MICHAEL CLEMENT

Profile Updated: September 12, 2009
MICHAEL CLEMENT
Residing In: Piti, GU USA
Spouse/Partner: Rosemary
Homepage: Chamorroweb.com
Occupation: Teacher/ethnomusicologist
Children: Michael R. Clement, Jr
Claudia R. Clement
Military Service: none
Yes! Attending Reunion
Comments:

1959: Off to Eastman School of music at the University of Rochester. I had no idea of where this would take me. I took some comfort that I would see friends from National Music Camp at Interlochen who were there. After four years, I had changed from clarinet performance to the music business. My first marriage came too soon and was short; right out of college for two years; but it accounted for me staying in Rochester, New York from 1963 to 1968 as assistant manager of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Overlapping with this, I became box office manager and then assistant manager of the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, a haven for chamber music lovers.
I was in heaven working for Rudolph Serkin, also director of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, the Spanish cellist Pablo Casals and more. I ran concert series in Philadelphia, Boston, Rochester, Washington, D.C. and assisted Frank Solomon at Lincoln Center. Working with Mischa Schneider of the Budapest String, I started a private record label for Serkin to highlight Marlboro performances not commercial enough for our annual releases with Columbia Records. The recordings received 5 stars by Saturday Review Magazine. In 1969, this gained me entry into the “budget” classical music recording industry in New York City and was a new phase in my career and my education. I joined Vox Records, owned by George H. Mendelssohn de Bartholdy, a descendant of the composer Felix Mendelssohn. He was a pioneer in bringing classical music to more Americans through low cost recordings. He was an ethnomusicologist at heart, ahead of his time. In 1970-71, we introduced the first classical music on cassette tape by using the Dolby System and this put classical music into cars radios for the first time. I worked with Mendelssohn for three years in New York before he announced his retirement and sold his company. During this time I built a reputation for my ideas and writing about marketing classical music with our clients that included Readers Digest, Time Magazine, Book Club of America, etc. I left Mendelssohn to start my own tape editing service but after a year I couldn’t survive. In retrospect, I was full of dreams and not enough business sense. I didn’t realize that the economy was in recession. I reinvented myself as a writer and became the editor of Sperry Technology (Sperry Rand Corporation of which Univac computers was a part. The recession kicked in again and in I was laid off in early 1975.

While I was looking for my next job, I joined the speakers’ bureau for a Bi-centenial project, Operation Sail ’76 also known as the Tall Ships Celebration. It was a program to bring 44 nations sailing ships to New York harbor on July 2, 3, 4 as well as their navies. “Bus” Moshbacher, the chairman created a position for me as music/entertainment director and this began a year of coordinating the maritime music presentations of the various ships and countries on the 4th of July in New York Harbor. Two highlights for me were a nationwide music contest and also the recreation of an historic slave schooner, La Amistad, to enable Black participation in the event and bring attention to the history of the Amistad.

During these years, I met my wife, Rosemary Penick. We were married in November of 1974 and my son Michael, Jr. was born prematurely on July 13 1976 due to the irresistible activity of our jumping around on and off sailing ships in New York, Boston, Newport, etc. When Operation Sail wound up in November, I was offered a job by a maritime organization, United Seamen’s Service, first as public relations director and then to work overseas for two years. In November 1977, was sent to Venezuela as director of their organization (gift shops/restaurants). I thought that after two years, I would return to New York and resume my music career but that never happened. My daughter, Claudia, was born in Venezuela in February of 1978 and the company kept coming up with attractive assignments. I was sent to Alexandria, Egypt to open a new club in 1980-81, then to Pusan, South Korea to build and open two clubs and, in1983, I was assigned to direct its operations in Guam which occasionally took me to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. In Korea and Guam, United Seamen’s Service operated under the sponsorship of the Navy Military Sealift Command. Even though I never enlisted in the military, I enjoyed six years as a civilian working with the military rated as a Navy commander.

By 1986, our whole family was woven into the Guam community in one way or another, we had many friends and we decided to buy a home and stay on Guam. It was particularly exciting for my daughter who became a good swimmer. She competed in the Micronesian Games, South Pacific Games, East Asian Games and Pan-Pacific games, and traveled to Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tahiti and Papua New Guinea. She attended the University of Massachusetts on a swim scholarship and made all-American, then joined the Peace Corps in Mauritania. She is now finishing a masters degree at the University of Hawaii in community planning.

My son, Michael, was not so athletic or adventurous. He buried himself in heavy metal music during high school and surfing was second. He got his bachelors at University of Hawaii, a masters at the University of Guam and is now working on his doctoral dissertation in Pacific History for the University of Hawaii but he’s back home this year teaching world history at the University of Guam. Claudia is still unmarried. Michael is married and he and his wife, Francine, have two girls, ages 3 and 5.

Overall, we stayed on Guam to give some stability to our lives. I didn’t want my kids schooling to be interrupted as much as mine was. But, I don’t think we could have foreseen back in 1983 that we would be here 26 years later. The transition was hardest for me to make because in 1986, there were very few job opportunities on Guam and there was no music business. But, I had joined Rotary International, was well-known in the community, and this led to my becoming the purchasing director of a new 5-star hotel owned by the Republic of Nauru and operated by All Nippon Airways. Initially, I had hopes of becoming a general manager but at my age it was near impossible. I ran my own wholesale hotel/restaurant supply business between 1993 and 1997 and then the economy collapsed on Guam. At that point, it was time for me to haul out my music degree and start teaching. I began teaching high school Spanish and switched to music in 2001. Since then, I have carved out a niche for myself as an ethnomusicologist with the Micronesian Area Research Center.

How can all of this happen? Well, on Guam, we say OOG (O-O-G), meaning “only on Guam”. If you have something to offer, you can make it work on this island. The politics is dominated by clans, extended families. It is a very friendly place but you have to be careful what you say. My son got married and about 800 relatives and friends showed up at the wedding. Every time you go to the supermarket, you meet someone you know. You think you’ll be out in ten minutes, but you get engaged in conversations with a colleague or someone you haven’t seen for years that seem endless. If you are really unlucky, you finish a catch-up conversation with one person and immediately run into another, and another. It is a unique place. We may have beautiful beaches and tropical forests year round but we still live locally in a “fish bowl.”

I feel that I have neglected my wife up to this point in my narrative. We are about to arrive at our 35th anniversary, so she has been a part of all of this. The wonderful thing is that she agreed to all the moves we made over the years. She isn’t a musician; she just respects music. We share a common interest in culture and food (not that most people don’t). She grew up in Westchester, New York and studied at Manhattanville and St. Mary’s. I met her through a high school

School Story:

Sort of embarassing moment for me. Bobby Gray was into modern dance and talked me into getting on stage in some dance production. I wasn't much of a modern dancer and made some pretty awkward moves. I was taking the whole thing quite seriousloy, so it shocked and embarrassed me when the whole audience (all of you) laughed your heads off. To this day, I still wonder what I was doing on that stage.

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Feb 12, 2018 at 12:16 PM

Posted on: Feb 12, 2018 at 11:05 AM

Happy Birthday Sandy and many more!

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