* AND THE MUSIC PLAYS ON by Charles Musgrave
Posted by loiswstern
Dan Johns is the ultimate all-round musician in our band – a tremendous leader with lots of enthusiasm. He started playing as a grade school child and joined a dance band in junior high school. Dan was an exceptional musician. He was chosen to play in every all-state high school band in Nebraska. Recognizing his talent as well as his thorough enjoyment of music, Dan’s band director suggested that he continue his musical studies in college. However, the United States Armed Services called him first to play in several army bands.
When he was discharged, Dan did enter a college music education program and signed up for the Nebraska Cornhusker marching band. The university band director, Dr. Don Lentz, selected Dan to be head Drum Major because he already had plenty of trumpets and needed someone tall to direct the band on the football field.
Dan in college as head Drum Major
Academically, Dan found that he also had a talent for woodworking and carpentry. He graduated with a degree from the Vocational Department so he could teach Wood Shop to high school students. Soon afterwards, Dan obtained a teaching position in Colorado at their new high school in Springs, Colorado, where he spent the rest of his teaching career.
But that’s not the end of this story, only the beginning! You see, his trumpet was his best friend (after his new wife, Jean) and he continued playing it in local dance bands every chance he got.. He landed a job as lead trumpet in the Tavern Band at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and played there for 30 years. During that time, as many musicians did, he was a smoker without thinking too much about it. It was just a way to pass the time during breaks in the “gig.”
Jean and Dan retired to Arizona in 2001 because breathing in the high country of Colorado was becoming a problem and he had been diagnosed with C.O.P.D.
Dan with his wife Jean
The dry desert air was what made life a lot more tolerable for him and his playing. He immediately volunteered with several of the bands in Sun City, Arizona. He found that several dance bands and concert bands were looking for talented retirees. He sat first chair in every band, and life was good. But during the next 10 years, breathing continued to become more and more difficult.
Dan after his move to Arizona
In 2009, the doctors suggested that oxygen would alleviate some of the stress caused by the COPD. As most patients of this disease know, it is a “downhill run” as the body continues to lose lung capacity. He tried to hide it from his friends for quite some time, until I challenged him to forget his vanity, and improve his performance.
Dan, with some oxygen support, blowing his horn
In the spring of 2011, Dan’s medical condition worsened and he became weaker, needing more oxygen than his failing lungs could provide. Dan entered the local Del Webb hospital for tests to evaluate his lung function, which was found to be at only 15%. As his breathing became more stressful, he had to take more rest periods assisted by larger and larger doses of morphine.
The members of the Desert Brass band wanted to give Dan a surprise concert at the hospital. I approached the hospital administrator with the idea. He gave us his full support. and even allowed us to gather beneath his window for this event. Dan was beside himself with emotion. He couldn’t believe his own eyes and ears. To think that his colleagues would give of their time and talent to support him. It was so inspiring to watch his face.
Finally, Dan’s doctors determined that his body was in need of more care than the hospital could provide and called for Hospice supportive services to step in. Their mission was to maintain him while keeping his pain and stress levels to a minimum.
THIS STORY CONTINUES IN THE TALES2INSPIRE™
About loiswsternI was in education for just over 20 years when I unexpectedly pursued another passion and entered the world of authors and journalists. I have since published two non-fiction, full length books on different aspects of beauty, but also avidly endorse the confluence of Inner and Outer beauty. I have written feature articles for Long Island Beauty Guide and LI Woman, and have served as Editor-at-large for MakeMeHeal.com, the largest Internet site for plastic surgery and beauty needs. I enjoy researching what's new in the world of aesthetics & anti-aging and devote one of my blogs: www.FabulousBeautyBlog.wordpress.com to sharing cutting edge, hype-free information. I devote my second blog to my other passion: writing, collecting and sharing stories to warm the spirit and inspire the soul. To this end, I have created an 'Authors Helping Authors' project/contest, to create books for inspiration, the first of which is titled: Tales 2 Inspire ~ Beyond Coincidence. It is a jewel of a book, filled with inspiring stories and full color original photos and/or drawings. If you're a talented writer with one inspiring story to share, visit www.tales2inspire.com to learn how to participate. FREE to enter. All you need is the talent and perseverance to do so. Lots of positive platform building opportunities for the winners. Learn more at: www.tales2inspire.com.
Posted on February 5, 2013, in "Tales2Inspire Writer's Contest", Authors helping authors project, Tales2Inspire, Tales2Inspire Contest, TALES2INSPIRE WRTERS CONTEST and tagged "authors helping authors project", "authors helping authors", "CREATOR OF THE TALES2INSPIRE CONTEST", "inspirational stories", author, Lois W. Stern, Tales2Inspire. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.