Donnie Johns

Musician Spotlight



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Apollo Orchestra Timpanist, Donnie Johns always wears a big smile.  Behind that big smile also lies a big heart.


This past August Donnie spent some time at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, performing with the Gateways Music Festival. Gateways connects and supports professional classical musicians of African descent, as it enlightens and inspires communities through the power of performance. The week-long, multi-faceted Festival provides participants a source of motivation, encouragement, and engagement for all communities – especially those communities underrepresented in classical music.

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During this intense week of rehearsals and performances, musicians in the Gateways Festival strive to share their love of classical music with everyone— especially with people of African descent, many of whom are unaware of or have forgotten the African-American community’s rich classical music heritage and legacy.

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The Apollo Orchestra joins with Donnie in supporting efforts to increase the participation by people of African descent in classical music, and recognizes that classical music has the ability to enrich the lives of ALL individuals and communities.