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Distinguished Indeed

April 13, 2007—The Clarks, recipients of the 2004 Distinguished Alumni Award, demonstrated ongoing support for IUP by raising more than $25,000 in a benefit concert for a new recording studio in the renovated Cogswell Hall, home to the Department of Music.

The Clarks

Left to right: Robert James Hertwick '87, Scott Blasey '87, and Greg Joseph '85

Left to right: Robert James Hertwick '87, Scott Blasey '87, and Greg Joseph '85

The final rock concert in “old” Fisher Auditorium, itself now undergoing renovation, saw generations of alumni come together to provide an enduring gift to the university.

The band members—Scott Blasey ’87, Robert James Hertweck ’87, Greg Joseph ’85, and David Minarik ’88—were approached in the fall of 2005 by Shari Trinkley ’81, IUP’s director of Major and Planned Giving. Construction at Cogswell was nearing completion, and naming opportunities for various rooms were still available.

“When deciding who, among the university family, the recording studio would be a perfect fit for, the first name that popped into my head was the Clarks,” Trinkley said. “I developed a proposal for the naming opportunity, met with Greg and Rob when they were in town for a concert, and plans just steamrolled from there.”

The Clarks were immediately on board with the idea. With help from artist and longtime friend Chuck Olson ’74, M’76, the fundraising concert took place in April, 2006, in Fisher Auditorium. (It was the last major show in Fisher before the auditorium closed for renovation that is scheduled for completion in Fall, 2008.)

“When Shari approached them with the idea, it just about knocked them out,” said Olson, a 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. “The Distinguished Alumni thing really affected them, and this was like a second rush of joy, realizing that they have the chance to give something of such value for succeeding generations of musicians—classical, jazz, or whatever—at IUP.”

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That single night of music was wildly successful and included the opening act of Dan and Dave. While planning the concert, Hertweck remembered Dan Murphy ’91 and David Antolik ’88, musicians who were playing bars and frat house basements around the same time as the Clarks and who had also kept up with their music for the last twenty years. Olson recalled Hertweck’s saying, “Those two, get those two.”

Hertweck and Olson ended up joining Dan and Dave on stage for their last song that night. “When you connect with certain people, you create a kind of infectious energy in each other,” said Olson. “The feeling backstage was all about that collectivity of one generation of IUP wanting to give back and of having a moment, that the university gave to everybody, to be able to do something that will endure. Who knows what’s going to come out of that recording studio?”

Greg Joseph

Greg Joseph

The concert included a raffle for an autographed guitar, tickets to one of the Clarks’ summer shows, and an autographed copy of their greatest hits DVD, Still Live. “We joke about the fact that the last song played at old Fisher was “Cigarette”—performed by an all-Distinguished-Alumni band!” Olson said.

The New Studio

The Clarks Recording Studio will allow ensembles, groups, or individual students to record performances or rehearsals for study, for application to graduate programs or competitions, and for other uses. The band deferred to the College of Fine Arts to determine what the new recording studio needed. The room, deceptively small and plain, will contain state-of-the-art equipment.

“The room is a luxury,” said Jack Stamp ’76, assistant chair of the Department of Music. “All quality music schools have this advantage, the ability to record in a rehearsal room. We never had anything like this before, never had the opportunity to record rehearsals, lectures, at the push of a button. Without the Clarks’ help, it would have progressed very slowly.”

The recording studio has windows looking into two of the four rehearsal rooms that will be wired together by next fall: choral, percussion, jazz, and ensemble. Two permanent microphones will be installed in each of the rehearsal rooms and will join a slew of high-quality equipment, including a sixteen-channel stereo mixer, a high-definition stereo recorder, a studio effects processor, a CD recorder, monitors, and stands—plus two ultra-sensitive ribbon microphones, a battery-powered field recorder, and a recorder capable of duplicating fifty CDs at a time.

The Clarks' Scott Blasey

The Clarks' Scott Blasey

“We’ve met a lot of really great people from the university, like [Music Department chair] Lorraine Wilson and her husband,” said lead vocalist Blasey. “They couldn’t have been nicer or more appreciative of what we were doing for them, and we felt the same way about what they were doing for us. It was a situation where everybody came away winners and feeling really good about it. I can’t use a better word than ‘thrilled’ to be involved with it.”

The Clarks were also featured in the Fall 2002 issue of IUP Magazine.

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