Mr. David Enns is our Middle School band teacher and is both the Artistic and Musical Director for this year’s Middle School musical, Seussical at the McPherson Playhouse.
David was born in Regina and grew up in Melfort and Swift Current, Saskatchewan. His interest in music began with piano lessons as a 5-year-old but really took off in junior high and high school. He pursued his undergraduate degree in piano performance from Brandon University in Manitoba and quickly got a job teaching music lessons in a small Icelandic village. He returned to Canada to earn a master’s degree in piano performance, then went back to Iceland for a three-year teaching stint. He then worked in Victoria as a freelance musician and music teacher at several schools before starting at SMUS in the fall.
David is married to Lana. They have two boys, Sascha and Brendan.
Let’s get to know David better:
What was the best class you took in school?
There’s no hesitation it was high school band. I continued in music because of my high school band teacher and his passion for music.
What do you do on a day off?
Last summer I really got into stand-up paddling on the Gorge. We live close by so it’s easy to get down there and go for a super relaxing paddle.
Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
North Africa – Turkey, especially – has always intrigued me. I was in university I saw something about Turkey that just inspired me. It looks so fascinating and beautiful and interesting there.
What is one goal you want to achieve in your lifetime?
I hope my kids see me as a good parent.
Why did you want to be a teacher?
That first job I had in Iceland I was teaching private music lessons. At first it was just a position that I had the skills for because I was a musician. But once I started teaching I loved it. I love the challenge of having to get ideas across when they’re not getting across to someone. I just refuse to believe that there isn’t a way to teach them and have them figure it out.
What was your dream job growing up?
As a child I wanted to be an NHL player. I loved playing hockey.
What was the first concert you went to?
My parents took me to Saskatoon to see Count Basie when I was about 9 years old and it blew my mind. I sat down in this big, beautiful concert hall – Melfort didn’t have anything like this – and I knew nothing about the music, and they hit that first chord and it was like nothing I’d ever heard before! That classic big band music is some of my favourite music to this day.
What is a big challenge you’ve overcome?
Getting through this musical in this role has been an enormous task but it has been such a huge learning experience for me. I’ve never done the theatre side of things before so this is all new to me, but I cannot say enough good things about the people I work with who I’ve been able to lean on through this process. My colleagues and the volunteers are essential, and everyone has been so supportive because we’re all doing this for the students and for the experience they get.
What hobby would you pursue if money and time were no object?
I would love to play more pool. It’s not a terribly expensive hobby and I’m good enough to enjoy it, but then I watch really fine players and they play in a whole other world that would take a lot of time for me to get to that level.
What’s been your most memorable teaching moment?
I was teaching a student about whole notes during my first year in Iceland and I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t getting the literacy concept. I would go over it with him and then he would play two notes – one above and one below the actual note. I just couldn’t understand it. But then he told me that because of the way the whole note looks on the staff he was reading it as two different notes. To someone who’s trained in music you wouldn’t think twice but I was blown away because I realized that I can’t expect them to see what I see because they’re still learning.
If you could time travel, when would be the first place you go?
It would probably be the 1920s or ’30s. It would be amazing to go and hang out in a club in the early days of jazz.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part is, after battling through the tough parts of putting together complex music with the kids, that first time it starts sounding like a unified piece and they recognize that. The early stages of a new song are tough, but something magical happens when it just starts to come together; the kids recognize at that moment that something cool has just happened.
Where is your favourite place on Vancouver Island?
I love the Gorge because that’s where I find my solace. But – and I know it’s just off Vancouver Island – our family’s gone to Taku Resort on Quadra Island and it is amazingly peaceful and beautiful over there.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
To be able to fly because I’m afraid of heights so this way I’d feel invincible. I can’t fall if I can fly!
What are you passionate about that the SMUS community may not know about you?
A lot of people think that if you’re a musician you’re not usually into sports. But I’m really into baseball – I love the game, I love watching it, I love that constant showdown between pitcher and batter. And I also love hockey. It was my favourite thing to do as a kid because there was an outdoor rink on every corner. Some of my fondest memories growing up are going to the rink at night, it’s dark out and the snow’s coming down – it’s the most beautiful way to spend an evening!
Seussical runs from March 8-10 at the McPherson Playhouse. There are two evening shows (March 8 and 9) and one matinee (March 10). Tickets and more information are available on the McPherson Playhouse website.