Open Any Door
Fan Tribute to Open Any Door
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2011
Open Any Door
I'm so happy to say that I've met Brother Dan Whitley! He's the author of the music: Open Any Door...and the director of Dan Whitley Music School.
When I as little, my dad played this record for us over and over for Family Home Evening. I truly believe that this music (and Saturday's Warrior) helped to shape my understanding of what the gospel really means to me in my life. So, when I called Dan to get his address and find his music studio...I was really more like a band groupie! (Yes-Eric, your right). My heart was pounding and my hand shook as I held the camera. I was determined to shake his hand and buy a CD for my dad though. His birthday was last week...and I needed to find him this gift.
I was so surprised at how close by the music studio really is to me, now that I live up here in the Salt Lake area. I read all about Brother Whitley on-line and looked at the youtube video's on his wall. The record album picture was familiar and I wanted to know, just which of the three men on the cover was Dan Whitley? *He told me the middle guy holding the guitar. I had emailed him earlier and told him that if he saw a little Eskimo woman driving a brown mini-van near his street...THAT was me! He shook my hand when I walked in, and he asked me where I was from? I told him Alaska and he said he had friends in Anchorage.
We sat down and he played the piano and sang...and it took all my energy to not cry! It was so amazing to be listening to nostalgic songs from my childhood and singing with the man who wrote them. I let him know that I've been a HUGE fan since the early seventies. My Aunt Linda, who had lived in California (till her early death from cancer) had given our family this record.
The band had been formed there in California, and Dan says the song ideas came from teaching Sunday School. These were the words and thoughts that they shared in lesson plans taught in class. That makes so much sense! These songs explain the gospel in a real contemporary musical way...catchy little tunes that stay in your brain. I want my kids to appreciate the songs and answer the questions in there own lives. "Who am I? Where did I come from? Who am I? Where am I going?". I'm linking these songs to another web-page...so you can hear the tune for yourself-just click and play. It would be so wonderful if this next generation could see the beauty to this music also.
Until then, I'll play my autographed CD in my car as I drive along the streets, and hope that my six year old learns the tunes like I did, when I was little too. Thank you Aunt Linda and to my dad also for noticing a very valuable piece of music. I feel "Joy, joy...real joy!".
John Neal, Recording Engineer, Paramount Pictures, Glen Glen Sound. In 1971 John was a neighbor to Dan in Woodland Hils, CA. He was working with Desi Lou (I Love Lucy) Productions recording Barbara Streisand and doing film score work when he invited Nick, Bob, and Dan into the studio and asked them to play something orginal. Dan pulled out his nylon string guitar and they recorded the basic track to "Who Am I". Seven months later Open Any Door was born. And John's engineering and producing genius, humbly called Dr Quad, created a discreet four-channel mix of the first contemporary LDS musical of it's kind. In 2012 we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the musical co-written by Gordon Jump, Mike Wurgler, Dan and Bonnie Whitley, Nick Pepper, and Bob Morphis. Plans are in the making to have a 2012 40-year reunion for anyone involved in the stage production, recording, or as a customer. Our hope would be to have the lyrics translated into Spanish and do it as a multi-cultural celebration. Anyone interested in being a part of this reunion please feel free to contact us.
Photo gallery from 1972.