Collection 7 - Owen Clark Collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Owen Clark Collection

General material designation

  • Multiple media

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Collection

Reference code

CA COWA 7

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1890 - 2010 (Creation)
    Creator
    Clark, Owen

Physical description area

Physical description

1545 photographs. – 117 slides. – 1 contact sheet. – 41 negatives. – 12 postcards. – 7 scrapbooks. – 1 photograph album. – 22 pamphlets and/or publications. - 11 pieces of sheet music. – 24 posters. 2 compact disks. – 20 VHS video cassettes. – 107 8mm video cassettes. – 4 Mini DV. – 18 audio cassettes. – textual records and various ephemera.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1890-2010)

Biographical history

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.

Custodial history

The collection was gifted to the City of Winnipeg Archives in 2007 by Owen Clark. Along with items donated from Owen Clark’s private collection, various individuals gave items and collections to Clark when he interviewed them as part of the research for his book on local musical history: Winnipeg Musician’s Association, Ed Sersen, Viola Robertson, Des Munn, Charles Cruickshank, Mary Nelson, Bob Lyde, Monty Levine, Del Wagner, Elaine Robertson, Libby Morris, Pierre Béluse, Roger Vermette, Audrey Jones, J. McAvoy, Kae Nordman, Jay MacLeod, Frederic Perry, Pearl Wylie, Johnny Bering, Joanne A. Smith, Esther Findley, Arlene & Berks Baker, Bud Currie, Herb Carvey, Art Woodfield, Tommy Buick, Steve Senyk, Dick Carr, Ed Beddome, Bud McIntosh, Jimmy Carson, Gail Gillies, Fred Petruga, Hilda Horner, Ray Edmand, Murray Anderson, Guy Clouter, Sharon Barker, Eddy Laham, Jim Blendick, Harold Hunter, Stanley Collins, Dave Shaw, Larry Crawford, Frank Staff Jr., Vic Davies, Irvin Plum, Barclay Johnson, Al Doe, Dave Shearer, George Reznick, Rae Tallin, Bill Pounder, Bob Jackson, Tom Jestadt, Josephine Shaddy, Teresa Cameron, Paul Baran, Larry Laker, and Brian Wagner. Most of the donors transferred ownership of their records to Owen Clark and he subsequently signed copyright over to the City of Winnipeg Archives.

Scope and content

The collection consists of material relating to Winnipeg and its music history, particularly its jazz, blues, and big band music from the late 1890s to 2007. This material was used by Clark in Musical Ghosts: Manitoba’s Jazz and Dance Bands, 1914-1966. As well, the collection includes vintage photographs and related material on Winnipeg-based musicians, music and dance venues, and the bands, singers and performers who worked in these establishments. The collection also records the architecture of dance halls and clubs in Winnipeg and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan towns. In addition, social and cultural activities in Manitoba are represented in the descriptions recorded on many of the photographs. The collection contains digital, visual and audio media of interviews and musical sessions by musicians captured in many of the photographs.

The main body of the Owen Clark Collection contains records given to Owen Clark or records from his private collection. It also contains a bound scrapbook that was compiled by Manuel Finkelman, a dancer at the Orpheum Theatre from 1922-1923. It contains newspaper clippings (many from The Winnipeg Tribune) documenting the entertainment scene in Winnipeg, Manitoba, especially the Orpheum Theatre and vaudeville acts from 1921-1927. The scrapbook was discovered by Gene Shelley (Eugene Schibler) during demolition of the Theatre in 1948 and given to Owen Clark around 2004.

Textual records and ephemera in the Collection include local band business cards, newspaper clippings, music magazines, telegraphs, letters, menus from restaurants in Winnipeg, achievement certificates, and newsletters, among other items.

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Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access to these records. Researchers are responsible for observing Canadian copyright regulations. Sources explaining copyright rules can be found in the donor file alongside the terms of use information developed for this Collection.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File list available in Research Room.

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Further accruals are expected.

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