I’ve told so many students and colleagues about my friends and mentors for these 40 years as a musician in Vancouver that it is time to put it on record. It all began with Bob MacDonald who was somewhere between a father and brother to me once he started working on my instruments in 1983. I wasn’t his only brother or son…he touched every musician in the lower mainland and many from around the world with his playing, expertise, humour and dedication to music and instrumental excellence.
He said he was not a teacher, but he was a brilliant teacher by example and I can play the opening to Rhapsody of Blue because he demonstrated it to me. When I asked him how to do ANYTHING, he would say “I don’t know,” and then he would just do it…so I learned by imitation. There was never a better friend and supporter to musicians than Bob MacDonald.
Bob introduced me to so many colleagues and mentors, but the first two were Mary and Morrie Backun, as Bob informed me there was an opening for a bass clarinetist in the ensemble they founded. That introduction became the centre of everything I have ever learned about music and musicianship. University studies were kindergarten compared to the musical education that began at the Handsworth Senior Secondary School rehearsal space for the Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble in September 1986.
Thank you, Bob. I miss you. We all do.