Meet the Dannas!

There’s been a lot of talk this past week about my oldest brother Mychael. Both of my brothers are film composers, but on Thursday morning, Mychael was honoured with two Oscar nominations for his work on Life of Pi– Best Original Score and Best Song. There was a lot of discussion about family talents, so I thought this week it might be a fun break to introduce you to the multitalented Danna family.

It all starts here with Edith and Frank Danna (1932-1978). Born and bred in Winnipeg, they were married in 1955 before moving to Southern Ontario in 1958 with newborn Mychael. A teacher and an accountant by trade, it was their love of the arts that set their children up for success. Both sang (Mom still does; we sing together in a choir), and Dad played the piano and had a love of performing in amateur musical theater. I think it’s fair to say that we owe everything to them—a love of reading that translated into two academics and authors, and our musical talents, enhanced by piano and voice lessons, which led to two professional musicians.

Mychael is the oldest of the Danna children. After earning his B.A. in Composition at the University of Toronto, he went on to work at the McLaughlin Planetarium, compose several New Age albums and begin a career in film composition. With five television shows, more than seventy-five film scores and multiple Genie, Gemini, and BMI Film and Television Awards to his credit, as well as a BAFTA and two Oscar nominations for next month, Mychael has a very impressive career.

And then, of course, there’s his win from two nights ago, when he took home the Golden Globe for Best Original Score for Life of Pi:

Elizabeth is the family languages expert and scholar with a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Durham University. She is an active member of the Crossroads Center ministry, and, as part of her academic writing and speaking career, she wrote ‘From Gethsemane to Penetecost: A Passion Study’. She has also assisted Mychael in lyric translations for use in some of his soundtracks.

Brother Jeff is also a composer, and scores a mix of film and live action and animated television. He has eight TV series, over forty movies and several Gemini awards to his credit. His current TV series, Continuum, starts airing on SyFy on January 16th and season two will air in Canada starting in May.

Mychael and Jeff have worked together on many projects, from the TV series Camelot, to their Celtic CDs (Billboard’s Top Ten A Celtic Tale and A Celtic Romance), to several television and feature films.

And then there’s me. As you can see, in a family full of arts majors, I was the odd man out with my science/math degree. But even in the scientist, the artistic spirit was apparently never far from the surface.

The future Danna generation is not without talent as well—a skilled photographer, a stage actor, a biologist (finally someone following in mom’s science geek shoes!), a couple of hockey stars, and a burgeoning piano virtuoso. Look out world, here come the Dannas!

And now it’s time to announce our winner from last week’s Rafflecopter draw of the very first ARC of DEAD, WITHOUT A STONE TO TELL IT. I’m pleased to announce that our winner (picked via was entry #68—Sherri Mitchen—for her entry on January 12 at 6:47pm! Congrats, Sherri, and enjoy!

Photo credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP