By Ryan Massad, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – At 14 years old, Shrewsbury resident Dan Hogan strummed a guitar for the first time. He had received the instrument as a gift from his father and he was determined to learn how to play on his own. The more he played, the better he became. After four long years of practice (especially for his parents as listeners), it was time to take his guitar outside and share his talent with the world.
As a freshman at Stonehill College, Hogan began by playing at coffee shops around campus. His sets would be filled with acoustic renditions of fan-favorite cover songs. He made several connections, eventually meeting Lina Macedo, the school's music director. Macedo set Hogan up with several additional gigs around campus, including a slot opening for popular local artists “Barefoot Truth.”
“I don's really care much for writing new music,” Hogan said. “I just love performing live. The pay doesn's matter. I just like making people happy. There's something about the look on a person's face when you play one of their favorite songs. I really enjoy it.”
After graduating, Hogan wanted to spread his musical joy beyond Stonehill, beyond Massachusetts, beyond the country. He moved to the Dominican Republic as part of the Stonehill International Extension Program. He served as director of extracurricular programs, and developed curriculum for the local children. Focuses included music, art, theater and dance. Hogan would walk around with his guitar, constantly playing for the children. He even developed a full band with a group of the kids.
A year later, Hogan returned back home to work with the Alzheimer's Association – specializing in music therapy.
Another program he eventually became involved with is the Rainbow Childcare Development Center, a nonprofit organization which provides schooling and child care in a safe environment for at-risk youths. Hogan has already made a great impact on the organization. He and other members of the Advancement Committee have planned a wine-tasting fundraiser.
The event will take place Thursday, Oct. 16, from 5-8 p.m. at Sweet, 72 Shrewsbury St., Worcester. For a $40 donation, attendees can partake in a tasting of eight different wines, complimentary glasses of wine, dessert samples and a silent auction. Although Sweet opted for no live music at the event, Hogan plans to have his guitar in the trunk just in case.