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 in 1971 and served as a bandsman, jazz band leader, lead percussionist and concert announcer with the 1st Infantry Division Band.
After he earned a meritorious citation and honorable discharge, Don continued graduate studies in Music Education at SUNY Fredonia, when he earned his Permanent Teaching Certificate from New York State. He taught percussion privately and was a percussion specialist in the Brighton Central School District. Since 1975, Don worked professionally in the Rochester area as a drummer, percussionist, vocalist and band leader.
In 1988, Don joined the Rochester City School District as a music teacher/band director and retired in 2010. He was a lead teacher and mentor for new music teachers in the RCSD and has worked with students from grades 4 to 12, on all band instruments.
He has received awards and grants; two of which stand out are the JP Morgan Chase Foundation award for classroom innovation and the prestigious Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation award for outstanding service to students and the music education profession.
Don joined the New Horizons program as a co-band director for Green Band in 2014 and began directing Vintage Jazz Band in 2016. In 2019, he reformed Vintage Jazz Band into the New Horizons Jazz Ensemble to reflect the eclectic styles of performed music.
Aside from his joy for music, Don is interested in physical exercise, cooking, gardening and travel.