Don became the first principal percussionist for the Duluth Symphony Orchestra at age 19, while attending the University of Wisconsin in Superior, majoring in Music Education. Soon after earning his Bachelor of Music degree, Don was drafted into the US Army and served as a bandsman, lead percussionist, jazz drummer, vocalist and concert announcer with the 1st Infantry Division Band. He was awarded a meritorious citation.
He continued graduate studies in Music Education at SUNY Fredonia, NY and taught percussion privately at his home studio in Rochester. He played professionally in the Rochester area since 1975 as a drummer, percussionist, vocalist, flutist and band leader.
Don taught instrumental and vocal music in the Rochester City School District for over 25 years. He was a lead teacher and mentor for new music teachers in the RCSD and earned the JP Morgan Chase Foundation award for Classroom Innovation along with the prestigious Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation award for outstanding service to students and the music education profession.
After joining the New Horizons program in 2014, he reformed and directs what is now the New Horizons Jazz Ensemble, along with his newly formed Green Jazz Band.