Garry Clark has played a central role in the development of musical talent in the Western Sydney region. As conductor, teacher, performer, administrator and more, he has dedicated his professional life to developing a public school music program and a community band program that work together to create an outstanding pathway of learning for young musicians
As Music Director of three public schools in Western Sydney, (Crestwood Public School, Matthew Pearce Public School and Kings Langley Public School), of community band programs, (The Hills Music Academy and the Blue Mountains Concert Band), Garry has a well-deserved reputation for his commitment to the development of instrumental music at a community level, and to providing opportunities for community engagement with the arts.
This includes performance opportunities and fundraising events for charitable causes. In 2007, Garry Clark organised the first GALA Concert as part of the Orange Blossom Festival. Since then, the Concert has provided a regular showcase for bands in the Hills District. In 2016, he organised the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ Concert with the Hills Music Academy (HMA), raising over $7,000 for the Australian Lions Children’s Mobility Foundation (Charity). For over fifteen years, Garry has conducted HMA at the Cancer Council’s Hills Relay for Life, as part of the Candlelight Ceremonies. He has also regularly attended Turramurra Public School’s band camps as Guest Conductor, and has been selected to conduct at the prestigious State Junior or Senior Music Camps in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, organised by the Department of Education’s Performing Arts Unit.
The growth of these school programs has been consistent over many years, as can be seen by the large numbers of students who apply to join at the Junior Band level each year. Unfortunately, even after accepting maximum numbers into the programs, many students still cannot be accommodated.
Through his three primary school programs, Garry employs fourteen specialist instrumental teachers working with small groups starting with absolute beginners. Several of these tutors actually started their musical career as a beginner student in one of Garry’s programs.
Many, many students have progressed on to involvement in community music and further study in music and education.
Garry’s bands regularly win awards and recognition at some of the most prestigious competitions and festivals in New South Wales, including the New South Wales School Band Festival, the Sydney Eisteddfod, the Dubbo Eisteddfod and the City of Orange Eisteddfod. His bands have featured annually for at least the past ten years at concerts held at the Opera House and Sydney Town Hall, and have performed over past years at the Royal Easter Show. His community bands have also won numerous awards at State and National Band Championships.
Garry is a regular contributor to the advisory boards for some of Sydney’s most prestigious music festivals and eisteddfods. He is one of the founding members of the NSW School Band Festival (SBF) Advisory panel, and has adjudicated at the SBF over the past few years. He is also a regular clinician for the Festival, all around Sydney, Gosford and even Wagga, Wagga. In 2014, his article ‘Australian Music for Primary School Bands’ was published by NSW School Band Festival and the Australian Band and Orchestra Director’s Association (ABODA) NSW.
Garry has also commissioned pieces by Australian composers on behalf of his bands, as a contribution to the development and strengthening of Australian concert band music. In 2016, Garry conducted Matthew Pearce Senior Band at the Australian National Band and Orchestra Conference at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, by invitation. This year, Garry was a contributor and Guest Conductor for ‘The Good Music Guide – Part 2’ ~ ‘Composers in the Spotlight for Developing Bands’ presented by ABODA NSW and live streamed on YouTube. Garry has been both the National and NSW President of the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association (ABODA). He has served on the board of the Asia Pacific Band Directors Association, hosting their conference in Sydney in 1998, playing host to a number of visiting international bands, and representing Australia at meetings in Taiwan and Korea. He also served as manager and staff associate conductor for the Jerry Nowak Conducting Summer School for over 15 years.
2019 - UNE Alumni Achievement Award Winner
2017 - Recognition for ‘the Incredible Commitment of 25 Years Volunteering with the Hills Shire Council’
2017 - Blacktown City Australia Day Awards ~ Nominee for Citizen of the Year
2016 - Orange Blossom Festival Awards ~ Highly Commended for Community Contribution
2004 - ABODA’s ‘Citation of Excellence’ award. This is the highest award available to members of ABODA and represents peer recognition of the work of the recipient both in Australia and overseas, for both ABODA and the music community.
Recipient of the Australian Defence Medal
Garry holds a B Mus/B Teach degree from the University of New England in Armidale.