March 21, 1942 ~ January 28, 2016
Clark Douglas Burris was born in Paterson, New Jersey. He grew up in Monroe, New York where he attended the Monroe-Woodbury Central School system.
On August 18, 1969, Mr. Burris moved to Coconut Grove, Florida, where he continued his education at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. He received his Masters Degree in Music Education in January of 1971. His principle instrument at this time was the classical guitar. And while at the University of Miami, Mr. Burris studied the guitar with Mr. Ron Maurno, Dr. Rene Gonzalez and Mr. Juan Mercadal.
In June of 1971, Mr. Burris was hired by Dr. Solomon Lichter to teach guitar at Miami Beach High School in Miami Beach, Florida. A guitar ensemble was formed, that year. The guitar ensemble met after school. These students were highly motivated and needed more than what was offered in class. In September of 1972, under Mr. Burris’ direction, the Rock Ensemble was established. Since then, the group has won many honors and has been featured in newspaper articles and television feature stories. They’ve traveled to many cities: Lakeland, Florida, Orlando, Florida, New Orleans, Louisiana, Atlanta, Georgia, New York, New York, Chicago, Illinois and Las Vegas, Nevada. In April of 1999, the group was invited to perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. They were awarded a plaque commending the ensemble for “Rockin’ the Planet Since 1972.”
Mr. Burris was inducted into the Miami Beach Senior High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame, November 10, 2000, in “Recognition of his Achievements and Contributions to Society.”
The Miami Beach High School Guitar Ensemble has established itself as one of the premier high school musical performing groups in the United States. In addition to their many “Superior” ratings and First Place trophies, in October of 2001, they were awarded a grant by the State of Florida, the city of Miami and city of Miami Beach that enabled them to travel to Japan. The ensemble performed concerts in many cities throughout Japan, and participated in the International Peace Summit in Kagoshima. The Guitar Ensemble performed with other groups from Perth, Australia, Milan, Italy, Changsha, China, and Kagoshima, Japan.
Mr. Burris retired from Miami Beach Sr. High in June 2012 after 41 years.
Mr. Burris passed away on January 28, 2016 at age 73. His Miami Herald Obituary: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/obituaries/article57245358.html