Dana Kemp is a trumpet player who was a member of the Berkeley Community Chorus Orchestra for many years, frequently featured as a soloist. Born with hydrocephalus, Dana remained small in stature and had developmental disabilities. Music saved him from what might have been a limited life. Instead, his talent and a transformative joy he found in music made him an inspiration to all who knew him.
Dana played in many bands and orchestras around the Bay Area including the San Jose Orchestra and the Kensington Community Orchestra. He formed his own Dixieland Jazz Band and played for many years in summer concerts in Golden Gate Park and in small venues around the Bay.
He occupied much of each day listening to classical music on the radio and was a frequent caller to the local radio station to make requests. He became known to the on-air personalities, who grew to expect his daily calls, recognized his voice, and spoke to him by name on the air.
Dana’s mother, Dottie, tirelessly accompanied her son to every trumpet lesson, then rehearsals and performances for the past 50 years. It was Dottie who first noticed that music soothed Dana as a frustrated two year old and Dottie who supported his talent and enabled his dedication to a life in music.
— Submitted by Nancy Perry
Listen to Dana performing Aaron Copland’s Quiet City with Terri Knight and BCCO’s orchestra, Fall 2002, Arlene Sagan conducting.