GENESEO – Music's a team sport for a Geneseo family.
Dr. Tom Daniels, a Geneseo dentist, his wife, Becky Daniels, and their four children, all are involved in music, from playing instruments to singing.
Their three sons, Seth, Michael and Will Daniels, also have been standouts in Geneseo's football program. Mr. Daniels also played football for all four of his years at Geneseo, while also serving as president of the school's choir and band in his senior year.
He and his wife trace their love of music to their childhoods and school days, when they were "in all levels of band," Mrs. Daniels said. She played the clarinet. He still plays trumpet.
Their daughter, Rachel Daniels, also plays the trumpet.
They are members of a Green River Boys dance band which will next play Friday, Dec. 14, at the Geneseo Moose Lodge.
Music is a "life sport,'' Dr. Daniels said.
''Although sports will end at some point for everyone, music lasts forever," he said. "My parents are 78 years young and still singing and playing. Music stimulates the brain and avoids concussions, broken bones and torn ligaments. Music has brought us together and has kept us together. It is something we all love and will enjoy forever."
After his high-school days were over, Dr. Daniels continued his love for music at Augustana College, where he was in choir and in a smaller Chamber Singers ensemble,.
The couple began dating when asked to sing at weddings.
"The first wedding where we sang was in the fall of 1984," Mrs. Daniels said. "We both had other dates. We sang again in spring and later in July. A family friend told me at that wedding reception that she didn't know Tom and I were dating. … I said 'neither did I.' By August, we were, and the rest is history."
Dr. Daniels' parents -- Dr. Bob Daniels and his wife, Norma Daniels -- are musicians, and began dating in high school when they were in the Bobby Daniels Band. They later joined the Green River Boys dance band and played two to three times a week in the Quad-Cities area.
After Dr. Tom Daniels graduated from dental school, he returned to Geneseo and was invited to join the Green River Band.
''Twenty-five years later, Becky and I, and now our kids, are still playing with the Green River Band for dances, fundraisers and anniversary parties, although much less frequently due to the busy schedules of our children."
Seth Daniels plays bass with the family band. Michael Daniels is on saxophone. Dr. Daniels plays guitar and the horn occasionally. Will Daniels plays the oboe, and Rachel Daniels has been singing with the family since she was able to talk, her mother said. Rachel plans to debut on her cornet during the Dec. 14 gig.
Dr. Daniels said he thoroughly enjoys playing dance music from the 1930s, '40s and '50s, ''singing gospel is my very favorite," he said said. "Harmonizing with Becky while singing gospel medleys is a real 'spiritual high' for me."
Mrs. Daniels has a music education degree and taught vocal music in Cambridge schools. She directs the adult and junior choirs at Grace United Methodist Church in Geneseo, where she also leads the junior group with hand chimes.
''One of my favorite parts of working with the choirs at church is the multigenerational aspect," she said. "We practice each week from September through May, and really get to know each other and become very close. Our choir has some high school students as well as senior citizens. We have kids come home from college to sing with us, and they are greeted by choir members who are 50-plus years older than they are, whom they see as friends. Brothers and sisters in Christ making music together. Really special.
"Music is such a natural part of who I am," Mrs. Daniels said.
Her parents, Alan and Connie Yager, of Geneseo, were ''very supportive of my involvement in music and they too were both in choir in school,'' Mrs. Daniels said.
''My kids tease me when I sing in the car because they tell me 'none of our friends do that,' '' she said. ''I can't understand why they wouldn't sing. I love it when my kids sing-along in the car or wherever."
After all, the Daniels consider music as a team sport.
The Daniels family biobox
Dr. Tom Daniels: Grace Church choir member, plays guitar for primary department; occasionally plays guitar and trumpet at church and sings with the Pleasant Valley Men music group. Becky Daniels: directs adult and junior choirs, leads junior group with chimes at Grace Church. Seth Daniels, 19: freshman at University of Iowa, showed sheep with 4-H at national level more than 10 years until this year; former Geneseo High School All-Conference football player; All-State Tenor; plays the euphonium, string bass and electric bass. Michael Daniels, 17: Geneseo High School senior; All-Conference football; All-Conference baseball; All-State Concert and Jazz Band; plays saxophone, guitar and some piano and is in school choir. Will Daniels, 15: Geneseo High School freshman; football, basketball, track; plays oboe and piano, preferring classical music; high school band and choir member. Rachel Daniels, 11: sixth grade; plays trumpet, piano, is in choir, band and jazz band; Spitfire Soccer team; shows her horse and sheep with 4-H.
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