Thank You!!!

On April 23, 2012, a miracle happened! Knowing that Clark needed help, fifty-eight of his musician friends donated their performances in an incredible two-and-one-half-hour fundraising concert for him at the Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan. It was such a blessing to work with the superb production team which included the Saint Peter’s Jazz Ministry, the Jazz Foundation of America, International Women in Jazz, and Duke Ellington Society. With performances by so many legendary musicians, and two of Clark’s award-winning young students – Justin Kauflin and Josh Shpak – it was truly a night to remember.

At the concert, there was standing room only, people who couldn’t get in were gathered in the lobby, and folks were still dancing when the last note was played. The music was spectacular!

Jazz Foundation of America reported that more than $25,000 was donated through their foundation to a special “Clark Terry Fund” from people worldwide to help defray his out-of-pocket medical costs for round-the-clock medical care that he needs.

We are so very, very grateful. We’ve been thanking God daily for the tremendous outpouring of love from so many friends. Clark said, “I want to thank each and every one who did this extremely beautiful thing for me. Collectively and individually. I will never forget what you have done. Never, as long as I live!”

Dr David Demsey (photo by Donya Kato)

David Demsey, who is in the above photo, is the Coordinator of Jazz Studies and Curator for the Clark Terry Archive at William Paterson University. As our gracious emcee for the event, he said, “I’ve never seen that many stellar musicians in one concert, ever. Any number of them could have packed a club individually but they were all there together, playing their hearts out for Clark!”

Many of the assembled Musicians (photo by Ed Berger)

Most of the musicians who performed were able to be present for the pre-concert group photo shown above. Below is the list of everyone who donated their talent that night:

Clifford Adams, Jr., Carl Allen, Lisle Atkinson, Art Baron, Gene Bertoncini, Valerie Capers, Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Sylvia Cuenca, Paquito D’Rivera, Dee Daniels, Bryan Davis, David Demsey, Lou Donaldson, Mark Elf, Essiet Essiet, Don Friedman, Greg Gisbert, Dave Glasser, Bill Goodwin, Wycliffe Gordon, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Winard Harper, Barry Harris, Louis Hayes, Jimmy Heath, Conrad Herwig, Jack Jeffers, Ingrid Jensen, Melba Joyce, Justin Kauflin, Stantawn Kendrick, Bob Kindred, Victor Lewis, Tony Lujan, Russell Malone, Sarah McLawler, Marcus McLaurine, Mulgrew Miller, Shawnn Monteiro, Frank Owens, Jimmy Owens, Jeremy Pelt, Anne Phillips, Rufus Reid, Wallace Roney, Bill Saxton, John Simon, Josh Shpak, Don Sickler, Norman Simmons, Lew Soloff, Helen Sung, Steve Turre, Cedar Walton, Frank Wess, Buster Williams, Phil Woods, and surprise guests.

It was truly a miraculous event, beginning with prayers by Pastor A. J. Derr and a welcome by Pastor Dale Lind. During the entire concert, the music had everyone tapping their feet and clapping their hands. Many of Clark’s friends called later to say how incredible it was to hear so much great music from so many fantastic musicians in one concert. They said that it was a historic event!

Toward the end of the concert, Clark made an appearance via Skype, as shown below. When the audience saw him on the huge screen and realized that it was a live broadcast from Arkansas, they erupted with a loud cheer that lasted for quite a while. Clark was speechless. I had to encourage him to talk. It was all very emotional, to say the least.

Clark and Gwen Terry via Skype (photo by Ed Berger)

Just before the last tune, a four-minute trailer of the film “Keep On Keepin’ On” was shown. This heart-warming film is a work-in-progress which is being done by one of Clark’s former William Paterson University students, Alan Hicks, and his partner, Adam Hart. It features Clark’s relationship with one of his youngest students, Justin Kauflin, a blind pianist who was a semi-finalist for the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. It focuses on the serious health challenges that Clark was facing while still teaching Justin who suffers from acute stage fright. If you’d like to see the trailer, please click here.

In additional to Clark’s compositions, the repertoire for the evening included tunes that had been performed by Clark’s friends, including Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, and Frank Foster. The last tune was played in a jam session style and included all brass players, saxophonists, and vocalists who had performed during the concert. It was Clark’s composition, “Keep On Keepin’ On” which included audience participation, and it was such an encouraging message for Clark from the more than three hundred friends and fans who attended.

Although Clark’s impaired vision prohibited him from seeing what was being shown here via Skype, we sat together as emcee David Demsey announced the first tune which was one of Clark’s original compositions – “The Snapper.”

Clark asked me, “Is that a video?” I told him that it was live from Saint Peter’s Church. He asked several more times, and when it finally dawned on him that it was all true, he began wiping tears from his eyes, as did I.

After he was able to compose himself, he said, “That is unbelievable! All of them are really there?” I assured him that they were. He didn’t say anything else for about an hour, as he listened intensely to every note that was played. Then he said, “This is unbelievable. It’s so beautiful!”

For more photos of the event, please click here. If you have photos that you’d like to share, please post a comment and a link at the end of this blog. We’ve love to see your photos!

