Don Wade. A brief biography.
Don’s earliest musical influences were radio broadcasts during WW II, the many fine radio orchestras, the Saturday afternoon opera broadcasts from The Met, but especially the big band remotes. He came out of that era with a love of the great jazz tunes the dance bands were playing…known today as “jazz standards”.
During his college years (early ‘60s) and already veteran of many dance bands, Don formed a four-piece group (playing alto and tenor sax and valve trombone plus piano, bass and drums) to finance his studies. Over
its seven-year run the band, The Gaslighters, successfully put nine people through college and taught Don how to present the best in music and entertainment.
While teaching high school music and theatre in South and North Dakota, California, Oregon and British Columbia, and thanks to his sense of humour, story-telling skills
and comedic timing, he frequently found himself on stage as Master of Ceremonies at a variety of gatherings.
Don continued his love of playing the saxophone throughout his teaching years, and
did a 2-year stint with the 1950s rock’n’roll quartet,The Diamonds. He currently plays soprano, alto and tenor saxes with Sax Among Friends; Tenor sax with the Sentimental Journey big band; Soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes with Opera Appassionata; and soprano sax with The Oakridge Dixielanders. For many years Don co-directed and arranged for the Deer Lake United Church Choir and KidZ Jazz Band.