CALHOUN — In 1963, Harold “Stretch” Summerville became the band director at Calhoun High School and introduced a revolutionary half-time presentation that featured a non-stop precision show and drill that set the stage for the Color Presentation and the flashing batons of the majorettes.
The Yellow Jacket Band’s new routine was so different to that of other competitors that even rival schools gave the Yellow Jackets rousing ovations. It was during this time that the band acquired a new introduction; the Reverend Claude McBride of Belmont Baptist Church felt that an award-winning band deserved an introduction that expressed the admiration of the school and community. Soon, the announcer’s cry that signaled the start of another exciting half-time show was, “Presenting the pride of Georgia’s northland, the Calhoun High School Marching Yellow Jackets!”
Michael E. Clark graduated from Calhoun High School in 1974. A talented musician, Clark received a music scholarship, attended Jacksonville State University in Alabama, and graduated in 1978. He began working with his former band director in 1979 as his assistant.
In 1987, Mr. Summerville retired, and his former student became the new director. Under Michael’s leadership, the band continued the standard of excellence for more than 37 years.
During his years with the Jacket Nation, Clark had many different roles. You may or may not know this, but he was also a wrestling coach and referee, a middle school golf coach, a baseball coach and a soccer coach. He was selected as Teacher of the Year in 2001. He could also entertain the masses with his humor and wit.
Both Summerville and Clark are credited with Calhoun High School’s band winning numerous awards at contests and festivals.
Today, the Calhoun High School Marching Band remains the “pride of Georgia’s northland” under the direction of Mr. Larry Brown who also had the privilege of working alongside Michael for many years.
Today, the school board made the official announcement that the band room where Clark rounded out his career will be named in his honor. An official dedication ceremony will be held during pre-game festivities at Homecoming on September 9. While celebrating Clark, the school will also dedicate the Harold E. Summerville Bandstand in the north end zone in honor and memory of Stretch Summerville.
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