What a beautifully moving tribute today to a beautiful human being in so many ways. I of course was lucky to grow up in Halifax as a young musician and although I didn’t have a lot of formal lessons with Don, he definitely influenced me as a young musician. Lots of ways. Of course anytime he was playing in Halifax , especially at Pepe’s I would make my way to hear him. He is part of the reason why I decided to explore jazz ( I was mostly a classical player in my teens) Anyway Don was instrumental ( sorry no pun intended) in me getting my first union gig in an orchestral situation. It was the summer of 1979 , I had just graduated from high school. Branco Mitzerit had created The Halifax International Festival orchestra. It was supposed to be a training orchestra. It had been advertised in The AF of M newspaper, people had signed up from all over the world, let’s just say it was not fully thought out. Anyway by hook or by crook Donny ended up playing the flute chair. I bumped into him on Spring Garden and he said “Ruth , you gotta take over this gig, it’s just not my bag “ So I got to play and learn a whole lot of orchestral and Operatic repertoire , and get paid for it and become a member of the musician’s union at 18! Another fond memory I have , among others , is that in my second year at Dal , I was going part time and working as a waitress as I did’t have the dough to pay tuition. After I played my jury, Don made a special effort to find me and tell me how fantastic he thought my performance was, and how it had touched his heart. No one else on the jury did that, that is Don. So much love in my heart for this man.
top of page
bottom of page