Bill Clark, Columbia Tribune
Peter Miyamoto was hounded by phone calls last Thursday: He had messages on his cell phone, his office phone, and even one left with the MU School of Music Director's secretary: "It sounded important," she said.
Indeed it was: Pianist Sutu Forte was organizing a birthday bash for Bill Clark, and my husband and I were honored to have been invited. The celebration took place last Saturday on August 18 at Amy Chow's "House of Chow" restaurant from 2-6pm, and there were TONS of people there - complete with Sutu at the piano, jamming away with the band. It was SO much fun!
Many people have been touched by Bill Clark, sometimes even without knowing it. He has been known in Columbia for being an activist, bird watcher, baseball scouter, an ardent music and theatre supporter, and most importantly, a good friend who really cares about the community.
I can go on about Bill, because we have known each other for some years now. But here is a story that best summarizes what I know and think of him.
In one of our conversations, he talked about how St. Louis Symphony came to town some years ago, and after some delay they performed Berg Violin Concerto. It was probably the combination of the delay and the type of a piece that rubbed Bill Clark the wrong way, but he was not impressed to say the least. So I was certain that he wouldn't show for Odyssey's production of Berg's Chamber Concerto... but he did, and after the concert he still went on about how he dislikes the composer, and advised how I should program more George Gershwin and Cole Porter.
Bill could have easily left for the last half of the concert, and the Chamber Concerto is 30-min+ long. But he was not judgmental, gave it a fair try, and stayed for the entire concert. He is still one of the biggest fan of Odyssey.
I am not a columnist but I can blog about how thankful I am to have an honest friend; it is my tribute to someone who does not have an Internet. And if you like, at your next Odyssey concert, wish him a Happy 80th, and let the celebration continue!
PS. Funny I just found this; I have been out of the loop apparently! Read Bill's article on him turning 80 HERE.