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"The Clark Ewing Saga"

by Greg McKee

 

"Clark and the Muses"

The saga of Clark Ewing would be incomplete without an overview of musical influences on his life—and the lives of those who benefited from his passion.  Clark felt that the dining hall was an integral part of the Camp program, and encouraged songs and entertainment—after the meal, of course.  He understood that music has the ability to connect us for years after the experience.  Below are several of the most noteworthy:

My High Silk Hat—This was Clark’s trademark song, sung in the dining hall at summer camp, family camp, special events.

When It’s Camp Time at Camp Storer- a song that dated back to Doc Miller days. Usually sung at end of session banquets.

One of my memories of camp was the guitars that were stored on two shelves at the entrance to the South Center dining. The staff –Fred Starner, Bryce Harbaugh, Chip Hedler– led songs that were flat out cool. I still lead songs that these legends taught me—58 years later!

Our Best—A chapel classic. I’m not sure how far this song went back at camp, but it epitomized—and continues to do so—a key value that defined Storer.  In getting ready for the fifth year ceremony, Clark would ask that all heads be bowed, with eyes closed “until the strains of Our Best are sung.” The moment was nothing short of magical.

Abide With Me—Every final campfire began with this venerable hymn. The Stony Lake Choral Society would gather just ahead of the campfire to practice the hymn.

Bugle Calls- Clark loved bugle calls, and made them an integral part of the camp experience. From “Reveille” to “To the Colors” and ”Taps". He was an excellent bugler, often playing "Taps" from just outside his office. As a brass player, I loved the bugle calls (although I used a trombone). My favorite call was “Retreat”, played 15 minutes before "Taps". Bugle calls added yet another piece of magic to a Storer experience.

Rounds—Music was an important part of chapel, and “rounds”—where the congregation is split into groups,and enter in at different times—were a Ewing favorite. "Jubilate Deo" and “The Love Round” were two favorites.

The Cremation of Sam McGhee---A Campfire showstopper—No one did it better than Clark.

 

"Clarkisms"

 

“Bathtub in the Living Room”—something out of place                                                                                      

“You’re only as clean as the instrument doing the cleaning”—When mopping floors on Sunday afternoons in the late 1980s, this was a mantra used by “The Bucketeers” that began the process.

“It’s amazing how much you can get done if you don’t care who gets the credit”

“The greatest thing in life is Service“—taken from Doc Miller;used often

“At some point in my life it became important for me to be who I said I was”

“Yo-de-lay-hee”—Clark’s yodels as he walked around Camp

“If you don’t bring a notebook and calendar to a meeting, then why are we meeting?”

“Send me a person who reads”

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for Gold”—Clark’s version of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” was epic

“We took him dragging and kicking into the arena”—giving people new challenges to help them grow

“God is real”

"There is nothing so permanent as a temporary arrangement”--- the trailer on the North Side served as housing for nearly 20 years(1970-1988)

“I’d like to share a concern with you”—counseling is in session

“The Indian Guide Program is the greatest untapped resource in the YMCA today"-Clark expressed this on many occasions

"Aero-therapy"—Clark taking folks flying

“What ho’, cried the King”—Clark’s response to happenings at Camp

"Let silence do its work for you"—Clark’s advice on handling pauses in an interview

"Let’s check with the Chancellor of the exchequer"—Clark determining if there was enough funds for King Stony to have steak for dinner.

“When things are going tough, lose yourself in the kids”—Clark’s advice to those having a bad day.

"Egad!"—A Clark exclamation

“Observe the turtle. He moves forward only when he sticks his neck out”—One of Clark’s favorite chapel talks centered on this quote, usually with a turtle in hand

“Don’t knock your predecessor”--- Clark’s advice to those entering a new position.

 

 

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