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Interview with William Harry Clarke, March 28, 2017

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Clarke's family and upbringing

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Partial Transcript: Again Harry, thank you for your time today.

Segment Synopsis: Clark introduces himself in this segment. He gives a brief summary of his family history and what it was like being raised as a preacher's kid.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Football games; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Marching bands; Performances; School of Music

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

00:05:30 - Early musical influences

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Partial Transcript: Um, your, um, early musical influences then.

Segment Synopsis: Clarke discusses his high school band director, and how that band director influenced him and allowed him to get his own start in music instruction.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Football games; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Leaders; Performances; Professors; School of Music; Singing; Teachers

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

00:10:36 - Musical experiences through high school and into college

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Partial Transcript: So di, did j--you never really performed much with family, or?

Segment Synopsis: Clarke details his early experiences with performing and directing music. These experiences included his musical performances in church, as well as his appearances in musicals during his high school years.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Football games; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Performances; Professors; School of Music; Singing; Teachers

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Marching bands; Music--Instruction and study

00:17:35 - Delta State University

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Partial Transcript: Um, so, kind of to sum up the, uh, the--your college career then...

Segment Synopsis: Clarke discusses his time at Delta State. He completed his degree in three years, which required him to put all of his time and effort into his studies and work.

Keywords: Bands; Competitions; Delta State University; Educators; Football games; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Professors; School of Music; Teachers; Teaching assistants; Undergraduate studies

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

00:19:32 - Professional career experiences before arriving at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Well let's, let's move into that.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Clarke talks about his early career directing band at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, and Eastern Kentucky University. He details the way in which those experiences led him to his life at UK.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Eastern Kentucky University; Football games; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Kentucky; Peabody College; Performances; School of Music; University of Kentucky; Vanderbilt University

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

00:26:31 - Arrival at UK / Formation of the School of Fine Arts

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Partial Transcript: Okay. You've gotten us caught up, thank you.

Segment Synopsis: Clarke talks about his early years at the University of Kentucky where he was an assistant to the Dean and helped in the formation of the School of Fine Arts.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Football games; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Kentucky; Leaders; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

00:33:57 - Becoming UK's band director / Early years of UK marching band under Clarke

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Partial Transcript: And, and then, uh, after two years, then--I was actually on vacation...

Segment Synopsis: Clarke details the summer he took over as temporary Band Director at UK. What was supposed to last a year turned into a 21 year career. He brought UK's band back from the brink and made it into a co-ed band.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Football games; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

00:41:30 - French horn recitals

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Partial Transcript: Um, I think we've, we've covered the music education at the UK School of Music.

Segment Synopsis: Clarke talks about the teacher who originally sparked his interest in playing the french horn. This interest was reignited while Clarke was the band director at UK, but he eventually had to give it up until his retirement.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Football games; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

00:47:55 - Keys to a successful music program

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Partial Transcript: I love how you just lit up when you were talking about that.

Segment Synopsis: Clarke recalls the steps he took to improve the music department at UK. He emphasizes his approach to ensuring UK's lasting success, rather than short-term.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Football games; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

00:53:57 - Recap of reinventing UK's band

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Partial Transcript: Um, did that whole time-frame of building up the faculty...

Segment Synopsis: Clarke briefly recaps his experience working as a band director at UK. He mentions changes that were made to ensure the steady progress of the band.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Football games; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

00:56:32 - UK pep band--Past and present

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Partial Transcript: We've just all watched college basketball games ad infinitum here recently.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Clarke talks about changes in the UK pep band from his time as its director up until now. He mentions that the pep band is far more scripted than it used to be.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Football games; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

00:58:27 - Early impressions of Sara Holroyd

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Partial Transcript: Moving on to the Sara Holroyd page of questions.

Segment Synopsis: Clarke discusses the first time he met Holroyd upon coming to UK. They both had students who played instruments and sang, so he heard about her often. Clarke talks about the close relationship she had formed with her students.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:01:40 - Clarke's role within choir

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Partial Transcript: You, uh, you wrote a, uh, a series of articles called "Fine Arts."

Segment Synopsis: Clarke discusses the various roles he played alongside Holroyd in the UK Choristers. He also mentions the semester he took over as choir director for Holroyd while she left on sabbatical.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:05:33 - UK Choristers performance / Shaker worship service

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Partial Transcript: Kind of dovetailing off of that, the UK Band Choristers patriotic halftime show in 1985...

