Don Johnson (1955-2016)

10/18 - Mr. Donald Ray Johnson, Jr, age 61 of Raywick, KY, passed away Friday, October 14, 2016 in Bradfordsville, KY. He was born on July 24, 1955 in Lexington, KY. Mr. Johnson was a musician and a retired Captain of the Lexington Fire Department. He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald Ray Johnson, Sr. and Iris Jeannine Vanwinkle Johnson, and his sister Karen Faye Shupp. He is survived by his wife Cindy Oakman Johnson--Raywick, KY, his son Donald Ray Johnson III--Cincinnati, OH, his daughter: Marie Ann Colletti--Brooklynn, NY, his brother Steven Lee Johnson--Paris, KY, three step-brothers David Wilds--Three links, KY, Joseph Wilds--Irvine, KY, Paul Wilds, and his sister Michelle Wilds--Hazard, KY.

A noted figure in historical brass performance, Don founded and led the Kentucky Baroque Trumpets. He organized and led President Lincoln's Own Band, a group featured in Stephen Spielberg's Lincoln (2012). When the crowd sings "We Are Coming Father Abraham" in that movie it is his cornet playing that you hear. An active figure in historical bands in Kentucky, Johnson played in the Advocate Brass Band, Danville, Kentucky for a number of years and was frequently heard on stage at the Great American Brass Band Festival. He also frequented our annual HBS Brass Symposiua, including this past year at the Vintage Band Festival in Northfield, Minnesota, presenting on the keyed trumpet. We will always remember Don as a humble scholar, an energetic, passionate, and enthusiastic performer, and a person who has left us a legacy of wonderful recordings and insights into historical trumpet and cornet performance. For information on his recordings and life see

Steven Plank and Bryan Proksch