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Don Bastarache - Biography
Don Bastarache

B: 1937 - Gardner, MA
Instrument: Trumpet

Born in Gardner, MA. 1937. Started trumpet age 13. No jazz band at high school but played with dance combos in clubs in Northern MA. Experimented with improvisation by imitating recordings. Attended Berklee one year. Studied classical trumpet and also began private jazz lessons with Herb Pomeroy. Army band 1956-58 Japan. Boston University 1958-1961 BM continued to study teaching methods with Herb Pomeroy. No formal Boston University jazz program so started his own student jazz groups. 1961-1964 MM New England Conservatory of Music in Classical Trumpet and continued to play jazz. In 1964 hired by the Department of Defense for 3 years from 1964-1967 to teach in Japan at an Army Base (Camp Zama); taught music in the elementary, middle and high school programs which included general music classes and jazz bands and choral. His jazz bands and chorus performed at other Army, Naval and Air Force Bases in the area. Taught the Army students of the military personnel the following classes: jazz band, improvisation, concert band and a vocal ensemble for the army. Attended festivals. 1967 hired at Westfield State College and started the Jazz Studies program. Taught at Westfield until 2002 as Director of Jazz Studies. Chair of the Music Department twice, from 1976-1982 and from 1994-2002. By the mid 1970’s Westfield College jazz band played all over the New England: one of the first accredited jazz bands in New England and offered courses Jazz Theory, Jazz History, Improvisation 1, 2, 3, and Arranging. Introduced Jazz Major in 1975. Earned his doctorate at UMass-Amherst in 1972. Joined IAJE in 1975. In 1979 started Don Bastarache Big Band played throughout New England. Tim Atherton played trombone in band for 5-6 years, taught at University of Massachusetts and Westfield State. Tom Tisdale played in the band from its beginning. Bastarache held positions in IAJE MA Chapter in the 1980s of Secretary, Festival Coordinator, President, and Chief Judge for all festivals in the state. In 1987 was made Coordinator of Northern District by national IAJE. In 1990 became Coordinator of United States. Helped establish five all-state jazz band programs and festivals. Held this position until 1999.