Your heart looks back on all those goodbyes that lead up to this. Those first steps onto a school bus. Overnights at 6th grade camp Spending a week in a hotel cheering at state wrestling. Milestones on a journey that leads to this day of leaving your baby girl at college.
And you spend all day ignoring the last 3 minutes of a goodbye you have known was coming for 18 years.
It's that tug of love inside your heart that speaks loudest. The part of your heart where it knows its known. The why we were created in the first place spot. It's that exact part that is undetected by any human instrument that screams out, "Hey I am suffering here at the moment."
And you step back and realize maybe for the bazillionth time that it costs something to love and if you did love wrong it wouldn't hurt so much to let go even for a brief moment.
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.