Professional musicians wear a number of hats. Take 2007 graduate Ewan Divitt, for instance. Ewan is a trumpet player, composer and arranger, but he’s also an entrepreneur and craftsman. As the founder and operator of Divitt Trumpets, Ewan custom builds and sells his own line of trumpets. We spoke with him via email to learn more about his business, his desire to give back to the Humber community, and his projects outside of instrument building.
Many musicians only dream of having their own personally customized instrument, but you’ve made a business of this. How and when did you start building trumpets? What made you decide to pursue this as a business?
I started building my own trumpets about three years ago. After I finished Humber, I went to musical instrument repair school in Fort McMurray, Alberta, where I learned the basics of how to work with metal and fabricate parts for the instruments I repaired. I also started experimenting with modifying my own instruments and noting the changes that occurred after the modification. It took five or six years of working as a brass repair technician and doing as much research and night-school silversmithing courses as I could handle before I was able to start work on my own line of instruments.
This year, you partnered with Humber to donate a Divitt trumpet to a Humber student. What inspired you to do this?
My time at Humber was really formative. I became extremely passionate about many aspects of the music world, including composition and arrangement, performance, music from all over the world, as well as the gear aspect of trumpets and mouthpieces.
Humber played such a huge role in who I am today—as a musician, instrument builder, and as a person—that I have been wanting to do something to give back to the school for many years now.
Outside of Divitt Trumpets, what other projects have you worked on since leaving Humber?
Since leaving Humber, I have actively freelanced as a trumpet and sousaphone player based in Toronto. I have toured across Canada and Europe with various bands, recorded on over 20 albums, and played live on the MTV Video Awards, the JUNO Awards, and the Much Music Video Awards. I also have done a lot of composing and arranging for many groups, including my own jazz big band. I now have over 40 original compositions and arrangements, and have arranged for Grammy-nominee and JUNO Award-winner Ken Whiteley's Freedom Blues Band.
How did your time at Humber prepare you for what you’re doing now? Any particular memories you’d like to share?
Humber opened my eyes to what it takes to make a career in the music industry. There are so many avenues that a student can pursue that aren't necessarily limited to just being a performer. Humber prepared me by teaching me to be as versatile as possible.