Dr. Bruce McClung, An American Music Scholar

Dr. Bruce McClung, An American Music ScholarBruce Auld, a former Sierra Sands Unified School District Superintendent, is writing the history of Burroughs High School. The articles that are being published are excerpts from his upcoming book, exclusive to The News Review. Excepted From the University of North Carolina, Greensboro Website and numerous interviews with Dr. McClung:

“Provost Dunn has announced the new dean for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Dr. Bruce McClung. An American music scholar, Dr. McClung’s book Lady in the Dark: Biography of a Musical won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, the Kurt Weill Prize and the Music Library Association’s George Freedly Award, Special Jury Prize. The Society of American Music presented Dr. McClung with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. While at the University of Cincinnati, Dr. McClung received the Mrs. A. B. “Dolly” Cohen Award for Distinguished Excellence in Teaching and the Graduate School’s Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring Award and was elected to the Academy of Fellows for Teaching and Learning.”

Winnie Teeter of Ridgecrest was Bruce’s first organ teacher. At age 16, Bruce was awarded a scholarship from the China Lake All Faith Chapel to study with Ray Blume, the Chapel organist and Naval Weapons Center (NWC), China Lake scientist. During his senior year at Burroughs, Bruce studied organ at the University of Redlands.

The summer between his junior and senior years, took Bruce on a road trip to the University of Rhode Island and it did not involve playing the organ. A credit to his intellectual versatility, Bruce was selected to attend a summer program sponsored by the National Science Foundation in “controlled computer experimentation.” He learned FORTRAN. In his senior year at Burroughs, Bruce taught basic computer programming with math teacher Gary Thigpen. He also was a work study student with NWC mathematician, Dr. Bill Alltop, applying his FORTAN skills to radar tests at China Lake.

Bruce’s parents, Rod and Lorraine McClung, arrived at China Lake in January 1946, sharing a duplex wall with Howard and Barbara Auld. “Rod, a CalTech graduate in electrical engineering and China Lake pioneer, was fresh out the Army Air Corps at the end of World War II. Home prices in Los Angeles were the astronomical sum of $10,000 and I had very few pennies to my name. The position offered me here at China Lake appeared quite attractive since housing was available. An old duplex including furniture and utilities cost $31 a month.” (Rod McClung interview with China Lake historian, Liz Babcock) Rod’s career at China Lake is very well documented in Liz Babcock’s Magnificent Maverick’s and Cliff Lawson’s The Station Comes of Age. Bruce recalls his dad’s work on the Sidewinder Missile and rescuing the Philippines from drought with his contributions in support of Gromet II (cloud seeding). Rod also served on the SSUSD Board of Education in the 1970s.

Bruce’s mother, Lorraine, was just as busy as Rod, making major contributions to the China Lake way of life. “My fondest memory of Lorraine is from the days when she and I would meet at her house in connection with American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) 7th edition (1967) of the Indian Wells Valley Handbook. She was always very generous with her time, which was often punctuated by phone calls from people soliciting her advice on one or another of her many causes. When I knew her, she was pretty much running the community. She served on the boards of numerous organizations, including AAUW, WACOM, the League of Women Voters, the China Lake Park Commission and the Desert Community Orchestra Association. The Maturango Museum gifted her a life membership in 1979. Lorraine was also active with the Desert Art League and the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert, where Lorraine created the original logo. She was an avid painter of desert scenery.” (Liz Babcock)

Bruce’s sister, Barbara (BHS 1973), earned her law degree in 1987 from the University of Pennsylvania. She has served as general counsel for several California Bay Area biological science corporations.

After graduating from Burroughs (1979), Bruce first studied music for one year at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA. He earned a baccalaureate degree from the New England Conservatory and a Ph. D. in musicology from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. “Bruce is currently writing a history of music at the “Fair” titled The World of Tomorrow: Music and the New York World’s Fair, 1939/1940.” (The New York Public Library)

Dr. McClung has had a long and distinguished career as a church organist, starting in 1981 with the Trinity Episcopal Church in Canton, Massachusetts. The summer of 1983 took Bruce to Croydon, England to study with Christopher Herrick, then the organist of Westminster Abbey.

In 1996, Bruce became the organist at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, temporarily retiring with his move to Greensboro, North Carolina. A church organist for over forty years, Bruce is focusing on his dean duties for now. Bruce played alto saxophone for four years at Burroughs.

Bruce video recorded the Burroughs Alma Mater, recently re- arranged by Bruce Rockwell (BHS 1981), on organ for an upcoming article. A forever gift to many generations of Burros. Thank you Dr. McClung.

Editor’s Note

In former years Dr. McClung’s mother, Lorraine McClung, wrote a popular weekly column for The News Review.

Courtesy photo: Dr. Bruce McClung playing the Burroughs, Alma Mater on a pipe organ at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Story First Published: 2021-12-10