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September 9, 2020

Faces of Fauquier: Music “runs through” her blood

Photo/Don Del Rosso
“The most joy I get lately is from teaching these children and seeing their faces light up when they can actually play a chord or a song,” Donna Britton Bukecivz says. “I get to be a part of these kids’ young lives.”
I think I got bitten by the music bug a long, long time ago, and it just runs through my blood. I love music; it’s just the heartbeat of everything.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Her mother played the piano and sang, while an aunt studied at a prestigious music conservatory in Baltimore.

“I guess I come from a musical family,” said Donna Britton Bukevicz, explaining her four-decade career as a singer, songwriter, producer and educator. “I don’t know. Maybe God dropped a lot of this on my lap, too."

Mrs. Bukevicz, who lives near Opal, plays three instruments, owns a home-based company called Molly Girl Music that provides songs — hers and others — for television (Fox Sports and Access Hollywood), movies (Turnover) and commercials.

But “probably the biggest thing people always throw out there is that I’m an Oscar-contending vocalist,” she said. “It’s really hard for me to say, because it makes me feel weird. The song I sang on was No. 17 on the awards circuit competing against Adele’s Skyfall” in 2013.

That year, Mrs. Bukevicz and C.J. Watson recorded Voodoo for the movie Halloween Party.

As a performer, she has “shared” the stage and studios with Al Jarreau, Don Henley, Billy Idol, Dave Robbins of Blackhawk, Toby Keith’s Trailer Choir Band, Martha Reeves and The Bangles.

Over the years, she has written at least 900 songs and collaborated on thousands more, Mrs. Bukevicz said.

In the last 15 alone, she has written 400 for New York-based nonprofit Songs of Love, which “creates free, personalized, original songs to uplift children and teens currently facing tough medical, physical or emotional challenges,” the organization’s website states.

“That, I feel, is one of my largest accomplishments,” she said. “It really makes a difference for the children.”

Mrs. Bukevicz also has placed 15 songs, including three of her own, with the video game Rock Band Network.

And two years ago, she co-wrote with Chris Young Drive Time, which the country western star recorded.

Mrs. Bukevicz serves as music supervisor and will co-write up to 15 songs for the Christmas movie Hashtag Blessed, which will be released next year.

An early starter, she learned at age 9 to play piano — “I was classically trained” — and later took voice lessons because, “I began performing in different shows and plays in school.”

In 1979 — after two years at Maryland’s Montgomery Community College — Mrs. Bukevicz headed to California and much later to Nashville to pursue a songwriting career.

Mrs. Bukevicz and her husband Bill a dozen years ago bought a condominium in Nashville so that she could divide her time between “Music City” and their home in Fauquier.

But the Washington, D.C., native eventually found that she could live here full-time — eliminating plenty of travel — and continue to produce music at high level in her basement studio.

For all the right reasons, the new arrangement seemed to make perfect sense, Mrs. Bukevicz suggested.

“I’d rather have a healthy home life,” she explained. “I made my tradeoff. I sold the (Nashville) place and came back home, because it wasn’t worth it to me.”

As if not busy enough already, Mrs. Bukevicz last year began teaching piano, songwriting, ukulele and voice at Drum & Strum Music Center in Warrenton.

“The most joy I get lately is from teaching these children and seeing their faces light up when they can actually play a chord or a song. I get to be a part of these kids’ young lives.”

• Age
61

• Home
Near Opal

• Work
Teacher, Drum & Strum Music Center, Warrenton, 2019 to present; owner, Molly Girl Music, 2018 to present; independent songwriter and music licensing consultant, 2003-18.

• Why do you do the job?
I think I got bitten by the music bug a long, long time ago, and it just runs through my blood. I love music; it’s just the heartbeat of everything.

• Family
Husband, Bill; two dogs, Molly, 8, and Paxton, 2.

• Education
Attended Montgomery (Md.) Community College, 1977-79; Magruder (Md.) High School, 1977.

• Civic involvement
Member, Warrenton Moose Lodge 1695.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
About 24 years.

• Why do you live here?
Fauquier is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve lived in. And I’ve been to a lot of different places. I can walk out my door, and I’ve got a cornfield in the back and I can see the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It’s an absolutely gorgeous county, and there’s a lot of culture.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
I don’t think that I would change much. I think we need to keep it more of a secret so not too many people move in.

It’d be nice to have a Red Lobster.

• What do you do for fun?
Boating. We boat in the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. I love to visit the local wineries with friends. We love to go to restaurants in downtown (Warrenton).

I love to cook. And my husband loves to eat, so it’s a win-win.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Drum & Strum Music Center.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
It may look similar to today, because the powers-that-be will do the best they can to keep things as a small town and to keep mom-and-pop businesses alive. I hope it can stay the same but be a strong community.

• Favorite TV show?
“Below Deck”

• Favorite movie?
“Being There”

• Favorite book?
“The Secret Daily Teachings” by Rhonda Byrne.

• Favorite vacation spot?
Tuscany.

• Favorite food?
New England clam chowder.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
Robert Niles was a lawyer in Remington for probably 40, 50 years. He said not to sweat the small stuff. Take time to smell the roses. He was like a father for me. He reminded me of what really matters — people, family and caring for others.

I would always feel like my blood pressure would actually lower just being in his presence.

• Who’s your hero and why?
Beside James Taylor, because he’s an incredible songwriter and human being, my doctor — Dr. Joseph David (of Warrenton) — is one of my heroes. I’m constantly amazed at his dedication to my care and everybody else in the community. All of the doctors and health workers in our community are undervalued, and they’re working harder now than ever.

• What would you do if you won $5 million in the lottery?
I would give some to the (Fauquier) Community Food Bank so they could help our kids in the community and the families that are struggling so much right now.

People don’t realize that even though this is a very wealthy area, there’s a good bit of people who really need help. And I think they’re overlooked, and I would help as much as I could in that arena.

Have a suggestion?
Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? Email Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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oliverharry · September 10, 2020 at 5:53 am
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sourlemon · September 10, 2020 at 2:51 am
It was a really great article, guitar and music lovers like me can read this post without stopping, thank you. jack
J_Guye · September 9, 2020 at 11:38 pm
Donna is immensely talented, generous and modest. Our community is truly blessed by her involvement.
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