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Canadian Heritage

Darryl Eaton


DARRYL EATON (trumpeter, educator) was born on June 3, 1940 in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. Upon graduating from high school in 1958, he joined the RCAF in Ottawa playing with the Central Band there until 1961 before transferring to the Air Transport Command Band at Downsview, Ontario until 1963. After his stint in the Services, he went on to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating from there with DE and BMus degrees. He also holds a BEd degree from the University of Toronto, and MMus from the University of Western Ontario.

Eaton was the featured trumpet soloist with the Expo Band during Expo '67 in Montreal. Returning to the U.S. to complete his studies at Berklee in 1968, he joined the Stan Kenton Band the same year. He also toured with The Beach Boys and the Buddy Rich Band in 1969, before returning to Canada permanently in 1970.

He moved to Vancouver upon first returning to this country to join The Brotherhood, a jazz/rock band led by Bryan Morrow and featuring great musicians including guitarist Oliver Gannon and bassist Bob Hamper. Eaton moved back to Toronto late the same year, working with a long list of starring entertainers including Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Ella Fitzgerald, Tom Jones, Bob Hope, and Gladys Knight and the Pips as a member of the house band at the famous Imperial Room at the Royal York Hotel, and in pit-bands at the Royal Alexandra Theatre and the O’Keefe Centre in Toronto. He played in the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra for a two-year period in the early ‘70s before becoming a member of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Orchestra, playing and touring with them throughout most of the ensuing years until the spring of 1987.

Eaton joined Phil Nimmons’ band in 1974, and has been a key member of Nimmons ‘n’ Nine Plus Six ever since, including when the band was featured in the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Concert Series at the Ontario Science Centre on March 7, 1977.

As an educator, Darryl Eaton taught high school at the Mayfield Secondary School in Peel from 1989 until 2005. The successful music program he conducted there resulted in his band’s being honored as 1994’s “Best High School Stage Band in North America” by Down Beat Magazine. He currently conducts the City of Brampton (Ontario) Concert Band and the Hannaford Youth Band.


1994 – Named “Best High School Stage Band in North America” by Down Beat Magazine