our directors

RON COLLINS - Director

Ron Collins has been surrounded by music his whole life, starting with his childhood home where his father played the piano. He joined the school band when he was 10 years old, and bands have been a constant in his life ever since. He graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1987 with his B.Mus./ B.Mus.Ed. with a major in saxophone, and added a M.Ed. in 2007.

Ron’s life as a musician has included concert bands, jazz bands, jazz combos, rock bands, pit orchestras, and dinner theatres playing both saxophone and bass guitar. He has played with the Gower Youth Band and Gower Community Band, Jazz East, Traces Dance Band, The Ducats, Spirit of Newfoundland, and is currently playing bass and saxophone with Fahrenheit. As a music teacher, he has covered kindergarten to grade 12 in many areas of the province.

Ron has directed several community based groups including Jazz Unlimited, Jazztyme, and Jazz East. He was the Associate Director of the Gower Community Band for over 20 years, and became Director in January 2019 following the retirement of Dr. Edsel Bonnell. He currently teaches music and directs four bands at Holy Trinity High School in Torbay.

DANA COLLINS – Associate Director

Dana (Abbott) Collins is an active member of Gower Street United Church  and grew up taking part in the Gower Music Programs under the direction of Dr. Edsel Bonnell with the Gower Band Programs (GYB and GCB) and Dr. Douglas Dunsmore with the Choral and Handbell programs. She graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1995 as a piano major with a B.Mus, B.Mus.Ed, and B.A.(French).

After teaching in the school system for a number of years, Dana completed post graduate studies in Information Technology and was awarded a Masters of Information Technology from AIU (Atlanta, Georgia) in 1999. Dana specializes in business analysis and project management and currently runs her own consulting firm.

Even though Dana’s professional life is now spent as a consultant in the business world, music remains central to family life with husband Gerard and their children, Hayley and Noah. Dana has been conducting the Gower Youth Choir for over 10 years and recently took on the role of Associate Director with the Gower Community Band upon the retirement of Dr. Edsel Bonnell. Music provides such an opportunity to bring joy to others and give back as a volunteer. She is proud to have her children partake in the Gower Music Programs at her side and for them to understand the impact of community service.

DR. EDSEL J. BONNELL - Founder and Director Emeritus

The founder of the Gower Band Program in 1973 and its Director until his retirement in 2018 is Edsel J. Bonnell, C.M., LL.D., APR, FCPRS(H).  Dr. Bonnell was born in St. John’s, NL in 1935, and had a long career in media communications as a journalist, editor, publisher, and public relations consultant. He was the first consultant in Newfoundland and Labrador to earn professional accreditation (APR), and is an Honorary Member of the College of Fellows (FCPRS) and a Life Member of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

An ardent amateur musician and community worker, he was named St. John’s Citizen of the Year for 1984, a Member of the Order of Canada in 2001, a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International in 2002, and received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal  the same year.

He was inducted into the Hall of Honour of the Kiwanis Music Festival of St. John’s in 2004, and received the CPRS Lamp of Service and Philip A. Novikoff Award in 2009. In 2011, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland for his service to community as both a bandleader and in public relations.