Jeff S. Clark, age 44 of Blue Ash, Ohio, passed away on June 6, 2023, after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of stage IV colon cancer. He is survived by his loving partner of almost 20 years, Darin Art; his mother, Candy Clark; his sister, Danielle (Curtis) Wilson and his two nephews, Daniel & Alex; and his uncles Gary (Rhonda) Clark, Barry Clark, and Steve (Connie) Clark and cousins. Jeff was preceded in death by his father, Dan L. Clark in 2016, as well as his grandparents Doug & June Yeagle, and John & Helen Clark. Jeff will be sorely missed by his family and friends, as well as the numerous students, parents, and colleagues he has worked with in his successful 22 years as a beloved music educator, choir director, theatre director, and show choir judge and clinician.
Jeff graduated from Kettering Fairmont High School in 1997, where he cultivated his love for show choir as a 4-year member of Illusion. Throughout the summers of 1994-1999, Jeff used his talents to create and form the Red Hotz and Lollipops kids show choir from Oakwood, OH, which helped him discern his desire to be a choral music educator. Jeff received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Bowling Green State University in 2001. He was a proud member of BGSU’s Men’s Chorus, the vice president of the Collegiate Chorale, and was the music director for the Phi Mu Alpha Symphonia.
From 2001-2004, Jeff held his first teaching position at Crete-Monee High School near Chicago, IL, directing the competitive all-female show choir called Faces (who won Show Stoppers 3 years in a row) as well as the mixed competitive show choir called Cavaliers.
Jeff returned to Ohio to take the choir director position at Fairfield Senior High School from 2004-2016. There he directed the high school mixed competitive show choir, Choraliers, as well as the jr. high show choir, Rhythm Express. He also created Pure Elegance, an all-girls competitive show choir, during his tenure. All three show choirs collectively won over 50 grand champions. Through all of his successes with the choral program, the mayor of the City of Fairfield proclaimed Wednesday, May 14, 2008 “Jeff Clark Day” and presented Jeff with a key to the city. The Choraliers also won the show choir division of the 2012 World Choir Games that was held in Cincinnati, OH.
Starting in 2007, Jeff was hired to judge show choir competitions at the local and national level on his “off” weekends from his students’ competition schedule. He would later become a clinician to share his love and talents with other students and directors across the country in developing and perfecting their annual show choir productions.
In 2010, Jeff graduated from Miami University with a Master’s degree in Music Education, a program he successfully finished during his summer breaks. After completing extensive research for his Master’s project on the history of competitive show choir, he participated as a guest faculty member in 2011 to teach a Show Choir Techniques workshop.
In the fall of 2016, Jeff became the choir director at Indian Hill High School. While IHHS did not have a competitive show choir, he challenged his Premieres choir by incorporating show choir elements for their annual Cabaret show. Along with Premieres, Jeff also enjoyed teaching his other Indian Hill choirs: Braves Choir, Bella Voce, Con Brio, and assisted with the 7th and 8th grade choirs as well.
Jeff had multiple ensembles over his 19 years of teaching in Ohio, who consistently scored 1s at OMEA Large Group Contest. Additionally, he regularly had multiple students selected by audition for the prestigious OMEA All-State Choir, a total of 10 students in his last school year alone.
Above all, Jeff was a hard-working and dedicated educator who created a safe space for all students to feel welcomed, included, loved, praised, and challenged. Jeff was so dedicated, that he created “Camp Clark” in 2008, as a weekend bonding and motivational retreat in the fall for his competitive show choirs, that even continued for his choirs at IHHS. He had a wonderful way about him to see the untapped potential in each student. He gave them the guidance and encouragement to excel at achieving their goals and growing in their musical talents, both individually and collectively within his choral ensembles.
Through his years at Fairfield and Indian Hill, Jeff music directed numerous musicals. However in 2020, he put his talents as a show choir director to the test when he became the new theatre director of the annual spring musical, which included The Phantom of the Opera; Hello Dolly!; Les Misérables; and Spamalot!. In the summer of 2022, Jeff applied and won a contest called The United States of Frozen, where one high school in each of the 50 states would be given the opportunity to mount a production of Disney’s Broadway adaptation of the animated film Frozen. While we are deeply saddened that Jeff is unable to complete his director role for this production, we know the students, faculty, and support staff will make Jeff proud through their hard work and perseverance for the performances of Frozen this December 2023.
Jeff took members of his choirs on a two-week performance tour in Europe at the end of March 2023 over their spring break. This was Jeff’s first time out of the country. They performed in very beautiful venues from Vienna, Munich, Strasbourg, and Paris. While Jeff’s summers as a teacher was often enveloped with future planning for his students and providing new experiences for them, he also enjoyed some personal down time to go on family vacations. Jeff always looked forward to spending time with his two nephews, and had even organized a special trip for them to Disneyland last Thanksgiving. Jeff would also take numerous trips with Darin to NYC to see the latest Broadway shows, and they also took vacations with friends to San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and even a pandemic getaway to Hawaii in 2021. Jeff really loved holidays and family traditions. He even picked up his father’s love of cooking, which he enjoyed sharing with family and friends.
Jeff’s inurnment and memorial service will be held privately for family and friends. A Music Celebration honoring the life and legacy of Jeff Clark is open to the public, which will be held at Indian Hill High School’s auditorium on Saturday, August 12, 2023 @ 6:30 p.m.
A scholarship fund in Jeff’s name has been established to award a student who participated in the choral program at Fairfield High School and who plans to pursue a degree in music education with an emphasis in choral music. Funds for this scholarship can be donated to the Hamilton Community Foundation in Butler County, OH at the following link: https://hcfoh.fcsuite.com/erp/donate?sorg_id=1033#FairfieldPride
A tax-deductible donation can be dedicated in the memory of Jeff Clark to the American Cancer Society at the following link: https://donate.cancer.org
The family wishes to extend their sincerest gratitude for the outpouring of love and overwhelming support for Jeff throughout the years and even through this great time of grief. The generosity of the community is a great comfort to them and they know his legacy will live on through his family, friends, and former students who are forever changed by him.