Around 1980, I was commissioned to create the score for a short film. I needed a versatile wind player, and an affordable studio. But I hadn’t been in Nova Scotia long yet, and didn’t know many wind players, or studios.
Several musician friends suggested I contact Don. And it turned out that Don, Glenn Meisner, and Skip Beckwith were also running a small studio in a cottage on St. Margaret’s Bay.
The session there went very well - but what I especially remember was Don’s remarkable attitude to a newcomer. Instead of being irritated by my amateurish notation, he not only played everything perfectly, he also very patiently showed me how I could have made it easier to sight read.
Over the next few years, we worked on several other media projects together, and he brought the same remarkable combination of musicianship, mentorship, and friendship to all of them.
In 1990, we were both founding members of Upstream. Over the next decade, I wrote many pieces that featured Don’s versatile musicianship. And in response, he cheerfully hauled out flutes, saxes, clarinet - and even a recorder. And, of course, he played them all beautifully.
For so many of us, Don was an incredibly supportive colleague, a wise mentor, and a reliable friend. He will truly be missed.