In this edition of the Fort Wayne Falcon, we will be highlighting Dann Zehr g89. We had the opportunity to interview Dann earlier this summer to find out where God has led him since his graduation from FWBC in 1989.
Dann began by sharing with us what led him to live in Tennessee after graduating college and the ways his career has changed over the years. After graduating with a Bachelor of Music Education from FWBC, Dann set out for Kentucky to audition for the baritone part in a Gospel group. He made the cut and traveled for two and a half years, recording three group CDs that included some of his original songs. Circumstances changed in 1994, however, and Dann left Kentucky and his life on the road in twenty U.S. States, where he had been singing 15-20 times a month, and began working as the National Sales Director for Clydesdale Music Group, a small Christian label in Nashville, TN. He worked at Clydesdale for five years, until their business was bought out by Malaco Christian Distribution in 1999 and his job moved to Franklin, TN. After a couple of years at Malaco, Dann transitioned again and was offered a position at what eventually became Butterfly Media Group. He remained at Butterfly for three years and through four different sets of owners until he felt led to move on to Spring Arbor/Ingram, where he currently works as a wholesale book and Bible buyer for the Ingram warehouses located in Roseburg, OR; Chambersburg, PA; LaVergne, TN; and Fort Wayne, IN!
While on tour in 1992, Dann met Ashley at her home church in Church Hill, TN. Two years later, on December 10, 1994, Dann and Ashley were married. One of the main reasons Dann stopped traveling was due to a Scripture passage (Deut. 24:5) that his roommate, who is now a pastor, shared with him. Last December, Dann and Ashley celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Ashley currently teaches Pre-K four days a week at their church. She also works as a Social Worker who serves individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental health diagnoses. They have three children: Elijah, a senior at Middle Tennessee State University; Macklin, a sophomore at Middle Tennessee; and Sophie, a sophomore in high school.
One of Dann’s hobbies throughout the years has been art. He began devoting time to his artwork over twenty years ago and since then, including commissioned paintings, he has sold around fifty original pieces! His website features many of his paintings. Besides his two grandfathers, who also painted, a major inspiration for Dann to create artwork was his FWBC class with Sonja Strahm entitled Intro toArt. “I really loved learning about the masters, and she taught us to see the differences with them, their styles, [and] took us on a field trip to the Chicago Art Museum,” Dann said.
Not only has Dann laid his own legacy, beginning at FWBC, but his parents also left a legacy intertwined with the college. Dann’s father, Tom Zehr g54, was a graduate and part of one iteration of the Crusaders Quartet, as well as a member of the Faculty Four quartet with Ira Gerig, Tim Warner, and Harlan Wright. His Mother, Marceil (Sumney) Zehrg52 also graduated with her music degree and later worked as secretary to Bill Gerig in Alumni Relations for many years. During the course of our interview, Dann mentioned many times the impact that FWBC and those who served there had on his life. Dann said that his training at FWBC prepared him for his eventual career as a book and Bible buyer, and it also created a hunger in him to study God’s word that still lives in him to this day. To see the full interview, you can visit Dann’s website here.