Biography 1931-1954

Bruce Haack from 1931-1954

Bruce Clinton Haack was born May 4, 1931 in Nordegg or Saunders Creek in the Province of Alberta, Canada.

The area is on the eastern slopes of the Canadian rockies just west of Rocky Mountain house where Bruce’s family later moved to. Bruce’s father Clark Russell Haack (born in Montevideo, Minnesota)was an accountant for the Brazeau Collieries, and his mother whose maiden name was Bertha Ann Bell (from Novra, Mannitoba) was a schoolteacher.

According to Bruce his life as a young child was isolated and somewhat lonely. There were no easily travelled roads into our out of the mining town and the main event was a train that came into the town once a week to pickup coal.One early recollection that Bruce shared is of a light that is always glowing in front of a mining supply store. Small picture of the house where Bruce was born at bottom of album cover. Note: File size is 200 KB.

He also said we in New York City didn’t know the meaning of the word SNOW!

Bruce was very proud of his Canadian roots and of his parents. After arriving in New York City in 1954 he only returned to the Rocky Mountain House area for visits.

Bruce showed musical abilities at a very early age at the familiy piano apparenly picking out melodies at the piano at age 3 or 4.

By age 12 he was giving piano lessons and later organized country & western bands. Later he used “country” music harmonic and rhythmic patterns in many of his records for children (which were really for adults also).

Bruce applied to the University of Alberta in Edmonton to study music he was rejected because he couldn’t notate, or write down, music well enough.
Instead of music he studied and received his degree in psychology at Edmonton. During his University days in Edmonton he wrote and taped music for theatre productions, had a band and also a weekly radio show. Bruce met Charles Laughton who introduced the idea of going to New York City.

After graduation from Edmonton he received a Canadian government scholarship to attend the Julliard School in New York City to study composition with Vincent Persichetti. A tape was sent of a composition of Bruces to Juilliard that somehow led to the scholarship. What composition that was submitted is not known.

In 1954 Bruce arrived in New York City in as he put it, “with a chicken sandwhich and 60 dollars”. The change from Alberta and Edmonton to New York City must have been radical to say the least.

He dropped out of Julliard’s composition program in 8 months. But his musical efforts were to continue full force after Julliard.