We’re excited to introduce Donna Britton Bukevicz to the Allegro staff. She has been in the lives of our Executive Director, Sam Yoder and wife Lachelle for the past 15 years. They are so excited to be working together again!
This fall she will be teaching Songwriting, Performance, and leading the Allegro Certified Performers program.
So, here’s a bit about Donna.
How long have you been working for Allegro? January, 2016
How long have you been in the teaching performing arts/graphic arts? I have been performing my “art” since I was 15 years old when I joined a Rock Band as the lead singer performing at dances at our high school. It eventually lead up to signing a talent agency contract with both Washington Talent Agency and Bialek’s Music (for 8 years) where we performed first in the college circuit, then weddings and bar-mitzvahs and special events (including the White House) in and around the Washington Metropolitan area.
I am new to the area of teaching as I’ve been “out there in the world” writing songs, recording music and working in the music business as a published writer for the past 10 years. During that time lived a dual life between Warrenton and Nashville.
In 2012, I co-founded Team Green World, a 501(c)(3) Public Charity with a mission to eco-educate both children and parents to the importance of thinking ecologically using music as the messenger. We are an official after-school program at the Boys & Girls Club of Fauquier in the S.H.I.N.E program along with many other esteemed community entities like the 4H Club, Crysalis Counseling and the Fauquier Sheriff’s Dept.
In April, 2016, I was contracted to conduct a workshop for NSAI (Nashville Songwriting Association International) on the “Nuts and Bolts of getting your songs in TV & Film”. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of my “teaching” career in this arena as everyone was very interested in the topic.
How long have you loved music/theatre/the performing art or graphic art you teach? I really got bit by the music “bug” when I auditioned for the part of Snoopy in the 4th grade. I can still feel the rush of “sitting on Snoopy’s Dog House” singing my heart out to the audience and loving every minute of it.
What is your favorite thing about working in this industry? Working here at Allegro? Sam & Lachelle have established a wonderful school that feels more like family. When I walk in the door at Allegro, it feels like home, like a welcoming hug. This feeling is real and everyone on Allegro’s board is the same way— Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this wonderful organization?
Students are made to feel important and welcome and their well-being of the “heart” is top priority with every faculty member, Sam & Lachelle, and EVERY board of director that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting thus far.
What are your top 3 tips for making a student excel?
- Believe in yourself
- Reach for your dreams
- HAVE FUN along the way
What is your top priority to your students? Find your inner voice and follow it (believing in yourself is really #1 with me)
What do you feel is important for clients to know about you and about Allegro? My songwriting program is called “Writing From the Heart” and that is where I focus my attention from the very start of my mentoring time with each student. My goal is to really “listen” to each student to find out WHAT THEY WANT from our time together. Every student is different, with different goals. I also coach in the areas of voice and stage performance — Once we discuss “what” they want out of our time together, I begin to craft a program outline specifically targeted toward every individual student. Simply put? I care about each student that walks into my life. I want to see them EXCEL help to make their dreams come true.
What is your favorite type of performing/graphic art? I love being on stage– that’s the ultimate high for me but “doing the work” to get there is really a favorite of mine as well.
Who is your favorite musician, actor/actress or artist and why? Oh my, I’m going to date myself here. I admire James Taylor tremendously – his songwriting craft is stellar and he is still absolutely top shelf today at 60 some years of age. I’ve got an eclectic style of listening and listen to all of these artists and study their craft all the time- John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Bonnie Raitt, the Beatles, Michael McDonald, Bruno Mars, Colbie Cailait, Coldplay, Maroon 5, and newcomer Jacob Collier. I think the song by Shawn Mendes “Stitches” has a really cool vibe– I’m a vibe girl and like groups like One Republic, X Ambassadors “Renegrade”, Andy Grammer is cool too. Sara Baraleilles song “Brave”, should be my theme song cause I love to empower & motivate myself and people I care about to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams.
What is your favorite memory of a performanced/show you were involved in personally? I have so many favorite moments over the course of my music career (and I’m still performing so there are more to come). One that sticks out is the red-carpet event for the song I sang on “Voodoo” that was an oscar contending song up against Adelle’s Skyfall. That was a real rush to see that in print right next to Adelle!
What was most memorable performance a student participated in and why? This is in my future– I’ll let you know after their performance on June 21st at Make Music Day in Warrenton.
What do you see in the upcoming months that the local community should look to see and participate it? A big day ahead for Allegro’s students and our community is Make Music Day! www.makemusicday.org This is a celebration of music that is in 700 cities worldwide- and this is the first year it’s been in Warrenton, VA. We have planned this event to take place outdoors at Eva Walker Park — the full day of music kicks off on a Tuesday, June 21st at 11:30 (I’m the MC of the event and will kick off singing at the event). The youngest performer is 6 years old and we invite talent of ALL AGES to participate.
Allegro’s students will be featured at the Top of the hour starting at Noon and go through 7pm. All other times we will be featuring FRESH TALENT from our community (that stretches to Middleburg and even part of Maryland) — as a few of my friends from Nashville will be performing on this day. It’s all about community and bringing us all together in one place to celebrate “MAKE MUSIC DAY”. The park is a good place to have this event so that families can attend, bring a lawn chair, and watch their kids play on swings and jungle gyms while listening to FREE MUSIC ALL DAY!
Another important program on the horizon is the Allegro Certified Performers. I have been invited to be the director of this program and “mentor” students of all ages who want to achieve the level of certified performer. The ultimate goal will be to provide each student with the tools needed to perform in our community at events — whether it be in a solo capacity, small band, duo or ensemble. We encourage all areas of instrumentation (guitar, violin, brass, voice, acting) in this program. It’s all about bringing talent to our community and providing a service at a reasonable and fair price.
Who has been a major influence in your career and why? I think my time studying at Berklee College of Boston during a 5 week crash course on songwriting and performance was a highlight of the educational aspect of my career. This is where I acquired some very valuable tools that I use everyday when writing a song and crafting a melody. My 14 years working and studying the craft of songwriting in “Nashville” has certainly a building-block to where I stand today.
What tips do you have for someone looking for a career in this industry? Be careful “who” you allow to be your mentor and guidance counselor. Make sure they are truly “who” they say they are. Secondly, and just as important, learn the “craft” of songwriting first, then record your songs.
What are you hobbies/interests? I love to write songs and be “still” in the moment. My hobbies are gardening (this time of year is the best time of all when I get to plant my tomato plants and fresh herbs for cooking!) Did I say I like to cook? Yes, I love to cook, it’s my therapy really. Boating with my hubbie is a favorite Summer past-time – there is nothing like being OUT on the open water with no phone or technology between us.