Clarence Smith is coordinator of music at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley, where he teaches jazz history, music appreciation, and percussion. He also teaches on the college's Longview and Blue River campuses, and directs jazz ensembles at both Penn Valley and Blue River. In addition, he is the associate director of Kansas City Youth Jazz, a non-profit organization offering jazz education and performance to students in grades six through twelve.
From 1993-2003, Smith was director of the jazz program at the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts High School in the Kansas City, Mo. School District. During that time, he directed a nationally acclaimed jazz ensemble that performed in state and national festivals including performances at the Kennedy Center and The Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and at the Music Educator's National Conference.
Smith is the director of the annual two-day MCC-Penn Valley-18th and Vine Jazz Festival, and is in demand as a jazz/percussion clinician and adjudicator. In 2000, Downbeat Magazine named Smith "Jazz Educator of the Year." He is the past chairman of multi-cultural music for the Missouri Music Educators Association, and currently serves on the board of the Mid-America Arts Alliance.
As a professional drummer/percussionist, Smith has appeared with many artists including Mike Vax, Bill Watrous, Rich Matteson, Ahmad Aladeen, Carmel Jones, Queen Bey, and Will Matthews. He currently performs regularly with The Uptown Players and The Clarence Smith Trio.
Smith earned an undergraduate degree in music education from Central Methodist University, Fayette, Mo., and has a Master of Education degree, specializing in creative arts in learning, from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. (Kansas City Campus). He has also studied jazz extensively at Central Missouri State University and in 2003 he was selected as a Music Fellow at Northwestern University's School of Music in Evanston, Ill.