Taking over his first teaching job, and replacing legend Mickey Stisher, Joe Clark has already made a huge difference in the La Porte High School’s music department.
Clark made his first impressions as the brand new director June when he started his first adventure at LPHS, on the marching band field. From the very first moments, the band immediately knew how intelligent and gifted Clark was in music.
His love for music started when he was a child. He grew up an hour outside of Boston, Massachusetts, in the small town of Pepperell, MA.
Clark attended North Middlesex Regional High School in Townsend, Massachusetts, but when it came time for post secondary school, he left his home state and headed for the “Big Apple.”
He went to Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester for his undergraduate studies. Clark was thrilled to have been accepted to both the colleges, but something stuck out more with Eastman.
“Eastman was particularly attractive to me because several of their faculty members developed the Music Learning Theory inspired method books that I had started learning on in fourth grade,” Clark said.
In addition to attending both schools, Clark also attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he studied wind conducting, which prepares and educates new conductors of wind music.
As the music lover that Clark is, music education and clarinet performance were his two undergraduate majors; however, he also decided to stick to mathematics, just in case something fell through in the music world. Thankfully, it didn’t.
Clark can now happily say that he holds two Bachelor of Music degrees: one in clarinet performance and one in music education. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics, and lastly he holds a Master of Music degree in wind conducting.
From the very beginning of his life, he remembers always wanting to help people. He realized in middle school that teaching was what he wanted to pursue. He just wasn’t quite sure what he was going to teach.
“I distinctly remember admiring my middle school band director a lot but thinking to myself, “It seems too hard- I’d never be able to play all the instruments like he can,” Clark said. “My freshman year of high school, my own high school band director said to me, ‘You know, Joe, you’d make a great high school band director.’”
Since that moment, Clark went for it and never looked back.
“It felt right,” Clark added.
After applying for several band director positions, Clark didn’t have any experiences quite like his interviews with La Porte.
“The fact that the interview committee was made up of the principal, the high school music department, and the president of the La Porte Music Club was a very good sign to me that La Porte takes its music program seriously,,” Clark said.
As Clark is becoming acquainted with students and truly experiencing the real feeling of being a band director at LPHS, he has enjoyed many moments so far.
“Getting to work with the marching band during parade camp and band camp has made me extremely excited to be here,” Clark said. “While they are good musicians, they are also good human beings.”
The La Porte Music Department is thrilled to have such a caring individual like Clark in his new role, and they are genuinely excited for all of the wonderful music and memories that are going to be made.