Segment Synopsis: Clarke recounts the events leading up to the UK Choristers' patriotic half time performance in 1985. He also shares his memories of the Shaker worship service that was put together by Holroyd.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Football games; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Instruments; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Shaker Village; Shakertown; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:09:13 - Robert Shaw performances

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Partial Transcript: The, uh, the Gift of Music concerts with the band collaborations.

Segment Synopsis: Clarke discusses various Christmas concerts performed by the UK choir. He spends a majority of the segment discussing Robert Shaw's mark on choral music and his impact on UK.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Robert Shaw; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; Shaw, Robert, 1916-1999.; University of Kentucky

01:12:15 - Sara Holroyd's induction into the Lampert Hall of Fame / Sara Holroyd's re-entry into college post-retirement

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Partial Transcript: What about Sara's introduction into the, uh, Lampert Hall of Fame?

Segment Synopsis: Clarke details the formation of the Lampert Hall of Fame and how Holroyd came to be inducted. He also discusses his feelings upon hearing about Holroyd's re-entry into college after her retirement.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:17:18 - Colleagues--John Jacob Niles & John B. Chance

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Partial Transcript: Alright, uh, some names.

Segment Synopsis: Clarke recalls memories of his time working alongside John Jacob Niles and the accident that took John B. Chance's life.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; John B. Chance; John Jacob Niles; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Vince DiMartino

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:23:03 - Colleagues--Vince DiMartino

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Partial Transcript: This might be a good segue. Vince DiMartino.

Segment Synopsis: Clarke talks about his memories of Vince DiMartino. He mentions DiMartino's impact on the UK band, as he was known for recruiting amazing trumpet players.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Vince DiMartino

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:29:13 - Colleagues--Donald Ivey & Phyllis Jenness

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Partial Transcript: Donald Ivey.

Segment Synopsis: Clarke discusses the headstrong nature of Ivey, and how it made him a great instructor at UK. He also talks about Phyllis Jenness and her amazing impact on him, her students, and her peers.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Donald Ivey; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Phyllis Jenness; Professors; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:36:11 - Colleagues--Nathaniel Patch

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Partial Transcript: One, one last name. Nathaniel Patch.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Clarke talks about Nathaniel Patch and his fight for Clarke to receive tenure.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:38:50 - Sara Holroyd's struggle with tenure

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Partial Transcript: What about, uh, Sara's struggle with her tenure?

Segment Synopsis: Clarke talks about Holroyd's fight for tenure and the proposed reasons behind it. Clarke considers Holroyd's students as the primary reason she was able to acquire tenure.

Keywords: Adversities; Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Sexism; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:44:29 - Brian Gorrell

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Partial Transcript: Without mentioning names, your appearance and speech at the last UK Alumni Band reunion...

Segment Synopsis: Clarke reminisces over his last speech at the UK alumni band reunion, which was a tribute to Brian Gorrell. He discusses how Gorrell's support made a huge impact on Clarke's career.

Keywords: Alumni; Bands; Competitions; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Marching; Performances; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; School of Music; Singing; Students; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:50:48 - City Council career

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Partial Transcript: Alright, uh, let's talk about your political career...

Segment Synopsis: Clarke details his life post-retirement. Most specifically, he discusses how he came to be a City Council member.

Keywords: Alumni; Campaigns; City councils; Kentucky; Performances; Politics; Public official

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

01:56:43 - Clarke's lasting influence

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Partial Transcript: Speaking of proud feelings, I can only imagine how it feels to...

Segment Synopsis: Clarke discusses his legacy and the things he hopes his students will remember him for.

Keywords: Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Leaders; Legacies; Marching; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky

02:03:02 - The new generation of marching band

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Partial Transcript: Sure.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Clarke compares the marching band of his time to marching band now. He reflects on the skill and dedication shown by directors even at the high school level, and admits that he could not have done that when he directed high school marching band. Breeding prompts Clarke to repeat a story.

Keywords: Bands; Educators; Generations; Inspirations; Instructors; Leaders; Legacies; Marching; Next; Professors; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Lexington (Ky.); Marching bands; University of Kentucky