Dr. Valerie Cisler
professor and chair, Department of Music and Performing Arts, 308.865.8118

Clark Yanda of Boelus has been named the 2004 Gary Thomas Distinguished Music Award recipient at  the University of Nebraska at Kearney.  At noon on Friday, Oct. 8, Dr. Valerie Cisler, UNK music department chair, will present Yanda with the award in ceremonies in the Nebraskan Student Union Cedar Room.

A 1958 Kearney State College/UNK graduate, Yanda has been involved in music performance, music education and the music business in Nebraska for more than 50 years. While at KSC/UNK, Yanda was student council president and had a jazz band. After graduating, he went on to earn his master of arts degree in music and administration at Western State College in Colorado in 1961.

Yanda directed the Navy Band at the Submarine Base at Pearl Harbor from 1952 to 1955 and helped produce television shows in Hawaii. He also worked with the USO and various other agencies in providing musical entertainment for the Armed Forces Service Clubs in Oahu, Hawaii. He received a commendation from the U.S. Navy for contributing to the morale of the submarine force in the Pacific.

As a music educator in Nebraska, he began as student director of the Kearney State College Band, then taught at Overton, Ord, Arcadia and the Youth Rehabilitation Training Center in Kearney. Also, while in Ord, he received the Outstanding Young Man of the Year award from the Jaycees and the Outstanding Teacher Award from the public schools. During this time, he was a frequent guest clinician and adjudicator for area musical events.

Yanda purchased Gaston Music Company in Kearney in 1965 and later changed the name to Yanda’s Music. While he had Yanda’s Music, he served a term as president of the Nebraska Music Dealers Association.

The mission of Yanda’s Music was to provide for the needs of musicians in greater Nebraska. It was a center for private instruction in music for as many as 200 students per week. In addition, Yanda was the director of the Kearney Area Concert Band for several years, as well as the trumpet player for the Dobytown Dixieland Band and for several other groups in the area. He sold his interest in Yanda’s Music in 1998.

Yanda and his wife Vicki now live near Boelus.