Clio Eldred was born in Ontario, Oregon, and raised in Bellingham, Washington. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Abilene Christian University, which he did before he became another polio victim, just at the time the vaccine was first released in the late 50’s.
In the iron lung, he was close to death. The ravages of the disease left him almost totally paralyzed: the doctors said he would never walk or sing again because of all the muscles that were destroyed. Clio was determined to prove those doctors wrong. With determination (his sister says the word is stubbornness), patience, dependence upon God and time, he overcame obstacles, one at a time.
Walking (braces and canes) and wheelchair, driving, singing, playing the guitar, teaching, riding a motorcycle and a bicycle, this man has impacted many lives.
Part of his résumé reads:
Master of Music Degree from the University of Oregon, completing most of the work toward a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Washington. He served as music director and associate minister at the Highland Church of Christ in Montgomery, Alabama, and taught music (choral director and private voice instructor) in Alabama Christian College in Montgomery, Alabama, and Columbia Christian College, Portland, Oregon.
While at Magic Valley Christian College, Albion, Idaho, Mr. Eldred was acting head of the music department, teaching music theory, music appreciation, church music, private voice, directing the chorus and vocal ensembles, and organizing and directing the choral tours. Later, he was choral director at Whatcom Middle School, Bellingham, Washington, also teaching general music classes there, and taught private voice at Western Washington State University. At North Seattle Community College, Seattle, Washington, he taught private voice, music theory, and sight singing. In August of 1969, Mr. Eldred was awarded a scholarship to attend and sing in Boris Goldofski’s opera workshop in Wheeling, West Virginia. He has attended the choral workshops of several outstanding men, including that of Dr. Lera Hoggard as well as some Fred Warring workshops. He has sung the bass-baritone solos in many productions of the oratorio of Elijah and Messiah.
Mr. Eldred has also been the choral director of many teen-age camps, sung the bass solos in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at a special workshop on teaching music theory at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York; was a guest soloist with the Boise Symphony Orchestra (Boise, Idaho) and the Portland Symphonic Choir (Portland, Oregon). Mr. Eldred has been scheduled for concerts in colleges, universities, community centers and many state prisons (performing a wide variety of musical selections).
A man with a message, Clio likes the outdoors and the old west (as indicated by his photography). He likes the imagery of the mountain man and Indian tradition with concepts of honesty, openness to truth, and closeness to nature. Mr. Eldred believes that a man (and a woman) should take a strong stand for things that are positive, good and truthful. “We had all better make a strong stand for God and our country, or our ideals are going to be whittled away to nothing! Be committed!”
For five years, Mr. Eldred was Institutional Music Director at Washington Corrections Center at Shelton, Washington. Teaching voice lessons, music theory, and directing the choir, Mr. Eldred kept very busy. He also presented concerts with the choir and with his own singing presentations. At the present time, he is teaching guitar lessons and presenting musical concerts four times a year featuring various groups, at Monroe Corrections Center, Minimum Security Unit in Monroe, Washington, He’s worked in State and/or Federal prisons in: Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Texas, California, Oregon and Washington, teaching Bible, and bringing musical concerts to the inmates.
“ ‘I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:36)
This has been my inspiration since 1978 when I started “going to prison”. However, God’s calling is not always easy. I contracted polio when I was 25. Here lies the unique aspect of my ministry: As I am confined to a “prison” of polio and spend much of my time in a wheel chair, I am able to relate in a unique way to those in a prison of concrete and steel.”
Clio is now 79, living far past what the doctors predicted. In fact, he’s spent most of his life going beyond the physical limits placed upon him by polio as a young man, 55 years ago.
Those of us who know him thank God for his life!
Voni Eldred Pottle