Don McLean received an AB With Distinction in English Language and Literature from Boston University. He moved to Guilford, Vermont in 1968. He has taught courses on New England Literature, and on Dylan Thomas for Vermont Community College, and was a Vermont Council on the Humanities touring speaker traveling the state with lecture/readings of Thomas and on Royall Tyler.
McLean worked with Guilford’s Monteverdi Players to produce in 1976 what is believed to have been the first-ever performance of Tyler’s play, The Island of Barrataria, later producing Guilford composer Zeke Hecker’s musical based upon the play. As a composer, McLean set seven of Tyler’s lyric poems as a choral cycle, Vermont Nocturnes (1981), premiered by the Guilford Chamber Singers, and performed in five Vermont towns and broadcast on Vermont Public Radio.
In 1991 McLean collaborated with Christina Gibbons on the play, True as Steel, based upon the writings of Royall and Mary Palmer Tyler, which was a Vermont Bicentennial production. The play was again performed as part of the Brattleboro Words Project presentations on the Tylers in 2018, for which McLean, a member of the Project committee, worked on a roundtable discussion and exhibit on the Tylers. He also assisted on the 2019 Words Project exhibit, film showing and lecture on author, Mary Wilkins Freeman. He is currently at work on a presentation for next year on South Newfane poet William Mundell.