Ed Zelenka, Hungarian Flutist: He taught me things about music theory that I’ll never forget

Appreciation of music takes many forms and likewise mastery of music is manifested in many forms. Some musicians prefer the symphony concert stage and some the dance band or cabaret. For the most part, LeBlanc falls into the latter category.

Donjames was always keenly interested in music. Donald James LeBlanc (Donjames), guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, teacher was born March 7, Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada of Acadian French and Irish Lineage. His formative years were on his parents’ farm.

For the lesser part of one year, he started school…grade 1 in town at Central School in Estevan, Saskatchewan; thereafter he attended school in a country school house called Brown School

for about the first 7 years he went there walking across the farm field to school or rode his favourite horse called “Silver”. On the farm, at the age of 8 he began serious study of the classical violin. This mean’t trips into town. Sometimes he used to play a little mouth organ with his mother, Evelyn LeBlanc, on Piano for accompaniment. Eventually the family moved to town to begin a retail business in frozen foods. Thereafter, Donald was one of the first grade 8 graduates from Immaculate Heart Catholic School as part of the newly-formed Roman Catholic School System in Estevan, Saskatchewan. Subsequently, he attended Collegiate, Commerce School and Universities in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario and France. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, a Bachelor of Education with distinction in Business Systems, as well as courses towards a Master’s Degree in French for teaching at the elementary and high-school level. Donald is bilingual in French and English, the two official languages of Canada,.

Donjames is a self-taught musician…he taught himself how to read music. He has done extensive freelance work as a musician in many different bands and orchestras which gave him experience playing various musical styles. Donjames LeBlanc has toured extensively in North America and has made many appearances on Canadian Television.

The electric guitar, the tenor banjo and the electric bass guitar had absorbed Donjames’ musical interest at an early age. But it was through the mastery of the guitar and the tenor banjo (of the Eddie Peabody banjo fame) that Donjames gained a spot as a member of a 5-piece western-swing orchestra. In this band, Donjames played banjo and lead guitar. This group had been “in vogue” in Estevan, Saskatchewan (hometown) and continued to be popular after Donald moved on to perform across North America from coast to coast!

As a boy, a guitar was always within easy reach; it seemed to contain a magical world. Every spare moment to be found was spent exploring developing and perfecting his own unique style..

Donald James LeBlanc’s creativity in music, his versatile and unique guitar style and/or technique and his distinctive vocalization of lyrics, ultimately attracted the attention of some prominent names in the Toronto show-business scene of that time. Subsequently, he played for many thousands on the night club and concert circuit, on record and on national Canadian Television as lead guitarist and singer. Donjames well remembers performing for the opening of the new half-moon shape Toronto City Hall where there were close to 100,000 people in attendance for this grand spectacular outdoor show.

Donald James LeBlanc in fact has not devoted his full life to music. His parents were always concerned about his future economic security. In 1968, he left music for the most part and went to the University of Saskatchewan (mentioned above) where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. Then, after one year of study at the U of S towards his Bachelor of Education, he was hired by the Roman Catholic School System in Regina, Saskatchewan to teach at Miller High School and subsequently at O’Neil High School to teach Music, English and Business Education subjects.. While holding down a full-time High-School Teaching position, he continued evening classes and obtained his Bachelor of Education with distinction in 1974! During all of this time, he was freelancing as a guitarist in the Regina scene.

In 1976 he started a solo career, his publishing company and record company. In 1979, when his father (Regis) passed away, he left teaching to pursue music full time. He headed to Los Angeles where several records were produced; he also did some part-time teaching in a business college while there to help support himself. Eventually, he headed for Nashville, to Montreal and finally back to Toronto where he had been during the sixties …all the time pursuing his musical dream. Back in Toronto in 1990, due to financial and economic restraints, he again returned (to university)…York University and the University of Toronto to qualify himself to teach French; then the Catholic School System in the York region hired him to teach French full time…at the same time he took university evening classes. Then too, all the time he was writing songs and recording them when economics, etc permitted. He even found time to go to France as part of the York University Program which put him on the road to obtaining his Master’s Degree in French…this has not yet been completed! It was a very busy time but it filled his mind and life with all kinds of experiences.