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When he was finished, up went the windows, on went the air conditioners, and off went the caravan to the next location: Woodruff High School, Fogelberg Parkway...
I laughed when I heard that, and it’s still one of my favorite images from the weekend.
After the unveiling, Hugh Higgins shared some remarks about the lyric choices on the stones.
Deb Jelinek, who is the founder and director of Dan's endorsed fan website, thelivinglegacy.net, as well as an ordained minister, gave a heartfelt blessing, then Peoria musician Barry Cloyd played guitar and sang "Ever On" as a sailboat sailed by on the river and dragonflies, butterflies and birds swooped and soared.
The Welcome Party The mood was one of excitement: after months of anticipation and planning, it was all actually happening.
We dressed in our finery, and the women all looked beautiful and the men all handsome. ”People who cried when they’d heard the news of Dan’s passing and tried to explain their tears to friends and family were now among 450 others who had felt that same sense of loss. I wondered how many people in that room had stood together in a theatre, arena or amphitheater in the '70s, '80s or '90s without meeting? We mingled, talked, ate, reminisced and ended up on the dance floor, swaying with our arms intertwined, singing at the top of our lungs. On stage was a revolving group of talented musicians who weren’t there to sell their latest CD or further their careers.
Hugh had kept a small part of his plan a secret: three small boulders set alongside the riverwalk path leading to the memorial site had the lyrics to "Ever On" etched into them.
How he managed to get all of that approved by the various city entities while also organizing a tribute concert is still a mystery to me.
Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis gave a speech, and introduced Peoria Park District Trustee Roger Allen, who added to the opening comments.
They were there to play the songs that had shaped them as musicians and as people, and to pay homage to the man who had given them those songs.
Jon Asher, Terry Walters and Robyn Sleeth, of Dan's high school band The Coachmen, reunited after 42 years to honor Dan.
A few couples bought six packs, and quite possibly, drank them in their cars.