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Owen Clark was born on July 16, 1938 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His first experience playing a musical instrument occurred in 1955 at a Canadian Army cadet camp in Dundurn, Saskatchewan where he played the snare drum. A year later at Tec Voc High School in Winnipeg, Clark replaced an absent bass drummer in a school performance, and decided to become a professional musician when he was invited to join the country group, the CKY Playboys in the late 1950s. In 1971, Clark graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education and a Licentiate Diploma in Performance (High Distinction in Percussion) from McGill University in Montreal. In 1974, he received a Masters of Science in Education (Major in Music) from Moorhead State University in Moorhead, Minnesota. Clark has five children and is married to Kolleen Karlowsky.
Clark’s musical skills include drums, vocals, percussion, electric bass, composing and arranging. For many years, he taught The History of Rock Music and Percussion at the University of Manitoba, and Music, Canadian History and Computer courses in the Seven Oaks School Division (Winnipeg). He was a radio announcer and chair of the program committee at CJNU radio station in Winnipeg and performed for radio and television, including recording at CBC (TV and Radio), CTV, CKND, and Shaw cable television network. In addition, Clark performed on albums, jingles, films, documentaries and videos at major Winnipeg recording studios. His symphonic experience includes the CBC Montreal Opera Orchestra, Les Grande Ballets Canadienne, National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa), Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, National Ballet, the Manitoba Opera Co., and the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra. Commercially, Clark has performed Classical, Jazz, Rock, Country, Pop, Latin music and in musical theatre, and has appeared with Stevie Wonder, Sarah Vaughan, the Four Aces, Esquivel, Lionel Hampton, Jazzmobile, Stanley Black, Arthur Fiedler, Vincent Price, the Queen City Kids, Rich Little, Lenny Breau, Tom Jackson, Harry Belafonte, Ron Paley, Bob Hope, Andy Williams, Gloria Loring, Freddy Fender, Pat Boone, Bobby Curtola, Len Cariou, Catherine McKinnon, and on Sesame Street, Disney On Parade, the Ice Capades, Alan Blye, Aubrey Tadman, Rainbow Stage, Manitoba Theatre Centre, and The Warehouse Theatre. As co-owner of Clark Productions Ltd. since 1980, Clark plays drums, bass, and percussion and sings with Owen Clark and the Good Time Dance Band, the Owen Clark Big Band, the Ragtime Strutters, and the Owen Clark Jazz Group. He also freelances with many bands, singers, and performing groups in the Winnipeg area. In 2008 he published the book, Musical Ghosts: Manitoba’s Jazz and Dance Bands, 1914-1966 using many photographs from his Collection in the book.
As part of a creative arts committee at Elwick Community School in Winnipeg, Manitoba Clark was awarded the Hilroy Fellowship for Innovative Teaching in 1986. In 2009, he received the Manitoba Jazz Musician of the Year Award and an Association for Manitoba Archives Manitoba Day Award. In 2011 he was nominated for a Winnipeg Arts Council Arts Award.