More than a few times since moving into the Melody Building, we have been asked, “Who is that on your hold music?” We have even been asked to place people back on hold so they can listen to the rest of the song. The short of it is it is our good friend from Willamette University, John Doan. The longer story by Monte is more fun:
Back in 1989, we had just moved in to the new dormitory on campus, Kaneko Hall, the upper floors of the sister college branch named Tokyo International University of America. There was a celebration of the opening of TIUA going on outside that the Japanese exchange students were invited to, but not their American roommates, so I was unpacking when I heard something beautiful wafting in from down below. I knew music, but this was not quite guitar and was not quite harp. It was something else. I looked down from the balcony to see a large tent and a man on a stage with a large instrument playing that music. As he ended, I let a single word slip from my lips. “Wow!” He looked up, smiled, and started into the next song.
I got to know him and his music. John was the school’s only guitar instructor for the music department. One of our classmates took music as a major just to have John as his mentor. And the instrument? A modern harp guitar with added treble strings. John explained that he had a fascination with Victorian era stringed instruments including the banjo, guitar/harp guitar, autoharps, and mandolins. I cannot describe for you how much his teaching and his music mean to me. Perhaps you can learn yourself in sampling his music at www.johndoan.com.