Music has always been part of Don Goldenbaum’s life. Growing up in Hampton, Virginia, Don played clarinet in the high school band and studied violin privately with Elizabeth Chapman, concertmistress of a local community orchestra. Later, in college, he studied for a year with Dr. Myron Kartman, eventual chair of the strings program at Northwestern University.
The two summers before leaving for college, Don played professionally in the pit orchestra of The Common Glory, a nightly outdoor pageant in Williamsburg, VA. Those two season-long exposures to daily (nightly) life as a musician, performing as a teen with big-city pros whose lives appeared to revolve entirely around music, convinced him that for him the violin would be an avocation rather than a vocation.
Instead of pursuing a musical career, Don got a B.A. in psychology and math from Antioch and an M.A. in philosophy and Ph.D. in Educational Research from Indiana University. While attending Indiana’s grad school, though not as a conservatory student, he enjoyed accompanying flute and voice majors during their senior recitals on classical guitar.
Shortly after moving to Kansas City in 1975, Don served as principal second violin in the KC Civic Orchestra under Glen Block, and later, was concertmaster of the Overland Park Orchestra and the Medical Arts Symphony. He plays violin today in the Kinnor Philharmonic and plays viola in KCCO’s viola section. A high point of his current musical life involves teaming with three other members of KCCO to introduce stringed instruments and musical ideas to young children in local schools, hospitals, and libraries as part of the orchestra’s musical outreach program.
Having music as a serious hobby allows day-job flexibility. Don followed a stint as a Senior Systems Analyst at KC’s Midwest Research Institute by eventually launching and running a technical writing and documentation firm, Applied Communications Group, providing onsite, IT- and manufacturing-related writing services to Sprint, Marion Labs, Burlington Northern Railroad, Bayer Animal Health, and other firms. Other positions included Executive Director of Johnson County Community College’s Business and Industry Institute, Vice President for Research at the Greater KC Community Foundation, and Vice President of the Kansas City Regional Council for Higher Education. As a freelance consultant, he designed instructional board games on technical and management subjects that training firms used in their commercial seminars and evaluated federally-funded programs for local colleges. Currently, he is a national reviewer of research-grant proposals for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Now serving as co-president of KCCO’s board, his earlier community involvement has included being on the boards of The Children’s Place, Carondelet Healthcare, and The Center for Practical Bioethics.
Don and his wife, Sally – a novelist – have three children, Todd, Aria, and Daniel, and six grandchildren, all of whom live much too far from Kansas City.