Monday, December 17, 2007

Auld Lang Syne - Ah I Knew You Well!

This morning's news includes the passing of my favorite balladeer....Dan Fogelberg. His songs included; The Run For The Roses; Auld Lang Syne; and, The Leader of The Band.

The thing about this musician is, I knew him. Not as a friend, but as someone who passed through my life.

Dan's ballad about his father Larry Fogelberg (The Leader of The Band) has always been special to me as I was a student of Larry Fogelberg's. Larry directed my high school band (Pekin, Illinois) and also the Bradley University Band where I played during my last three years of high school as Larry did not have enough musicians...particularly trombone players (we were the pep band for the then-powerhouse Bradley Braves of the Missouri Valley Conference)! In his retirement years he even directed the Municipal Band in Pekin in which I played for several years.

I remember in high school when Larry used to bring along his snot-nosed son, Dan, who then must have been about 6-8 years of age...and already quite a pianist. He and his two older brothers were all swimmers, and one year when we had a swim party to close the high school band year, I raced the two older boys in a free style swim. I beat them. They went to Dad Larry and complained and he came to race me. This barrel-chested man, then in his 50s, beat me badly! Later he confided what few if any of us then knew.....In 1932 Larry Fogelberg was the Olympic back up swimmer for free style champ Johnny Weismueller! Oh yes, Larry also was, as the song said, director of the Navy Band in WWII! Quite an accomplished man who produced an equally accomplished son.

Dan died of cancer after a three year battle. He was 56.

His songs still reside in my music library for occasional playing....usually accompanied by a round of warm remembrances for his father, a fine musician and dedicated man who brought good instrumental music to thousands in Central Illinois. And for Dan who warmed many a lover with his ballads, written from personal experience.

R.I.P. Dan.


UPDATE: Many others are also posting on Dan's passing and his life.....

Michelle Malkin has thoughts and music!

Capt. Ed at Captain's Quarters tells the story and garners lots of comments.