Published: Mar 14, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 14,
2012) − What started
out as a one-year job as acting director of bands for the University of
Kentucky led to an unprecedented 21 years in the position, 14 years as director
of the School of Music and a total 46 years at the university for William Harry
Clarke. On top of making a lasting mark on the history of UK Bands and UK School of Music, Clarke has
made a mark in the music profession in general. The recently retired
The KMEA Distinguished Service
Award honors an individual who has shown outstanding leadership service to KMEA
and to music education. The award is KMEA's highest
honor. Clarke received the honor at this year's KMEA In-Service Conference held in
Clarke was not only chosen to receive this award for his musical expertise but also for his ability to impact others.
"Many of the nomination letters particularly recognized Clarke's role in teacher training, and the curricular innovations he introduced," said David Dunevant, KMEA president, who chaired the award selection committee. "His personal qualities and role as a mentor were also often mentioned, and he has influenced thousands of music educators over the span of his teaching and administrative career. His chairmanship of the future directions committee and strategic planning committee were the contributions that will leave a permanent mark on the association."
Before serving UK School of Music
as director of bands, Clarke became
Last fall, the UK Alumni Band honored Clarke, director emeritus of the Wildcat Marching Band (WMB), for helping bring national attention to WMB for its innovative shows and high level of performance. The recognition was part of Alumni Band Weekend 2011.
Clarke's band career started when
he was a sophomore in college and became the first band director of a high
school in Cleveland, Miss. A year later he became band director of a larger
high school. After graduating college in three years with a bachelor's degree
from Delta State University (DSU), Clarke was named band director of one of
Before arriving at
KMEA is a nonprofit organization consisting of more than 2,000 professional music educators at all levels from kindergarten to the university level who are dedicated to the cause of music education in Kentucky. Included are in-service, pre-service and retired music educators. Associated with MENC (National Association for Music Education), KMEA serves as a voice for the Commonwealth's music educators.
The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.