her paternal grandmother was living with Alzheimer’s, and had lost most of her family memories. This sad reality inspired Marcy to write a kind of “Christmas Carol of Remembrance” to remind her grandma of the special times the family had spent at their home in the country. She was hoping the intimate details of the “snapshots” she held in her mind, and transcribed into lyrics, would inspire her grandma to remember what that Christmas scene looked like. Marcy titled it “Christmas Eve 1973” because she remembers that year as a kind of charmed moment. Everyone was gathered together, healthy and safe. On the day before her grandma’s passing, Marcy stood by her bedside. She thanked her for the many years of delicious baking, her most cherished piano, and for making every Christmas Eve so special. Then she told her grandma about the song she had written on that piano dedicated to those enchanted Christmas Eves, and sang a few of the lines from the song to her. Most would say that under the medical circumstances, there was little chance her grandma was able to understand. But Marcy would tell you that the look in her Grandma’s eyes proved otherwise. Music was a gift her Grandma had given her, and it was what they shared the last time they were together.
During the years that Marcy stayed home to raise her three children (even though she loved her role of “Mommy”), there was little time to sit down at the piano, so writing took a long hiatus. But, she kept her song ideas collected in a box, and promised herself when the time was right she would return to doing what she had always wanted to do.
Unable to find a magic permission slip that granted her the right to do what she loved, she decided to take a chance anyway. She hoped she could find a “spare room” in her life that would give her the space to work on the things she had been “leaving off the list”. This room ended up being a cold, unfinished basement, but it worked. With only an old yellow lab named Bo at her side, she sat down at the piano, and opened the long-awaited door of creativity.
That brings us to today, and a few more chances taken. There were doors opened (and closed), and places found to work that supported her visions. People came into (and out of) her life who would either embrace her passion for music – and join her in sharing it with others, or turn from what they didn’t understand, and run from what threatened them.
Life is happening all around her and now she is grateful for the chance to turn her ideas into songs on her piano, and not just ideas hidden in a box.
As a child, Marcy became fond of the human voice while being rocked to sleep by the sweet, soothing melodies of her mother’s beautiful voice, and hearing the deep, rich voice of her father singing along with Jim Reeves records. Lucky to be from an extended musical family, Marcy gained a deep appreciation for song phasing and lyric interpretation from the gorgeous, velvety voice of her Aunt Kathy. With her cousins, Marcy spent many hours around the piano, and in front of the record player practicing and planning “shows” that were graciously attended by other members of the family.
Marcy’s love of singing in a group began as a child in the First Baptist Church choir in Red Oak, Iowa. She remembers her Junior Choir Director, Mrs. Ruth Stevens, telling the kids to “sing like you mean it, because you know you DO!” In grade school, she was encouraged to sing and play the piano alone in front of her classmates by her chorus teacher Mrs. Marlys Conrad. This was very helpful in learning to combat stage-fright at an early age. And, from the distinguished leadership of her first band director, Mr. Richard Simpson, she learned how to respect the music, and give rehearsing the dedication it deserved for the best results.
In Jr. High, Marcy met the man who would have the greatest influence on her love of music performance when she became a student of Mr. Larry Mannasmith. He guided Marcy through auditions and contests, directed her in musicals, coached her on singing techniques, and spent countless hours with her and her best friends in school around the baby grand piano in his chorus room singing, and sharing stories. During her pageant years, Larry and his wife Rhonda were a constant source of support.
In 1989, Marcy was able to share her love of music as she traveled as “Miss Iowa USA”. She often sang the National Anthem and performed at a variety of community events and occasions.
Marcy has also sung for a host of charities and fundraisers over the years. Some of these include Children’s Hospital Omaha, Child Saving Institute, Make-A- Wish, American Cancer Society, Arthritis Foundation, Joslyn Art Museum, The Salvation Army, American Heart Association, etc.
It is an honor for Marcy whenever she is invited to be a part of a milestone event in a family. It always amazes her how just the right song choice can mean so much. Whether it’s the union of two hearts through marriage, or bidding a sad farewell to someone gone too soon, she finds music to have incredible powers. It’s either the perfect accompaniment for a celebration, or warm embrace of comfort when saying “goodbye”.
“Memories can fade over time. Faces and Seasons can get blurred in the mind, but MUSIC has the innate ability to preserve our memories. The lyrics that narrate the songbook of our life are cradled in our hearts, and engraved on our souls forever.”
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