Barstow Jr. High School Band Director Dan Barilone was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, mainly in Alhambra and West Covina.
He is the oldest of four children and the first to graduate from college. Barilone is an Army veteran serving in the Army Band at Fort Ord from 1974 through 1977.
“Before starting my career as a music teacher I had several jobs,” he said. “If I can remember them, they were bottle cleaner for a dairy farm, painter, wall paper hanger, delivery driver, construction and a few other things. My wife Kim and I have four children and four grandchildren (with another one on the way) - all of whom are healthy and happy.”
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I like to golf, fish, watch football and baseball. On occasion I'll go to a game and watch it live at the stadium. Those teams would be the Angels and the Chargers. We won't go there.
Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A: My father taught me, as most parents do, about the rights and the wrongs, but a lot about responsibility, and accountability. He brought up my siblings and me in such a way that there was never fear in our home but respect. Well except for my brother, but that's another story. I was actually 26 years old before I spoke harshly to him. And I remember shaking in my boots as I did. When we were younger my dad worked three jobs and never heard him complain about any of it.
Q: Where do you find deep satisfaction?
A: Listening to good music. Creating music (composing) and listening to it being performed. There is no greater rush for me than standing in front of my bands conducting and hearing them perform something that they've absolutely nailed.
Q: What are the top three issues facing Barstow and what is your take on them?
A: Welfare abuse, schools’ images, and losing businesses.
It's sad and quite often irritating to observe the way people abuse a system that was intended to help get on their feet and then move on. Our government (both state and local) has made it too easy to get a free 'hand-out'. Welfare is not supposed to be a life-style.
No. 2. I'm an educator and I get frustrated with people that constantly put down our education system; especially our Barstow Schools. We have good schools, we really do. I'm extremely proud to be a teacher in this district and be able to take my bands to other cities and counties and show off 'Barstow'.
No. 3. I know that our economy has hit us hard, there's no doubt about it. But it's really been sad to see some of our landmark businesses close their doors. I'm not an economist so I can't give any answers, but it's been a real disappointment to watch Barstow shrivel up that way.
Q: Tell us about a happy memory in your first car.
A: My first car was a 1977 Toyota Celica GT Hatchback. It was Metallic Blue with spoke wheels and it was just the coolest thing. I took a weekend off from the Army to come home and I don't know how my Dad knew, but when I walked in the door he had $1,000. waiting for me. That was my down payment and what a feeling it was to take off in that thing and head back up the coast for the first time in my own car. Wow.
Q: What personal trait do you treasure most and why?
A: I think I'm most known for my stare over the glasses. That's kind of my look that I use mostly with my students. They know that look pretty well. When I see pictures of it, it reminds me of my dad and my sister.
Q: What music gets you moving?
A: I like Big Band Swing, R&B and some good old fashioned gospel quartets. My absolute favorites groups are 'Tower of Power' and 'Chicago'. And have you heard the Tony Bennett Duets? Amazing!
Q: Tell us about your pets.
A: We have a cat named Nona. It was named by our grand-daughter. That's all I have to say about the cat — I'm not a fan. We also have a dog named Tutu. I don't what it is — I'm not up on dogs. She's fast and our grand-daughter has fun with her.
Q: Who was your hero as a kid? Do you have a hero today? (or someone you especially admire?)
A: When I was a kid everybody's hero was Superman. When I started playing Little League, as well as the older leagues and high school ball, my hero was Willie Mays. As a musician my hero is Doc Kupka from the soul band 'Tower of Power'. There isn't a baritone sax player alive that doesn't want to sound like him. I'm 56 years old and I still am trying to sound like him. As a composer, my hero/idol is John Williams. They don't come any better than him.
Q: What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
A: I have never really done anything adventurous. I'm kind of boring that way.
Q: Tell us about your three favorite movies. One that makes you laugh? One that makes you weep? One that inspires you?
A: “Stripes” with Bill Murray, “Brian's Song” with Billy Dee Williams and James Caan, and “Forrest Gump” with Tom Hanks. Once again as an Army guy “Stripes” was so out there it was just hilarious. All of the “that would have never happened” to “we had guys that did something that stupid” made the movie fun to watch. Everybody was talking about Brian's Song at school the next day. Everybody said they cried — and I mean everybody.
And who wasn't on Forrest Gump's side in that movie. The producer and director did ground breaking stuff with a great character. Absolutely brilliant.
Q: What makes you tick?
A: Being creative — working on music, wood-working projects, etc.
Q: What are your hopes, dreams, ambitions?
A: To retire healthy (81⁄2 years to go) with my wife Kim, see our children be successful and happy at what they're doing, and watch our grandchildren grow up to be good responsible young adults.
Q: If you could change one thing about Barstow today, what would it be?
A: Figure out a way to use the history and heritage of Barstow to build it back up and not let it shrivel up anymore. We don't want to be the next 'ghost town'. Unfortunately, I don't have those answers, but I'm sure there is someone out there that might.
Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.
A: Compose the music score for a motion picture. That would be the ultimate accomplishment for me as a composer.
Q: What are five things you are grateful for?
A: My Wife and family, my faith, my job along with my colleagues, my friends, my fellow musicians.
Q: What’s your best advice for a strong marriage?
A: Make sure you communicate and communicate often.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: I believe God gives me inspiration in different ways for different things. It could be a Sunday sermon, quiet while fishing, the waves at the beach, watching young ones sleep, I never know.
Q: What are your three favorite places to eat in Barstow?
A: Dinapoli's, Los Domingo's, Panda Palace.
Q: How can readers get a hold of you?
A: My school e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone is (760) 255-6204, my school web-site is teacherweb.com/ca/barstowjrhighschoo/barilone, my personal web-site is danbarilonemusic.yolasite.com.
Who would you like to see profiled in an upcoming Q&A? Drop us a line at DHolland@DesertDispatch.com.