Don expressed an aptitude for music from an early age. Before his feet could touch the pedals, he was already playing the piano. Throughout elementary school, Don was often selected to play piano in school concerts, plays, and musicals. In middle school, Don took his father’s lead and began playing trombone in the school band.
With high school came a variety of opportunities, many of which included sports and music-related activities. Musical opportunities which intrigued Don included Concert Bands, Orchestras, Jazz Bands, small vocal, and instrumental ensembles. These groups would often perform at school concerts, music competitions, band trips, recording sessions, and school cabarets.
Don’s first teaching opportunity came very close to home, in Kenora, Ontario, where he completed an LTO contract for a full-year music position. Many local concerts and competitions in Winnipeg, as well as a variety of coaching opportunities, augmented his enthusiasm and willingness to motivate young students. Don’s second teaching opportunity came the following year just two hours down the road in Dryden Ontario, where he filled a very similar position with mostly the same opportunities. In addition, Don directed the pit orchestra and vocalists involved in his first-ever musical.
Don has worked as a Music Teacher in York Region, where he has since educated young musicians at the high school level. Don has directed guitar ensembles, concert bands, jazz bands, vocal jazz ensembles, choirs, and run keyboard classes. During his time in York Region, Don directed ensembles who competed in local and international festivals, bringing back awards of excellence.
Don has played professionally in a number of bands. Growing up, Don had opportunities to play in lounges as well as other venues.
Throughout his time at University, Don was constantly playing in bands while collaborating with other musicians. Upon arriving in Kenora to begin his first teaching gig, Don was welcomed into the community very quickly. He formed a band called “Big Daddy and the Company” which performed professionally around town. The next year, Don brought some of his band members to Dryden where he was fortunate to land a weekly gig at the Falling Dog Blues Bar.
During the summers of 2001-2002, Don was very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Japan and China where he was commissioned to compose music for individual Rhythmic Gymnastics routines.
Once Don made the transition to the Greater Toronto Area, he began to play gigs across the GTA, including The Black Swan and the Ashbridges Bay Blues Festival. Over the last five years, Don has really become passionate about music composition. In fact, some of his former students have kept in contact with him on a professional level and recorded with him on a variety of his compositions.
After graduating from high school Don attended The University of Western Ontario where he graduated with an Honour’s Bachelor of Musical Arts degree. It was at Western where Don really began to take advantage of opportunities in musical composition and became more involved in self-directed small performance ensembles. Don was also presented with an opportunity to compose music for local figure skaters.
Don transitioned from an exciting four years at Western to a very rewarding year in Windsor where he completed his Bachelor of Education. During his time in Windsor, Don had many opportunities to work with and direct high school Performing Arts students in a variety of shows.
It was during Don’s time at The University of Windsor when he became more active as a composer. Don made frequent trips across the border to dance clubs where his music was played.