Several Western Colorado musicians secretly "dropped in" on a famous composer to wish him a "Happy Birthday." With social distancing restrictions in place, an impromptu performance seemed to be in order.

Yesterday, May 14, renowned composer/arranger/musician Clark Gault celebrated his 80th birthday. Chances are you've heard Clark's music your entire life and didn't even know it. He's performed with a number of prestigious bands over the course of a career, and has composed and/or arranged several tunes you're probably very familiar with.

Clark has composed music for several prominent clients including Cadillac, Coca-Cola, NBC, three Super Bowls, two World Series, and one Olympics. Earlier in his career, Gault performed with the Norad Band, playing concerts at Carnegie Hall, and with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Clark and his family moved to the area a few years ago. Shortly after arriving, he established the "Swing City Express," a 15, sometimes 16-piece Big Band. You've seen them perform all over Western Colorado, most recently at Warehouse 25-sixty five Kitchen + Bar. Earlier in 2020, Clark released his new album with the Swing City Express, "Jazz for Contemplation."

When the social distancing restrictions went into place a few months ago, Deborah Kyle and Swing City Express saxophonist Frank Bregar reached out to other Western Colorado musicians with the idea of doing a "drive-by" for Clark's birthday. Secret emails between area musicians included addresses, times, and instructions as to how this would be executed.

Clark Gault's 80th Birthday Surprise

Apologies are owed to the residents of Main Street in Clifton. At roughly 7:30 last night a number of vehicles converged on the street, followed by musicians jumping out of their cars and brandishing instruments. After a short rendition of "Happy Birthday", the perpetrators returned to their vehicles, and life in the neighborhood returned to normal. Check out the video below.

After the event, Clark released a statement on the Swing City Express Facebook page:

Tonight, I was relaxing watching TV recovering from eating too much barbeque ribs when I heard such a clatter that I had to go outside to see what was the matter. There was a gang of dangerous looking critters in front of my house that began to play 'Happy Birthday' to me. Most of Swing City Express had invaded the neighborhood. I want them to know that they're all fired. - Clark Gault

He then augmented that statement by saying, "THANK YOU ALL FOR MAKING MY 80TH THE BEST OF ALL!"

Happy birthday, Clark. Thank you for 80 years of outstanding music, authentic Big Band, and countless awesome arrangements. We look forward to the time when things settle down and we can all get together again to play your amazing music.

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