Don Hamsa was born on March 27th, 1935. When he grew up, his family had a piano in their home that he would play on til 3 or 4 in the morning…or when his mother called him to bed. Other than the piano, Don also played trombone, and was a vocalist.
In 1949, at the age of 14, Don played piano in his first band: The Ernie Kucera Band. Because he couldn’t drive, his dad had to drive him to his first job. Don went on to be a musician and vocalist with Ernie Kucera, Al Grebnich, Bud Comte, Skip Andersen (late 50s), and Dick Wickman (60s). Don then started his own band, the Don Hamsa Orchestra, and moved to New York City.
Fellow musicians say that Don was the best and finest all-around musician in the whole Midwest: Instrumentalist, vocalist, arranger, transcriber. Musicians say that Don transcribed notes from records before sheet music was available.