Arnold and Marion Clark
photo of the late Arnold Clark
photo of the late Marion Clark

A memorial concert in honor of Marion Clark was held in the multipurpose room of East Avenue Middle School, 3951 East Avenue, in Livermore, on the afternoon of Saturday February 5, 2011. As her friend Ursula Goldstein put it, “I can’t think of a more appropriate location for the memorial.” That’s because the school is not only the regular venue for LAS rehearsals, it is also the site at which Clark had volunteered most. An original member of the Livermore-Amador Symphony, Clark continued as an active member of the orchestra until mid-October 2010, when a harrowing fall and subsequent hip surgery prevented her from playing viola. Until her accident in October, Clark aided and coached the young string players at East Avenue regularly, assisting music teacher and LAS member Kathy Boster. And on most weekdays for years, Marion and Arnold Clark walked hand-in-hand to the school, on their way to volunteer together.

Arnold Clark, Marion Clark's spouse of fifty years, died on November 13, 2009, and Marion died January 2, 2011. Both of them were active musically (and in other areas as well, like hiking and bird watching). They taught, promoted, and participated in music. Three examples, of many: a) They hosted weekly chamber music groups in their home; a quartet comprised of Arnold and Marion, Ursula Goldstein, and Al Oliver (also a longtime member of LAS) was the most frequent grouping. b) They proudly followed the developing career of granddaughter Meredith Clark, a professional harpist who moved to the Bay Area in 2010. c) When the Symphony rehearsed in places where music stands weren't available and players needed to supply their own, they brought a bag of collapsible stands—typically and thoughtfully, just in case someone forgot.

Player Profiles: The Clarks

The text below is from
the Livermore-Amador Symphony concert program booklet of
March 1990.

Marion and Arnold Clark of Livermore are charter members of the Livermore-Amador Symphony, both having played since the first season in 1963. Currently a member of the first violin section, Arnold began as principal second violin and has also played viola and cello at various times. Marion has been principal viola for most of her years here and was often the only viola player at Symphony rehearsals.

Before there was a symphony in the Valley, Marion recalls, their musical activities consisted of playing with the Diablo Light Opera in Walnut Creek and playing chamber music with other local musicians, which they still do. The first auditions for players were held at the Clarks’ house, and they also remember the first conducting outing here of the young Stanford graduate student Arthur Barnes.

A physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for 30 years, Arnold grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and began violin at age 9. “I began viola,” he adds, “at age 16, cello at age 45, and bass at age 68.” He attended Swarthmore College, and received his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1941. Now retired, he continues with consulting work at the Lab, and for the past 6 years has served as a volunteer with the string program in Livermore public schools.

Marion is an Indiana native who began violin at age 10 and viola in high school, where she played in the school orchestra. She attended Stevens College and graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. degree, and received an M.S. in Medical Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin. It was in Madison that she met the Clark family, when she played quartets with Arnold’s sister. Marion has also played in the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Symphony, and she taught violin and viola in Livermore for many years. For the past 15 years, she has also served as a volunteer with school string programs, particularly at East Avenue Middle School, and now at Mendenhall, Sunset, Joe Michell, and Emma Smith schools.

One of six married couples on the Symphony roster, Marion and Arnold plan to spend their retirement together with “more of the same”—that is, Symphony rehearsals and helping string players in the schools.

© Livermore-Amador Symphony Association