Band member: 1979–93 & 2004
Instruments: Tuba, piano
Other functions: Musical transcriber/arranger; cross-country driver/Road Worrier; bandleader 1988–93; album producer, Variety Stomp
Albums: Metropolis, Notes from Underground, Jazz-Babies of the Ukraine, Variety Stomp
Good ink: « Much of the band's punch springs from its fine brass section, with tubaist Donald Thornton supplying the lumbering, Russian-bearish rhythms. » — Downbeat
Other gigs: Santa Rosa, Napa, Modesto, Oakland, and Vallejo Symphony Orchestras; The Brassworks. Tuba instructor, California State University's Stanislaus and Hayward campuses.
Profile: Classically-trained and gifted with absolute pitch, Donald lends a meticulous, theoretical approach to The Klezmorim's charts -- balancing the band's tendency toward rough-and-ready head arrangements. Defying stereotypes, Donald long ago established tuba as a melodic instrument in klezmer music. He has also distinguished himself as an award-winning brewer.