“I started lugging a horn to and from school at age 10, in Oakville, Ontario. Suffered through high school as a band geek and left in a huff for Montreal at age 18. Had a terrific education at McGill University, both inside and outside of school. Managed to get to Carnegie Hall with the McGill Symphony in 1989, so I thought I could stop practicing after that. Joined the part-time military as a musician because I wanted to be paid for lugging my horn to and from the parade square. Finished my five years at McGill and moved to St John’s, Newfoundland (rhymes with “understand”) where I was Corno Primo, Personnel Manager, and Stage Manager for three seasons. Lugged my horn to Vancouver to try my fortunes on the Wet Coast, and had one lesson with Marty Hackleman, who changed my embouchure and my career. I had to leave Vancouver, so I lugged my horn back to Ontario to work with the Canadian Forces full-time, and then back to McGill to study Sound Recording and Audio Engineering for a year. After that, I wanted to return to the Left Coast, but didn’t want to lug my horn there. No more lugging! I decided to quit horn (except on parade) and move to Victoria. When I got there, I sent my CV to the personnel manager of the VS out of habit. I got a call the next summer, and as it turned out, there was a vacancy in the horn section, and I seemed to fit right in. I auditioned (twice) and got the gig. So much for quitting horn; 2015-16 is my 16th season of lugging my horn around for the orchestra, and there’s no sign of quitting now.”
Principal teachers include John Vanderspek, Harcus Hennigar, James MacDonald, Jean Gaudreault and John Milner.
Hometown: Born in Baltimore, Maryland; Victoria is now home
First season with the VS: 2000/01
Most memorable VS experience: I have to say that the most vivid memories I have are of those times when the VS performed with Pacific Opera Victoria. I remember a production that called for a dozen cardboard-cutout remote-controlled pigs to roam around the stage. Some of the remote-control operators were having too much fun in the wings, and they sent their charges to attack the legs of one of the principals as he was singing. Another POV memory is that of the most amazing scene change I have ever seen. About 75 lawn darts, with flowers at their back ends, were released from the rafters and they dropped straight down, impaling the stage floor. Instant garden scene! I feel the partnership between the VS and POV is invaluable to both organizations and, as an orchestral musician, we are very fortunate and honoured to be involved in POV’s productions. I didn’t really get into opera until I started working with POV!
Hobbies and interests: sailing, raising two kids, not much time for anything else.
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