|YSU Dana School of Music Records-- Historical Sketch|
In October 1869, William Henry Dana opened Dana's Musical Institute in a rented room on the corner of Market Street and Main Street in Warren, Ohio. From this beginning, Dana established a music school that withstood the test of time to become "one of the six oldest continuously functioning music schools in America.
After serving in the Civil War, Dana briefly attended the Williston Seminary in Massachusetts. He returned to Warren and worked with his father, Junius Dana, as a civil engineer. This career was short-lived. In 1867, he left Warren for Friendship, New York to study at the Allegany Academy of Music. After completing a three-year course in two years, he returned to Warren as a music professor.
Largely financed by his father, Dana immersed himself in his new school. Students were required to practice individually four hours a day in addition to a heavy regimen of course work and weekly performances. The goal of D.M.I., as the school came to be called, was to produce professional musicians. Numerous opera companies and concert bands offered employment across the country and the globe. As job opportunities arose, students dropped out of D.M.I., often returning when the job ended. While this fluidity worked well for students, it strapped the institute financially. Nevertheless, the school continued to provide an income for three generations of the Dana family.
In 1869 there were no governmental requirements for music schools. Dana was able to set up his curriculum, standards, and requirements as he saw fit. Yet, as the state become more involved in public education, the requirements for all schools, D.M.I. included, became more stringent. Ohio attached academic requirements to the musical curriculum that D.M.I. faculty were not accredited to teach. To provide them, the Dana's formed associations with area colleges such as Hiram College and Kent State University's Warren branch.
Surviving the Great Depression and state intervention proved taxing on D.M.I. throughout the 1930s. Financial difficulties combined with increasing state requirements forced the institute to explore a merger or affiliation with a college or university to retain full accreditation. Due to the failing health of Lynn Dana, Sr., the work of orchestrating such a merger fell to his son, Lynn Dana, Jr. The most promising collaboration proved to be with the new Youngstown College in Youngstown, Ohio.
Youngstown College had its beginnings as a Y.M.C.A. reading room. The educational needs of the Youngstown community spawned an incredible growth of the endeavor and it soon blossomed into a fully functioning college. In 1929, the college began to establish its own music department. By the time Lynn Dana, Jr. approached the Board of Governors, the music department was ready to expand and eagerly accepted the D.M.I. faculty, students, and instruments into its fold.
While the merger did ensure the continuation of D.M.I., the move from Warren weighed heavily on the hearts of the Dana family and the Institute's faculty. The fortunes of Warren and D.M.I. intertwined in a unique way. D.M.I. and the Dana family were political and cultural leaders in the city and their presence was sorely missed. Youngstown, however, benefited from the move. The fledgling music school inherited the prestige of the long established D.M.I. The two faculties and student bodies achieved a cohesiveness rarely seen after a merger. By September 1941, the move from Warren was complete and the new school, known as the Dana Institute of Music of Youngstown College, began to pave its own road.Currently known as the Dana School of Music, the department continues to grow and evolve. While preserving the fundamentals of fine musicianship, the department expands with changing tastes in popular music and theory. While current students may not know the source of the school's name, the mission of William Henry Dana remains—to produce professional musicians of the highest caliber.