Passing of Don Daber

April 4, 2019

With much sadness we let you know that Don Daber passed away on Thursday, April 4, 2019. Don had a tremendous impact on drums corps and, certainly, on the Optimists and its members.

Don discovered Drum Corps and The Optimists in 1960. Over the years he served as corps photographer, publicity manager and corps director of the Optimists. He also began Green Capsule Comments, the newsletter for the Optimists. In addition to doing publicity for the Canadian and Ontario Drum Corps Associations, Don was also on the Board of Directors for these organizations. Don supplied photos and articles to various drum corps publications, designed promotional material, programmes and posters as well as designing the artwork used on record album covers for drum corps records. Needless to say, Don had a tremendous impact on both the Optimists and Drum Corps in general.


Don Daber was born in Kirkland Lake, ONT, on May 2, 1929. In 1949 he moved to Toronto to study at the Ontario College of Art (now the Ontario College of Art and Design). After graduating, he began a career in graphics and photography. He moved to Ottawa, ONT, for his first full-time job at Crawley Films where he worked as a graphic artist. In 1956, Don and a partner started their own company called Advertising Art Associates. One of their clients was The Boy Scouts Association of Canada. Don?s connection with the greater drum corps community began in July 1960 when he joined two members of the Optimists executive, Al Baggs and Clare Reid, at a meeting of what was then called the Canadian Trumpet Band Association. As a result of this meeting, he was given a contract to do the artwork and program book for the upcoming championship contest. During his years with the Optimists (Toronto Optimists and Seneca Optimists), Don was a photographer, the publicity director and the corps director (more than once). He was also the creator and editor of GCC, Green Capsule Comments with the Toronto Optimists and Gold Capsule Comments with the Seneca Optimists. Don?s cartoons were frequently included in editions of GCC and many were featured in the tabloid newspaper Drum Corps World between 1971 and 2000, all of which can be found in the pages of Steve Vickers? book, ?The Art of Drum Corps World.? In addition to his work with the Optimists, he found time to work with both the Ontario and Canadian Drum Corps Associations, serving as a photographer, publicity director and board member. In his spare time he wrote articles for various drum corps publications, produced the artwork for a number of record albums (almost three dozen for the Revere, MA-based Fleetwood label) as well as designing posters and doing the program artwork for a variety of contests. Don was highly regarded both in Canada and the United States. His dedication and contributions to youth, primarily in the Drum Corps World will be missed by all who knew him.

Funeral arrangements for Don