Charlevoix’s Tim Clagett to get chance of a lifetime conducting Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra


A man whose music dreams were deferred by Wold War II and family obligations is being given the chance of a lifetime.

Tim Clagett of Charlevoix will conduct the second movement of Bach’s Orchestral Suite number 3 at 4 p.m. on Sunday Sept. 14 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Charlevoix.

Admission is free.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Clagett moved to Michigan where he attended school in Saginaw and later college at the University of Michigan.

As a little boy he remembers his mother playing piano for him as he went off to sleep at night.

He learned to love music and took piano lessons, and he listened to the great composers, often arguing with friends about who was the greatest—his favorite being Tchaikovsky.

Following high school, Clagett planned to attend the University of Michigan, but as he said, “The war interfered.”

He joined the U. S. Navy and became a pilot of Hellcat fighter squadron number 97.

The pilots at that time trained on converted passenger ships on Lake Michigan. These passenger ships were converted to carriers in just two months time, and then sent to Lake Michigan where they were safe from enemy attack.

The ships were called the USS Wolverine and the USS Sable.

Clagett was a pilot on the Sable along with President George H. W. Bush.

Back from war, Clagett resumed his education at the University of Michigan, studying mechanical engineering.

By this time he was married with small children.

There was little or no time for studying music in engineering school.

After receiving his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, he and his family moved back to Saginaw where he worked for Wickes Machine Tool Division, and later was a major owner of Brettrager manufacturing.

After retiring, Clagett and his wife Barb moved to Charlevoix in 1998 and soon found the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra.

They have been enthusiastic supporters ever since.

Clagett said music, especially symphonic music, has always been with him.

When asked why he wanted to conduct the Great Lakes Chamber Ensemble, he said, “Well, I always thought I would like to direct one.”

His chance to direct came last summer at the Crescendo Fundraiser for the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra.

During the live auction the Orchestra offered a chance to conduct the group to the highest bidder.

Clagett made the first bid and continued bidding until he was the only one left standing.

Clagett has been studying and rehearsing the music with help from his wife and Dr. Robert Pattengale.

The performance is part of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra Sunday Series, which provides the community the opportunity to experience an intimate musical event.

Chamber music has a long history of musicians gathering to play and sing for one another and a group of good friends.

In addition, these recitals encourage local talent, and particularly young talent, to participate as a performer or as part of the audience.

The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra produces live orchestral performances that provide entertainment, education and inspiration for Northern Michigan.

For more information about the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, go to or call (231) 487-0010.