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Douglas Hicton


Hi, everyone! I'm hunting for gigs as a TV, film, and theatre composer, and to talk with you here about writing songs and such.

I've been writing music since I was eight, and was mostly self-taught in theory and composition up to age 17. Stage-struck from high-school musicals, I enrolled in the Conservatory of Music, University of Regina, in Saskatchewan. There I studied harmony, counterpoint, and composition with Thomas Schudel and Richard Raum, orchestration and arranging with Bruce Lobaugh, and music history with Keith Cockburn. For my four-semester performance credit (I stayed longer), I sang in the tenor section of the University of Regina
Concert Choir under the direction of Vern Sanders. I still enjoy choral singing, and I've been the tenor section leader of the Chancel Choir at Emmanuel-Howard Park United Church in Toronto for over 10 years.

In my fourth year, my last core music history classes were not to be offered till two years later, in odd semesters, so I switched my major to journalism, and after two years at the new School of Journalism, I got my BA in Journalism and Communications as a member of the first graduating class in 1982, after which I returned to the Conservatory, completed my last couple of classes, and received my BA in Music in 1984.

During my time at the University of Regina, I composed the scores for two local TV productions, Frankenstein and Nineteen Eighty-Four, and after finishing my studies, I composed the score for my first musical, Genesis, written with great Canadian playwright and storyteller, Ken Mitchell. This was performed by the Drama Department in Stong College at York University, Toronto. Rewritten and retitled All Our Yesterdays, the show was presented by Regina Summer Stage in July 1986.

For 11 years, starting from my second year at university, I worked as an assistant to Dr ML Kovács in the Department of History, editing academic papers, preparing books for publication, and marking student essays. At the same time, I was acting, directing, musical-directing, and designing for Regina Little Theatre, Regina Lyric Light Opera, and Regina Summer Stage. To my relief, I found I was not bad at any of these tasks, especially directing.

One of my proudest times as a director was in 1989, putting together a production of William Hoffman's drama As Is, as the first theatrical benefit for AIDS Regina. We turned a nice profit for the organization and raised awareness, and it became an annual event.

While working in Regina as an editor-proofreader at Weigl Educational Publishers and copywriter-voice artist-program host at 620 CK Radio (AM) & 104.9 CKIT (FM), and in Toronto as Creative Director-voice artist-jingle composer at CHFI FM98 & 680 News, I composed the scores for my second musical, The Continuing Story of the Secret Search for the Edge of Our Lives: A Soap Operetta (unproduced), book by Richard Lawton, and my third, Sarah Binks, the Sweet Songstress of Saskatchewan, for which I reunited with Ken Mitchell.

A succession of minor, pay-the-rent jobs followed, including about ten months of selling gourmet frozen pizzas door-to-door, cold-calling public opinion polls and setting up focus groups for a polling agency for a year and a half, and toiling in the outbound sales department of Livent for two years. I was also 
simultaneously busy freelance writing for eyeWEEKLY Magazine throughout these years, reviewing books and then theatre. 

During this period, I reteamed with Richard Lawton, and collaborated on the book and wrote the music and lyrics for my fourth musical, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Auditions, readings, etc.

This was followed by a more productive two and a half years working for three doctors at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). More healthcare jobs followed, including stints as a medical transcriptionist at Sunnybrook & Women's College Health Sciences Centre, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Toronto East General.

In 2001, while I was still at CAMH, both Sarah Binks and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari premiered a week apart. Sarah Binks opened in Biggar, SK on 6 July, had subsequent Fringe productions, and played on CBC Radio 1 & 2 the following year. The Cabinet of Caligari was produced by John Chatterton at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York, opening on Friday 13 July and running for the duration of the festival.

Then I had the great good fortune to win three times on Jeopardy! in 2007. This got me into that year's Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, where I placed second against some smart, wonderful people. I was further honoured to play the game against Watson, IBM's super-computer, and managed to defeat the machine. Go, Team Carbon!

Right now I'm seeking gigs as a composer for television, film, and theatre, so if you're looking for one, have a listen to my recent instrumental stuff. The most fleshed-out ones are featured on the Media page, along with my best radio commercials. More on the way as they're completed!

I also freelance as an editor-proofreader and as a music copyist (Finale 2012 music-writing software for Macintosh). Fast, professional, and at reasonable rates.
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