With only four boxes left to unpack, Doug Harris settled into his position as Clark’s newest band director.
Harris brings to the table an extensive background directing band programs at colleges including Western Kentucky University, Santa Clara University and Southern Utah University. He said he has a long and well-respected career as a director and instructor at Palm Bay High School in Florida.
Music Program Coordinator Shelly Williams plays French horn in Concert Band and said she is excited to work with Harris as a colleague and as her director. She said new band directors always brings their own style which helps them teach students something new.
“The program is the same,” Williams said. “Now we have his flair added.”
Williams said she knows how important the music program is at Clark and students can jump-start their music education studies for less money than a typical four-year college. The college offers a two-year transfer degree in music studies. Students who are earning other degrees can take music classes for humanities credits.
Orchestra Director Don Appert said he has held almost as many positions in the music department as he has instruments in his repertoire. Having been with Clark for 29 years, Appert said he is excited to have Harris on board as part of the team.
“Dr. Harris has stepped into his duties as director of bands with great enthusiasm and diligence to make the transition a smooth one,” Appert said.
“There is a legacy here at Clark College,” Harris said. “The more I am here, the more I realize it’s really part of this community, so step one is to make sure that continues.”
Harris said he believes bringing more awareness of the program to the local music education community will help the program succeed. More students enrolling in the music program means more opportunities for smaller music troupes like chamber groups and brass quintets. Right now, he said the limiting factor is the lack of students.
“There are so many amazing musicians in this area who just aren’t playing or they are only playing in one group,” Harris said. “My hope with concert band is to really focus on the quality of performances and the quality of literature because ‘if you build it they will come.’”
Harris said he is excited to organize the Jazz Festival in January, which hosts over 60 middle and high schools in the Pacific Northwest. He said he is nervous since he is new to the festival, but knows it runs like a well-oiled machine.
“I love teaching. I just love teaching,” he said. “It’s my passion and I’m so lucky to be able to do it as my profession.”