DONALD D. SHRIMPTON (1938-2020)
The late Donald D. Shrimpton founded the Lewiston Choraleers, a community chorus, in February 2007, directing an Easter cantata in three area churches. Besides the cantata, the Choraleers have presented a spring program and a Christmas program yearly since then. The group also performed at the Lewiston Arts Festival, Peach Festival and Harvest Festival. In 2010, several members of the group traveled to Ireland to perform three concerts under the direction of composer, Joseph Martin. In the fall of 2011, the group sang at Walt Disney World in Florida for the Disney Magic Music Days, with Shrimpton directing.
Shrimpton's education and experience in music education and directing were extensive. He held a bachelor of fine arts degree in music education from the University of Buffalo and had more than 80 graduate credit hours in conducting, piano accompaniment and composition. He was a graduate of the U.S. Navy School of Music and taught piano for many years. His choral background includes work with Fred Waring, Don Besig, Robert Wagner, and Brock McLeheran. He also directed Amahl and the Night Visitors for the New England Opera Associates in Boston, Mass., in 1977. His theatrical background includes shows with Howard Keel (Carousel), Steve Lawrence (Pal Joey), Kathryn Grayson (Showboat), Ann Blyth (King and I), Jayne Mansfield (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), Buster Keaton (Once Upon a Mattress), and John Kander (Chicago). He studied piano with Livingston Gearhart, Ned Rorem and Carlo Pinto, among others. In the late 1950s, he traveled extensively in the New England states doing equity musicals as part of a twin piano team with Stan Keene.
In the local Western New York region, he was musical director for shows at Artpark, Niagara Falls Little Theater, Niagara County Community College (NCCC), Buffalo Seminary, Melody Fair, Quad Productions, and was the first musical director at Niagara University (NU), directing The Fantasticks (1966) and Mame (1969) with Brother Augustine Towey, C.M. He also was the director of the NU Glee Club for several years. In January 2003, he returned to NU to become the musical director for its theater program, where he founded the NU Show Choir/Theatre Chorale. In April 2010, he was musical director for Anything Goes at the opening of NU's new theater. He also was the musical director for the first NU Alumni production of The World Goes 'Round by Kander and Ebb. In addition, he was musical director for the Niagara Fine Arts Program and is past director of the Retired Men's Service Club Chorus. He was the conductor and founder of the Rainbow City Philharmonic. In 2007, he adjudicated the Mini Academic Olympics for the Niagara Alliance of Black School Educators. He also has adjudicated piano and choral groups for the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA). He was the Minister of Music at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Niagara Falls, N.Y. for 20 years and retired in 2019.
He had been accompanist for the Niagara County Music Educators Association Jazz Choir Festival and accompanied various school concerts and recitals. For more than 30 years, he served as accompanist for Shawnee Press Musical Workshops and Festivals. He was a retired middle school vocal music teacher from the Lewiston-Porter School District and former secretary/business agent for the local Musicians' Union. He was a teacher of the year in 1997 and his biography was published in the Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 2002 edition. He was chosen again to be included in the 2005 edition. He was a member of NYSSMA, New York State Teachers Association, Music Educators National Conference, American Guild of Organists, and the Musicians' Union. In the fall of 2013, he toured with composer Joseph Martin and Harmony International to Washington, D.C., where he accompanied the 200-plus American Tapestry Choir at a concert held in Constitution Hall. In his spare time, he taught piano and also served as musical accompanist for voice classes at Niagara County Community College. In July 2014, he again accompanied the American Tapestry Choir on its tour through Ireland. The choir, directed by Joseph Martin, performed at various locations, including Kylemore Abbey in Galway, St. Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork and St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.