Don Schmeer was born on April 11, 1935 in Portland, Oregon. He attended the public schools in the area and graduated from Lincoln High School in 1953. Always intensely interested in the performing arts, he played clarinet all the way through high school, and graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music in 1957. After college, he served in the United States Army from 1957-59 and played in the 5th Army Band in Korea where his tent-mate was none other than composer John Barnes Chance (or “Barney”, as Don called him). After the Army, Don taught Junior High School Band in Oregon. In 1960, Don left teaching to become an employee and eventually General Manager of Byron Hoyt Music Company in San Francisco. His knowledge of wind band repertoire and music education materials was legendary and second to none in the sheet music industry. He remained with Byron Hoyt Music Company in San Francisco for many years and became an ardent supporter of music education in California. He was recognized many times for his contributions in the world of music education. His awards included:

CBDA Service Award – 1984

CODA/NSOA Service Award – 1988

CBDA Friend of Music Education Award – 1994 (Now known as the Don Schmeer Friend of Music Award)

CMEA Outstanding Service to Music Educators Award – 1994

Who’s Who in American Business – 1994

After Byron Hoyt (the original owner of the store and close mentor to Don) passed away, Don helped create the Byron Hoyt Outstanding Music Educator Award (now the Don Schmeer-Byron Hoyt Band Educator Award), given annually to an exemplary instrumental music educator by CMEA-The California Association for Music Education at the annual state conference. In his spare time, Don was an aficionado of Asian art, food, and culture, was a rabid fan of the San Francisco 49ers football team, and was a trivia buff of “Casablanca”, a motion picture he dearly loved. After a long battle with cancer, Don passed away on July 19, 1994 and this scholarship fund was created in his memory.

The Don Schmeer Memorial Scholarship Fund, established in 1996 by Bill Burke, Mark Troxell, and the late Dr. David Goedecke, is held in trust by the California Music Educators Association. The Fund provides support and encouragement for talented music students of limited financial means in grades 7-12. Awards are made to qualified students of CMEA members for summer music camp tuition and related expenses.  In 2020, the fund was expanded to include the Don Schmeer Band Education Scholarship.  Supporters of this fund include many individuals, music educators, schools, California Music Educators Association (CMEA), the California Band Directors Association (CBDA), and other entities and music organizations.

Tax deductible contributions to this Memorial Fund may be made by individuals, organizations, and businesses by credit card through the donate button on this page or by mailing check to:

Don Schmeer Scholarship Fund
PO Box 359
Hanford, CA 93232

For more information please call the CMEA State Office and Trish Adams at (559) 904-2002 or email her at  You may also donate through the California Band Directors Association (CBDA) Membership/Registration portal located on their website,