our directors


The founder of the Gower Band Program in 1973 and its Director to the present day 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 for his service to community as both a bandleader and in public relations.

RON COLLINS - Associate 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 as a Saxophone Major from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1987 with his B. Mus/B. Mus Ed, and added a M. Ed. in 2007.

Ron's life as a musician has included concert bands, jazz big bands, jazz combos, rock bands, pit orchestras, and dinner theaters playing both saxophone and bass guitar.  His life as a music teacher has covered kindergarten to grade 12 from Mobile to Gander.  

He has directed several community based groups including Jazz Unlimited, Jazztyme, and Jazz East. He is currently a member of the bands Traces and Fahrenheit, and is the Associate Director of the Gower Community Band.  

Ron is still surrounded by music at home and at work.  His wife, Jacqui, is a member of the choir Cara, and their daughter Zoe is excelling in voice and piano lessons.  He teaches Music at Holy Trinity High School in Torbay.