D.J. Himstedt describes his path through life as a little more unusual than most. Dennis Himstedt, better known as D.J., has jumped from musician to lawyer to private investigator and so much more in between. But even today, he refuses to limit himself to one profession. In fact, you could say that nowadays, he has more on his plate than ever before.
After growing up in Texas, D.J. continued on to college at Stephen F. Austin State University to pursue his life-long passion for performance by procuring a degree in music. His love of music in high school motivated him to make this hobby a career. However, after two years of studying, he changed his course. He decided he wanted to take his life in a different direction. Instead, he transferred to the University of Houston where he earned a degree in finance, moving to Colorado soon after at age 23. He then returned to school at the University of Denver for a Juris Doctor degree. After several years of practicing law, the young lawyer decided to begin work as a private investigator, starting his own company, Legal Investigations, Inc., which he still runs today. In this capacity he deals with accident claims and insurance, and works closely with auto manufacturers. “Every case is a little bit different,” he says.
But throughout the years, he found his way back to his musical passion. After settling down in the Evergreen area with his family, his two daughters, Mariah and Katherine, brought him back to his love of music. “Mariah started to get into music and so I started to get back into it with her,” D.J. says.
The lawyer-turned-investigator re-started his musical career by accompanying on the piano for some of his daughters’ shows at Prelude to Evergreen Children’s Chorale and Evergreen High School’s “Madrigal.” He then began helping out with the EHS choir department by substituting for the full-time accompanist. But in 2008, when the accompanist left, D.J. took the job. Since then, he has taken on even more musical roles in the community, becoming an active member of the Evergreen Chorale. If he’s not performing on stage in shows like “Carousel” or “An Evening with Disney,” he’s helping out by playing piano at rehearsals or assistant directing. He also sits on the Chorale’s Board of Directors. D.J. continues to lend his talents on the piano whenever needed to the Chorale, to the Stagedoor theater in Conifer, and, of course, as EHS’s full-time accompanist.
Despite running his own business and playing for several choral and performance groups, he has found time to also do some teaching. Using his knowledge as the former Indian Hills Fire Chief, he teaches two online courses for Colorado State University about fire emergency services. He also travels around the state teaching a course on operating an emergency vehicle. Along with teaching, D.J. says he also continues to do some legal work for friends, but focuses most of his time on his business.
Whether he’s teaching, investigating, or playing the piano, D.J. certainly knows how to keep life interesting. In his minimal spare time, he says he loves reading and scuba diving with his family. Between his colorful résumé and his contagious, upbeat attitude, D.J. is definitely someone who’s nice to know.