He’s the guy who plays the guitar on his front porch; the one who passers-by wave and honk at; and the yellow house owner who calls his porch sessions “traffic jams” because sometimes people stop, roll down their car windows and listen for a while before giving him the thumbs up and moving on.
He’s Dave Clark, and he’s proudly been a resident of this picturesque Vermont village for 22 years. “Located on the corner of Quechee Main Street at the cemetery, pretty much everyone in town knows us,” said Dave of his wife, Helen, and him. “And I have to say – everyone here is so friendly!”
As a result, Dave said he feels more connected to the people of Quechee “than if I lived on a side road up the hill a way. Maybe that’s why I try hard to be a good citizen and get involved where I can be of help.”
It is not unusual, for example, to see Dave out and about raking leaves in town, fixing the rock wall along Main Street or becoming involved with the reclamation of the open space just downstream from the Quechee Gorge. “It’s a beautiful area, and we’ve put in a network of walking paths that connects to the larger trail system that runs down to the Strong House Spa,” Dave explained. “I have to give owners Sheila Armen and Shelly Yusko credit for helping to maintain those paths over the years. If you have been down there, it’s a very meditative environment that transports you to a different place.”
And the rock wall? “I really enjoy well-maintained spaces, and, since I walk along Main Street so often, I just feel like I should do what I can to make it look presentable,” said Dave. “It’s really a great feature for the town.”
Bob Fox, a good friend who lives around the corner and often accompanies Dave on walks with their dogs to philosophize and talk about the latest goings-on, said Dave is “just extraordinary.”
“He’s so selfless,” said Bob. “He’s so creative, so inspirational. He has such a love of people and a desire to see others do well and be happy. He’s always the optimist who is full of good cheer.”
Having moved to Quechee from Strafford, VT, in 1998, Dave’s two children were enrolled in the Waldorf School, and he wanted to be close to them. Dave has two daughters from a previous marriage: Cassady who is now married and lives in Utah, and Callus who resides in Barnard and is studying Chinese medicine and acupuncture online from The Five Elements Academy in Gainesville, FL.
Dave and Helen met in 1999 and the couple bought the well-known yellow house in 2000. He has been self-employed in advertising since 1988. He now works a couple of hours a day with his company, Clark Communications Group, along with clients and staff. Dave’s role is to cheerlead and, from time to time, develop new levels of services that are then made available to its lighting showroom clients. Currently, staff work with showrooms in 30 markets around the US and Canada.
“Being self-employed has given me a sense of achievement every day that I get to make my own decisions,” Dave noted. “Helen joined the company in 2002 and has been a huge help to me maintaining websites and taking care of administrative details like paying bills. She’s also become a good graphic designer.”
Dave’s company specializes in creating advertising campaigns for family-owned lighting showrooms around the U.S. and Canada where it retains the right to resell to clients in geographically exclusive areas. “There are only four employees, and we all work from home offices which has been very helpful during the Covid-19 crisis,” Dave said. “We have fantastic relationships with our clients, and we constantly strive to create forward-leaning programs using new technologies and advertising platforms that are helping local retailers compete.”
In addition to becoming involved with landscaping in and around the village, Dave has also helped the Hartford Chamber of Commerce for the past three or four years on the Quechee Balloon Festival, providing suggestions and managing contracts for musicians, dancers, and other entertainers.
And speaking of music… a musician he is. In 2005, Dave developed a website that promotes music, theater, art, and dance throughout the Upper Valley.
“It’s called www.yellowhousemedia.com and has put me in the center of the music scene in the Upper Valley,” he related. “I get a lot of gigs from venues like The Woodstock Inn, Marshland Farm, Twin Farms, Big Fatty’s BBQ, and others.”
Dave also tried his hand at putting on concerts at the Briggs Opera House. “It was fun to work with David Briggs and see what is involved in putting on a successful show,” he said. “There’s a lot of marketing, planning and advertising involved.”
Another aspect of music Dave is passionate about is a capella choral singing. He is currently a member of Wrensong, a ten-voice Renaissance group that has performed at the Quechee Library and various other venues around the Upper Valley. He has also been a member of the Handel Society and has fond memories of touring in the Baltics as well as Italy and singing at the Vatican for Sunday Mass.
“The Vatican is huge,” Dave said. “We sang in a variety of cathedrals in Europe and our main concern was ‘reverb’ or how many seconds it would take before our echo returned to us. We didn’t have that problem at the Vatican because the sound just kept going away from us, never to return. Also, the Vatican was a little scary to me because I kept thinking it was the perfect target for terrorists. There were security precautions in place but they tried to keep them out of sight.
The Vatican is also famous for its paintings and statues. Really, if you haven’t been to Rome in general, you should go. And while there, don’t miss the Vatican.”
Dave is a self-proclaimed singer-songwriter who has put out two CDs and is currently working on two more. He recorded his first CD, Imaginary World, in 2005. It was produced by Rich Meijer and features a broad range of genres including stadium-level rock arrangements, as well as ballads and full-string accompaniments.
“It took me a while to get back to recording,” said Dave. “And, as a result, I have a large backlog of material to process.”
His second CD, Shine!, was completed in February 2020 and features straightforward danceable rock ’n roll, upbeat acoustic rock, country, and ballads. He is currently hard at work on his third and fourth CDs that will feature an eclectic mix of blues, rock, jazz, and bluegrass musicians. He hopes to have the bulk of the 24 songs recorded by the end of November.
Dave’s CDs can be found at www.yellowhousemedia.com/product/music along with a few other of his favorite local artists including Wrensong in the overall music section.
Dave proudly displays his guitars on one of his walls in his house. He has seven iconic electric guitars including Gibson Les Paul, Fender Telecaster, Gibson 335, and an electric bass custom made for him by Jason Twigg-Smith, a well-known luthier from Barnard, VT. He also has six acoustic guitars and a stand-up bass that he plays frequently with a Country Roots Duo called Oxford & Clark. “I love my guitars,” Dave said. “They’re a bit like a harem that doesn’t get me into trouble.”
But Dave’s life is not exhausted by music, either. His 19-foot Cape Dory Typhoon sailboat named Bella that he keeps on Lake Champlain in Charlotte, VT, allows him and Helen to escape the small village of Quechee to which he is so devoted.
“There’s something about the tug of the wind on the sails and the open sky, the clean water and mountain backdrop that makes Lake Champlain super special,” he said.
This, of course, does not take away from Dave’s deep commitment to his hometown. “I feel lucky to call Quechee my home,” he said. “I’m always struck by its beauty whenever I’m driving along the river on Quechee Main Street. There are so many excellent services provided by businesses like Jake’s, Simon Pearce, Marshland Farm, and The Public House that it never seems inconvenient to be here. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, there’s an influx of second homeowners from Connecticut and Massachusetts and beyond. We’ve gotten to know and appreciate many Quecheeites. From Labor Day through May, the streets are quieter, and we go into hibernation mode, putting away outdoor furniture, giving the yard (and the wall) a final cut, and sitting by the fire pit with friends. I believe that the beauty of place has a huge influence on attitude, self-worth, and appreciation of others. Quechee is one of those places.”