Much appreciated donations are still coming in to the Jazz Foundation of America, either by mail at 322 W. 48th Street, New York, NY 10036 with “Clark Terry Account” on the memo line of the donation checks, or on online at Please be sure to designate your donation by putting the name – Clark Terry – in the window at the bottom of the Jazz Foundation’s donation page. We are very, very grateful for your kind generosity.

JFA is a dedicated organization that helps jazz musicians in need. Clark was very instrumental in helping JFA to become established in the early ‘90’s, never imagining that he would need their support. His ability to work has steadily declined since his heart attack in 2008, and with the recent amputation of his legs, his required 24-hour home health care costs have skyrocketed.

Wendy Oxenhorn, Executive Director for JFA, said, “Many musicians who find themselves in need may be hesitant to reach out for help, but we want them to feel free to contact us. They’ve given so much to the world of jazz, and we’re here to help them in times of need. That’s our mission.”

JFA will disburse a portion of the fundraiser donations each week to pay for Clark’s medical expenses that are not covered by his primary nor supplementary insurance. These expenses include his home health aides who help to provide 24-hour care, medical supplies, over-the-counter medication, and co-payment costs for prescription drugs.

From our hearts, we truly appreciate all of the generous donations, and the following people for their love and support in helping to make Clark’s fundraiser a tremendous success:

Production Team Members Appreciation

  • Saint Peter’s Jazz Ministry: Lynne Mueller and Connie Peterson for their talent and constant commitment in co-chairing the production team; Pastors A.J. Derr and Dale Lind for prayers, promotional assistance, and for donating such a beautiful venue; Andy Rowan and Ike Sturm for their organizational skills; Russ Dantzler as stage manager; Scott Young as sound and Skype engineer, and his assistant, Ben Fedak; Sarah McLawler for providing the organ music after the photo shoot and before the concert; and the many support staff members for being such gracious hosts –
  • Jazz Foundation of America: Wendy Oxenhorn and Alisa Hafkin and for their assistance in coordinating the receipt of the many, many donations that were sent through JFA to help Clark; for their promotional assistance; Joe Petrucelli for being the evening’s treasurer, and Marianne Pillsbury for designing the event programs.
  • Our emcee David Demsey, and Marcus McLaurine both as our Music and Musician Coordinators, and for donating their talents as performing musicians.
  • Ray Carman from the Duke Ellington Society, and Jackie Lennon from the International Women in Jazz for sharing their expertise, promotional assistance, and for providing us with volunteers.

Additional Appreciation

  • The wonderful volunteers from many organizations who gave their time to fill various needs.
  • Alan Hicks and Quincy Cavers for donating their skills as our technicians for the Skype broadcast from Pine Bluff.
  • Lois Gilbert at; Jim Eigo at; Jack Goodstein at; friends at WBGO and the New York Times for donating their promotional assistance.
  • Ed Berger and Donya Kato for donating their photography services
  • Tad Hershorn for donating his photos for the “Legend Wall” at Saint Peter’s Church
  • All of our gracious friends and fans who attended the concert and shared their love
  • And we thank God for blessing us with so many caring and loving friends, and for sending His angels on earth to help Clark!

You have all made him happier than you could ever imagine, and given him so much encouragement to continue his quest to teach on Skype, and to “keep on keepin’ on!”

Blessings and love,

| happenings | 4 Comments

4 Responses to Thank You!!!

  1. Katja von Schuttenbach says:

    Dear Clark,
    Continued get well wishes from your friends at the National Endowment for the Arts! We are thinking of you in Washington, DC!

  2. Michael Miller says:

    Dear Clark,

    Never before have I experienced more love in one place than I did being at the amazing celebratory benefit held for you in New York! From the more than 50 jazz greats who performed and the mob of people who came to cheer them – and you – on, Manhattan was absolutely abuzz!

    In fact, on Monday, April 23rd, New York “City” was actually New York “CT”….as it should be!

    Only Clark Terry could inspire so many jazz greats to come from far and wide to play together under one roof! And, what a night it was! And, what a treat it was to see and hear your students – Josh Shpak and Justin Kauflin – up there playing right alongside all the legends!

    A big YAY to all those who worked so tirelessly to put together and perfectly pull off the jazz event of a lifetime!

    Here’s wishing you much happy honking ahead, Clark…forever and ever!!!
    Sending you much love and all the blest from way out west…

    Michael Miller

  3. Fabian Acuna says:

    This is truly beautiful! This is a well deserved outpour of love for Clark and you, Gwen. It’s truly amazing but no surprise still to read about the amount of love and soul at the concert! It sounds truly amazing and tremendous. All around the world you have support and that is truly something wonderful you have!

    I wish all the best and all my love!

  4. Valerie Bishop says:

    who could really be surprised at the outpouring of love for Clark and you, Gwen? i think all of us were extremely grateful for the opportunity to do “something” for you guys! i wasn’t able to be there but did what i could across the miles, and i trust people will continue to make their love and appreciation known via contributions and prayers.
    sending big hugs.
    Valerie Bishop