Class of 2016: Darren Place, a compassionate composer at heart

WINNIPEG —; For Sturgeon Heights Collegiate student Darren Place, music is means of expressing creativity. He’s an active member of the school’s senior jazz combo where he plays piano.

Place also has another love besides music and it involves composing behind the lens of a camera, working with film.

“I’ve always loved cameras since I was really little,” said Place. “Since then I’ve just been creating and learning from my mistakes, purchasing newer gear.”


It’s that passion for creating that he took and turned in to something much bigger. Darren’s younger brother Owen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago, and he decided to put his creative skills to good use.

“I decided to, along with my family, to create a video to promote the awareness of Type 1 diabetes and run a fundraiser at the same time which was really successful.” said Place.

WATCH: Darren Place’s Type 1 diabetes awareness video 

The reason behind the idea was simple. He knew Owen couldn’t enjoy the usual treats on Halloween like other kids so they collected more than 500 pounds of candy. In a deal with the family’s orthodontist, the dental specialist gave them money in exchange for his patient’s candy. They were able to donate $1,200 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Owen Place surrounded by tons of Halloween candy

Photo Credit: Place family

The video, which showcases music that Darren composed, was also shown as a learning tool in his current and former schools.

“The family went to talk to the elementary school and middle school and said would you consider showing this,” said Place’s band teacher Kathy Byrne. “It just sort of took off from there.”

“I have other videos planned in the future and one of them is about insulin pumps and coverage you get from the government for that.” said Place.

Before he starts his next project, Place continues to stay very busy at school working in the senior jazz combo, as a student and a teacher.

“He actively looks for ways to help classmates get better, and you see it,” said music educator Jeff Johnson. “He doesn’t tell you anything about what he’s doing, you just see it.”

“I can hear them, they’re almost getting it, ” said Place. “And I maybe can help them get that last 10 percent and be better musicians if I can.”

Senior jazz combo at work at Sturgeon Heights

Photo Credit: Global News

Whether it’s cinematography or music, Place will continue to perform at the highest level. After he graduates he plans on taking the digital media design course at Red River College.

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