#YQLNEIGHBOURS Don Robb

Don is the founding board member and past president of the Lethbridge Jazz Society. He maintains a busy schedule as a trumpet player with the Bridge Brass Quintet, the Lethbridge Big Band, Hippodrome, the Lethbridge Symphony, and many musical theatre productions. Don is also one-half of the jazz duo Standard Time, with Randy Epp. With a teaching career that spanned more than three decades, Don focused on junior and senior concert and jazz bands, directing the University of Lethbridge Jazz Ensemble and conducting the award-winning Lethbridge Community Gold Band.

 

How long have you been a musician?

I started taking piano lessons when I was about seven or eight years old. Back in the day, that’s what we did. There was no question you were going to take piano lessons. I took them for several years. It was never my favourite thing to do, but it was something. Then came the opportunity to start learning trumpet, so I stopped piano lessons. Through my high school years, I played in bands (we had a community band where I grew up in Regina). I went to University to get my Music Education degree and I’ve been involved in music all along.

 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Perfect happiness is a good cup of coffee in the morning and being able to play some great music during the day, having a nice meal and good family and friends around me.

Which living person do you most admire?

From a musical standpoint I very much admire Wynton Marsalis (an award-winning American trumpet player/jazz musician). I’ve never met him, but I’ve heard him play and he is a brilliant musician, writer and composer. His view of how important it is to stay connected with culture and how important it is to reach out and bring everybody in; it doesn’t matter about race, creed, or colour. He’s all about we’re all in this together. I very much admire him for that reason. Others I admire are my sisters because they have done amazing things.

Which talent would you most like to have?

In terms of a musical talent, they call it ear training. I wish I could hear better than I do, and that’s not that I can’t hear things, it’s hearing sounds and being able to identify exactly what they are. It’s kind of an esoteric skill. It’s a musical skill. In terms of general skills, I sort of wish I could make myself stay in better physical shape.

What is your motto?

I like to live by the idea that you treat others like you wish to be treated. I always find that kindness is a huge benefit to everybody. Sometimes it’s not the easiest thing in the world to be kind or to listen to somebody, but to be kind and listen to others is so important.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I was married for 38 years; that was certainly a big achievement. In my years as a teacher, I think I had a good influence on lots of different students. Not that very many of them went on to pursue music, but they realized the love of music and the fact that a person could be passionate about something and really enjoy it. I think that it was a way to bring people together and create community. School music programs are a community unto themselves and you get to know those students so very well, and their families too. I’d like to think I’ve had a positive impact on some students.

 
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