MusicFest Fanfare prides itself in working with first-class musicians, professors, and composers to provide adjudication and workshops for each performing group.
Don Bennett has been a music educator for over 30 years, mostly at the secondary school level, but currently with elementary students. His schools’ concert bands, jazz bands and choirs have performed in provincial and national music festivals, receiving excellent reviews. Students of his have been regularly selected for Provincial and National Honour Bands and Choirs, and several have been chosen to participate in the American High School Honours Performance Series ensembles, performing in Carnegie Hall. Many former students have pursued careers as professional musicians and/or music teachers, but Don is most gratified when he hears of many more who have continued to be involved in musical activities for leisure and recreation.
Throughout his teaching career, Don has held memberships in numerous professional music education organizations and has served on the executive of the BCMEA and the Pacific Coast Music Festivals Association. He has presented workshops for teachers on brass pedagogy, music education and brain development, instrumental music teaching, assessment and conducting. Don recently completed a 4-year term as the Fine Arts Coordinator for the Kamloops Thompson School District, and is currently enjoying an itinerant elementary music teaching position in the Cariboo Chilcotin school district.
Completing a B.Mus degree as a trombonist at the University of British Columbia, and a M.Ed degree at the University of Victoria with a major in instrumental conducting, Don has also been active as a performer, conductor and adjudicator. He has played with orchestras throughout the province, from Vancouver to Prince George, and has performed regularly with brass and jazz ensembles. Principal trombonist of the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra for 26 years, he stepped down in 2014 to pursue other opportunities. He has directed the Thompson Valley Orchestra, the Kamloops Brandenburg Orchestra and the Kamloops Community Concert Band.
Mr. Hamlin recently retired as department head of Collingwood Collegiate for 29 years, one of the largest and most diverse music programs in the province of Ontario. In 2015, Mr. Hamlin received the Keith Mann Outstanding Band Director Award from the MusicFest Canada National governing body, in addition to the Order of Collingwood, and Collingwood Arts and Culture award. Mr. Hamlin now adjudicates at Festivals across the country, including the MusicFest Canada National Festival. Mr. Hamlin is also a regular speaker at Music Conferences and Universities across Canada. Mr. Hamlin is also Yamaha Music Canada’s first “Educator in Residence”, giving front-line help to teachers, their classes, and their bands across the country.