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Concert to honor the man behind the music

Wilson (click for larger version)
September 01, 2010 - Former band and choir students of Lew Wilson are being sought to take part in an alumni concert on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010 to honor the man they proudly call teacher, friend and mentor.

Lake Orion resident Kari Lynn Clark is on the committee heading up the concert.

"We are looking for many past students of his in both choir and band who would like to participate in the concert or at least be there," Clark said.

Wilson was an integral part of the band and choir program for nearly 40 years at Oxford High School. He taught band and choir for grades seven, eight and nine in 1969 before doing drama in 1970.

He did drama until 1982, then did two more years in 1986-87.

Wilson directed the musical Scrooge from 1982-1994 as well as musicals Li'l-Abner, Finian's Rainbow, The Music Man, Oliver, South Pacific, Once Upon a Mattress and Bye Bye Birdie.

He directed the plays See How they Run, Rest Assured, Arsenic and Old Lace, Finders Creepers, Curious Savage, Desperate Ambrose and Hip Hippie Hooray.

When he finished directing, he served as a high school counselor at OHS from 1995-2005.

He served as the choir director at Oxford United Methodist Church from 1971-2005.

According to Clark, the idea got started when a couple of his former students got together and started a Facebook page to see if there was interest in doing this.

"We just became overwhelmed with the amount of people that wanted to do it," Clark said.

The concert will began at 2 p.m. and feature the current OHS Choirs, the alumni choir and the current band. The event is free to the public.

The committee putting the event together presented the concert idea to Wilson last week because they felt they couldn't keep it a secret anymore.

"We have over 140 people on the e-mail list and he (Wilson) talks to people all the time, so keeping it a secret was going to be difficult," Clark said.

She added they had to tell him so he could prepare to conduct.

Clark said that this was something she wanted to do ever since she graduated from Oxford in 1982. She had Wilson throughout junior high, high school and in four musicals.

"You always think about a teacher who led you down a different path," Clark said. "This man got me through high school, got me to enjoy going to church and wanting to be part of a church family there."

To this day, Clark is involved in marching bands and color guards around the area because "he lit the fire in me to want and do something like that."

"He means something different to every single person in the group because of what he has done for them in their lives; not just musically, but spiritually," Clark said.

Currently the group has 65 members registered for the event. To register, visit www.wilsonuniversity.myevent.com or e-mail the committee at wilsonunvi@gmail.com. The last day to register is Friday, Sept. 17.

The cost is $35, which will include a t-shirt, music and an assortment of other things.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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