Dana Clark is a multi-instrumentalist with a knack for writing songs that express contemporary themes in language that engages the intellect and music that touches the heart.
Education: Dana learned to sing and play piano, guitar, and flute when quite young. She eventually added mandolin, ukelele, dulcimer, and several different kinds of flutes to those she can play and teach.
She obtained a B.A. in Psychology, with a specialty in Child Psychology and an M.A. in Behavioral Psychology from Southern Illinois University. Her double focus on music and psychology led her to see music as an important component of personal healing, community building, and full participation in the human experience.
Songwriting: Dana considers songwriting one of her most important musical activities. She has recorded an album and two CDs of original songs, "New Shoes," “Trust Your Heart to Lead You Home” and “Disguised as Poetry.” Music and lyrics are available on her website: www.danaclarkmusic.com.
Work for progressive social change:
1. In her role as Local Task Force Leader for A Season for Nonviolence, Dana produced two compilation CDs of music from singer-songwriters: “Increase the Peace” and “Peace Is Our Birthright.” Sales of these CDs helped to support the San Antonio Peace Center.
2. While working with a coalition of community groups, she helped organize numerous events to raise awareness of peace and social justice issues, staged many performances of the Peace Choir, which she founded, and played music for a rally with Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson.
3. On 9-11-2006 she organized and conducted the music for the Centennial Celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha, at which over 150 singers and musicians performed together.
4. In 2007 Dana was nominated for the Martin Luther King Distinguished Achievement Award for her work with the Peace Choir. In 2010 she was awarded the Bahai Unity of Humanity Award for using her songwriting to work for peace and social justice.
5. She is co-founder and director of the Music and Drum Circle at Center for Refugee Services in San Antonio, which provides free weekly music classes for refugees from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. This program uses music to help refugees heal and make the transition to a new culture.
Performance history: On the Chicago music scene for ten years in the eighties, Dana played clubs, hotels, and coffeehouses around the city and traveled to perform at more than fifty colleges throughout Illinois and Wisconsin. While in Chicago she studied piano with Erwin Helfer, legendary for his traditional Chicago blues style, and Skip Green, one of Chicago’s most respected teachers of jazz. In San Antonio she has played many churches, clubs, and community events, both as a solo performer and with various groups. She regularly provides music for such annual events as World Refugee Day, World Aids Day, Walk Against Genocide, One Billion Rising, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Vigil.
Publications: Her songs have been published in several songbooks: Earth and Spirit Songbook edited by Jim Scott, May This Light Shine by Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network, and Special Services and Chants Vol. 1, by the Association of Unity Churches. Her non-fiction articles about music have appeared in the newsletter of independent filmmaker Kell Kearns, and in the book Insights on the Journey: Trauma, Healing, and Wholeness, www.salsa.net/peace/ebooks. Her writing on “The Healing Power of Music” appeared in the Sound Connections Newsletter from Unity Association of Churches. She has published two songbooks of her original compositions.
Teaching: Through her private lessons and workshops for children and adults she helps others learn to express themselves musically. Her teaching method is influenced by her training in Orff Schulwerk. For twenty-eight years she has taught private lessons for students of piano, guitar, flute, and voice. For nine years she taught the popular “Music Making” class for children at San Antonio Academy’s Summer Program. She has given workshops in songwriting, vocal technique, peacemaking with music, the healing power of music, keyboard harmony and improvisation. Dana believes that making music is an essential part of the human experience, not the exclusive privilege of those with special talents.
Musical Leadership: For nine years she served as Music Director for the San Antonio Unity Church where she led the band “Synergy.” She has organized women's retreats and performed concerts for them. In 2010 she served as Artist in Residence for a week long Southwest Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute, playing for daily services, teaching youth classes, directing the choir, and performing solo concerts. She currently sings in the adult choir and directs one of the children's choirs at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Antonio.