Don Happner is an alumnus of the Banff Centre for the Arts where he pursued advanced private studies in music interpretation and performance with a number of international artists including Robert Aitken (flute), Zara Nelsova (cello), Blanche Honnegar (conductor) and master classes with Marcel Moyse (flute), Gyorgy Sebok (piano), Janos Starker (cello), David Liebmann (sax) and Alirio Diaz (guitar.
An accomplished classical guitarist, Don has taught in colleges and universities and performed as a classical guitar soloist and in ensembles for over 25 years. He has recorded for CBC and worked as a session guitar player, recording in all musical styles. He has composed guitar background music for documentaries and collaborated on a number of projects with songwriters.
In addition to solo performances, Don Happner adjudicates music festivals, gives classical guitar master classes, teaches guitar privately and offers school and community guitar clinics. These are informal, interactive workshops with guitar players of all levels and styles who would like to improve their playing technique or learn new techniques. Since most technical problems are a result of unnecessary tension, good technique is about learning how to use the hands in an efficient and more natural way. Don also has an extensive knowledge of guitar construction and readily answers questions regarding a guitar's playability, repairs and value.
Don also collaborates with his spouse, singer/songwriter Dawn Schumilas. Together they perform original folk music and jazz standards at festivals and concerts.