Rock band reunites for Homecoming events
Bruce Springsteen sang about people who pined for their "Glory Days."
Morningside College alum Dan Horswell of South Euclid, Ohio, also had his glory days as a member of The 7 Sons rock band back in the 1960s.
Some four decades later, Horswell -- retired from Rockwell Automation as project manager in Information Technology -- is playing as much music today as he was back then.
"My wife Barbara and I are both involved with The Singing Angels, which is a performing chorus comprised of youth," he said. "I am also playing and singing in two Cleveland area bands with the emphasis on '50s and '60s rock and roll and early '70s Motown.
"I don’t know how I ever had time to work in the corporate world!" Horswell joked.
The 7 Sons return to Morningside next weekend and will be featured as part of the college's Homecoming/Family Weekend.
Horswell, a 1964 graduate of Armstrong (Iowa) High School, choose Morningside College for two reasons.
"My father had attended the college for one year in the 1930s and Morningside was a highly respected institution for music, both for performance and to become a music educator," he recalled. "I entered college as a declared instrumental music education major with the tenor saxophone as my primary instrument."
The 7 Sons met as pledges into the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. The core group was Rick Mellor, Rick Knobe and Horswell.
"We learned about each others' music background and playing in local rock and roll bands during high school days," Horswell said. "Early in the fall of 1964 we decided to express ourselves musically. The group formed as a result of our love of music."
Over a period of several weeks, the three musicians met the other four members, Doug Dingel, Alan Oliver, Bill Woolery and Ed Wade. Larry Dixon came to Morningside in the fall of 1965 and replaced Woolery as the drummer.
The group originally called themselves The Rising Sons.
"But we were informed that was an infringement on the rights for that name," Horswell said. "Another band had claimed it already. Since there were seven of us it was a natural progression from Rising to Seven."
The group's first engagement was the Morningside College Commons, early in 1965, Horswell said.
"We became local celebrities and that included a TV appearance in Sioux Falls that was a local 'American Bandstand' show, judging local band contests, modeling clothes for one of the large downtown department stores, and appearing at homecomings and multiple venues in the area," he reminisced. "I especially remember Heelan High's homecomings, Sioux City's auditorium, and several of the live music night spots downtown where we performed."
The 7 Sons cut numerous records and toured through the Midwest with national acts like The Lovin' Spoonful, Herman's Hermits and the Fifth Dimension. They performed actively until the late '60s when members began graduating and moving on. In 2002 The 7 Sons was named to the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame for their diverse variety of rock, R&B, pop and cover tunes, plus choreography.
"I can tell you that Alan Oliver was a phenomenal dancer who brought the group to life with his choreography," Horswell said.
Does that mean a future gig on ABC-TV's "Dancing with the Stars?"
"That’s a wonderful thought," Horswell admitted, "but I think that age has caught up with us and we wouldn't be 'flashy' enough for television today."
If you go
Food, music and football will be part of Morningside College's Homecoming/Family Weekend,
The weekend features a ribs and chicken barbecue at the Lewis Bowl Annex, 3828 Stadium Drive, beginning at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 2. Rock and roll groups The Velaires will open at 7 p.m. for The 7 Sons who will take the stage at 8 p.m.
The football game against Dana College begins at 2 p.m. Oct. 3 at Olsen Stadium. "Taste of Morningside," featuring a number of food vendors, follows at 4:30 p.m. across from Dimmitt Hall. The Magnificent Board of Directors will provide music. Children's activities will be set up. A fireworks display will cap the events at 7:30 p.m.
More information can be found at the "Alumni & Friends" section of morningside.edu or by calling 274-5107.