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Virgil Bork

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Virgil Wladyslaw Bork (14 June 1892, Poland – 26 December 1972) was an American composer and conductor.

Bork, his mother and two brothers escaped to America in 1902. They joined his father and older brother in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Although he started working with his father in the coal mines, his interest in music was insatiable. He studied music from an Italian music teacher who spoke no English. By 1913, de had formed a Bork band in Clarksburg. During his tenure as leader of the Greater Clarksburg Band from 1917 to 1927, he composed Greater Clarksburg March in 1919. He also directed the Mononagh Miners Band (after the worst mining disaster known hit the mine), which became known as the United Mine Workers Band. During that time he was on a first-name basis with John L. Lewis, organizer of the United Mine Workers Union.

Without any previous formal education, he received his high school diploma in 1935. He continued his education at Salem College where he directed the band. Following his work as a representative of the Holton Instrument Company, he was hired in 1930 as Director of Instrumental Music in Roselle, New Jersey. In 1933 he founded the Union County Band and Orchestra Summer School (UCBOSS), which grew quickly. By 1937 enrollment had increased to 628 student and 27 teachers. He founded the Eastern Conservatory of Music and Arts (ECMA) in 1944 for returning World War II veterans to develop they music skills for teaching and professional development. He continued to write music, including United Mine Workers March and Polish Rhapsody. As the founder/director of UCBOSS and ECMA, he met and became friends with many musical greats, including Walter Damrosch, Edwin Franko Goldman, Mayhew Lake, and Percy Aldridge Grainger.

In 1951, Bork suffered a heart attack, retired and moved to Delaware. Unable to be held down and indefatigable, he ran as a Democratic candidate for state representative, losing by a scant 63 votes. He also conducted the Wesley College Community Band in Dover, Delaware, and many community and school bands.

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