Walnut, California, February 21, 2002—The City of Walnut issued a special mayoral proclamation to Elmer Bernstein for his continuing work with young musicians. He received the citation at the winter music program held annually every February at Walnut High School.
This year marks the fourth year Mr. Bernstein conducted the music students from Walnut High School, which has a special magnet school music program under the direction of Buddy Clements. Dr. Clements had been Mr. Bernstein’s composition student at USC’s Thorton School of Music in the mid 1980s and had asked the maestro at that time if he would consider conducting a high school orchestra once his students were ready. Ten years later, Bernstein made his first guest appearance as conductor for Clements’ student orchestra.
The program varies each year. The 2002 movie themes focused on Bernstein’s seminal jazz scores from “The Man with the Golden Arm,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” (both nominated for an Academy® Award) and “Rat Race” (1960). Also included were the perennial favorites “Hollywood and the Stars” and “The Magnificent Seven.”
The students surprised the maestro with a special birthday cake in honor of his 80th birthday. “I’m even an honorary student and have received a special Walnut High School letterman’s jacket,” stated Bernstein.