Saxophonist, composer and educator Dave Pietro–a native of Southborough, Massachusetts–has lauded Mr. Clark’s Big Band calling it: “a chronicle of all that is good and precious in music education and how it can help young people to learn so many important lessons of life; lessons about compassion, respect, bravery, listening to others, working together as a team, accepting others for who they are, and finding one’s inner passion.”
The New York University assistant professor jazz studies continued:
It’s a heart-warming, funny and delightful account of a family of young musicians coming together to collectively grieve the loss of a classmate, led by a band director who demonstrates what it means to be a great teacher and a compassionate human being.
Pietro is a member of the Grammy Award-winning Maria Schneider Orchestra and the Grammy-nominated groups the Gil Evans Project and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.
Image credit: Dave Pietro’s website.
A weekly local paper in the Southborough, Massachusetts area, the Community Advocate, has profiled Mr. Clark’s Big Band.
“For residents of small, tight-knit Southborough, the morning of Jan. 11, 2012 brought with it deep sorrow and mourning as news of 12-year-old Eric Green’s passing swept through the town,” Sue Wambolt wrote in the Advocate. “A seventh-grade student and member of the P. Brent Trottier Middle School big band, Green died in his sleep from an undiagnosed heart condition.”
“While friends, neighbors and townsfolk struggled to come to terms with the loss, big band teacher Jamie Clark demonstrated the power of music to heal wounds as he guided his students through an emotionally challenging year,” she continued. “Mr. Clark’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room, penned by resident and ‘big band mother’ Meredith O’Brien, chronicles this journey and gives an inside look at navigating bereavement in middle school.”
Image credit: Community Advocate.
Jazz performer Dr. Steve Raybine, a jazz educator and recording artist, lauded Mr. Clark’s Big Band:
Meredith O’Brien hits all the right notes in her new book, Mr. Clark’s Big Band. This is a warm-hearted story about a charismatic middle school jazz band director. He both comforts and inspires the members of his jazz band who are grieving the loss of their fellow bandsman. Written with insight and affection, this will take you back to your own years as a middle school band student.
Dr. Raybine is a virtuoso vibraphonist (nicknamed the “Master of the Mallets”), percussionist, composer/arranger, instructor and clinician. He has recorded four jazz CDs
including Cool Vibes
, In the Driver’s Seat
, Bad Kat Karma
and Balance Act