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Issue Date: September 2010 Issue

Chris Clark

More than half of all high schoolers joined the band at Open Door Christian Schools in Elyria last year. That says something for Chris Clark, the school's band and choir director and music teacher for the past 20 years.
Interview by Sarah Hollander
Kids are a lot more multidimensional than you'd think. From listening to the news and watching TV, you'd think every kid in the world likes only rap. Our students have a real joy for all types of music. My choir, for example, loves Broadway show tunes.

I don't suppose religion comes up in music classes as much as it does in other classes, say in science. But we do incorporate it. If we're doing a Mozart piece, for example, I'll talk a little about Mozart's struggle with faith.

Even with schools facing big budget problems, I think it's a huge mistake to cut art and music and gym. We're going to produce kids who are not well-rounded.

About 10 years ago, I discovered that just sitting up on the podium is not what the kids respond best to. If I take an instrument and sit next to them, they respond better than just being sung to or talked to.

I never understand why every girl gravitates toward the flute. I've always got a glut of flutes.

I double majored in trombone and tuba.

I play at Tuba Christmas every year. It's a holiday show created by a guy who got tired of trumpets and all the smaller instruments getting the jobs and glory during Christmas. ... Imagine hundreds of tubas and baritones playing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Everything in the building shakes.

I run marathons and 5ks. I know that sooner or later my muscles are going to give out. But music is a skill that allows you to get out and be part of a group for your whole life. You could be 75 and still sing. How many 75-year-olds do you know that play pickup basketball?
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 4:57:43 PM by
Words cannot describe the feelings I have for this
remarkable man. He made my grandson what he is
today. His devotion and emotions show in his direction of the band and the students. I am glad
Mr. Clark is being recognized.
Thursday, September 02, 2010 3:19:13 PM by Kathryn Thompson
Dear Mr. Clark! I love you lots and lots! You are my Daddy part 2!
-Katie T.
Thursday, September 02, 2010 4:14:39 PM by Anonymous
Mr. Clark you do a great job, but be careful. After many years of dedication they will have no problem letting you go like they did all the other older teachers who served them faithfully for so many years. Oh and they don't pay into unemployment so you may have to work at Mc Donalds as a way to support your family that has sacrficied for them. Not so sure it's a christian school. Keep up the good work, but watch your back.
Thursday, September 02, 2010 5:47:59 PM by Anonymous
I was finishining at ODCS when Mr Clark was starting, but my brother had him... really wished I could've been in band under his tutelage & spirit. This is the type of teacher that doesn't get paid enough for what he does.
Great job (in life) Mr Clark!

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