The last refrainĀ 

No where in a music score does it tell a listener how to react properly. When you read music as you play it’ll cue your brain to manipulate the instrument that you are playing into crescendos or fortissimo or some other type of expression, but it doesn’t give the listener any cues as to how the music will affect their heart.  It’s up to you the musician to put  passion and voice into the music to make it memorable for the listener. 

He was the former band director of our little school in Iowa, and he passed away in a bike accident a few short days ago. Last night as I sat in the hot gym I sat with  his friends and family as we listened to speeches, scriptures and songs given in honor of a man who devoted his life to the art of making sure the listener listened to the music being played. 

His friend spoke of times they adventured. His oldest daughter spoke of his love for doing small things everyday to master anything.  Love poured out of the lifelong friend who sang “Bourning Cry.” Then there was a band, 40 steller musicians that offered their time and talent to honor the legacy of a man who had touched them in some way. 

I listened to the music played by this all star band made up of former students, colleagues, and lifelong friends and my heart captured a glimpse of deeper things that happen when one gives their time to play in a band. The diligence of practice that must occur. The friendships that form between people who play the same instument. The sheer grit it takes sometimes to get through learning a new song or instrument. And for this band specifically, it was the beauty of many parts making something amazing together to honor a man who knew God consistently, loved his family emmensly, and gave over 30 years of his life to the art of making music in the local school. 


Mr Dahn, you’ll be missed by this community you called home. You’ll be missed by generations of band students you so patiently guided and lead over your years as band director, but most importantly your life will be missed by a whole host of people that you encouraged excellence from simply because your passion for great music was contagious. 

To hear her sing.

Giggling like a school girl in third grade she grabs her mother’s hand and pulls her close. “Oh mom, did you ever see such a sight?” Her mother nods and a knowing smile crosses her face.    The concert is the highlight of the day. A pinnacle of hourly acts that are assigned upon arrival according to your likes and dislikes, skills and gifts. Everyone involved has a job, and no job is small or overbearing or heavy on one persons shoulders. They all work together happily attending to their own work, mastering their craft, with an air of worship and joy.  

Some, like her mother, have been attending to lush gardens day after day in preparation for this event. The plethora of unique blends of colors and scents of each flower they have chosen adds to the expectation of what is to be. 

 Her father is there too, a tall man who is putting the extra touches and tweaks on the carriage that will deliver the guest of honor to the concert. She glimpses her brother working alongside her father and she whispers to herself as she shakes her head in a knowing belief, “He is just as amazing as his dad.”  

 In a few hours she’ll head to makeup and hair and put on her one of a kind designed robe and she will stand and sing. Her voice will lift with millions of others, but she will feel like the only one in the room. Her emotions swelling into one phrase. 

“Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”

         A million miles or more away, her daughter, who can’t be at the concert yet, will be slightly jealous of the Savior of the World. Simply because He gets to hear her mother’s voice and she can’t. At least not yet…the daughter still has work here on earth to accomplish for the King.