Chenango Stories: Don Burke

Early childhood exposure to the art of music was the beginning of one local band director’s life journey.

“My mother was a singer and my father played the banjo,” said Don Burke, a 26-year veteran of Norwich high school’s music department. Burke says he can remember attending Sherburne’s Pageant of the Bands at a young age and right from the start, he knew he had a passion for music. “I was holding onto my father’s hand seeing the ‘big kids’ play and I knew I wanted to be just like them,” said Burke. In 1965, Burke finally got his chance to perform at the pageant.

Burke followed his passion onto college where he says he took extensive studies in music of all mediums. “ Everything I did contributed to my chosen path,” he said.

Following his years at Duquesne College in Pittsburgh, Burke started his career at Mt. Upton Central School in 1974. A year later, Burke attended the Pageant of the Bands once again, but this time he was attending as band director, not a performer.

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