Musically talented, senior Daniel Olah’s passion inspired him to play 20 different instruments


Portrait by Natalie Garwood

Abby Williams, Editor in Chief

Everybody has their own niche when it comes to hobbies. Some people are skilled bakers, others are talented artists, and some are great athletes. Some skills, however, are truly extraordinary, such as senior Daniel Olah’s ability to play 20 instruments.

“Dan has played guitar, tuba, trombone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, and percussion just at Utica High,” band director Brett Bays said. “Brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Not many other students have ever done that.”

Olah didn’t realize his passion for music until the end of elementary school.

“I was first introduced to playing instruments in third grade when I started taking violin lessons to be a part of a string group my private school was doing. I was never really a big music person as a kid, mostly because of the private school I went to,” Olah said. “Not really until sixth grade did I realize how much I loved playing instruments. I guess I always had the fire in my heart to play instruments, but it wasn’t until later on that I really fanned the flame.”

Unity and togetherness can be huge motivators for many people, including Olah.

“One of my biggest motivators and inspirations is the world itself,” Olah said. “Music is like a magic that can bring people together despite their differences. With all of the division in the world today, I want to make music that can help bring people together. I want people to listen and enjoy the music I make, no matter their race, gender, sexuality, age, religion, or anything else.”

Olah’s extreme skill and dedication does not go unnoticed by his band director.

“He’s very hardworking, determined, and very talented,” Bays said. “He works very hard to become a multi-instrumentalist and he’s good at all these instruments because he practices a lot.”

Olah’s talents are also recognized by his friends.

“I think that Dan is like a brother to me,” senior Daniel Waterstradt said, “we’ve always been friends. I think he’s great, he knows a lot of stuff. He knows a lot of instruments, he knows how to use them properly, and he could basically pick up any instrument if he really wanted to.”

Olah is also seen as a great role model for other musicians.

“I absolutely see him as a role model and inspiration for other students,” Bays said. “Not only is he a great instrumentalist and a hard worker, he’s also very nice, all the students respect him, and he gets along with everybody. I don’t know anybody who dislikes him. He’s got a very welcoming personality, he’s very polite, very respectful, and easy to work with.”

Olah’s motivation and hard work are skills that are important for anybody.

“I think that more people need to be like Dan. He really goes out of his way to do what he wants in life,” Waterstradt said. “Some people just don’t feel motivated to actually do stuff like that, like some person might be interested in something but they don’t follow through with what they want to try. One thing I’ve learned from Dan is to try new things. That’s something very healthy for anyone.”

Music means different things to each musician. For Olah, his passion for it runs deep.

“Music means a lot of things to me, most of which I can’t really explain without the assistance of music, but overall music means life to me. Without music, I doubt I’d be the man I am today,” Olah said. “Music has been my best friend, my worst enemy, a shoulder to cry on, the person who both punched me to the ground and helped me stand back on my feet. I make music, but music also makes me.”

Olah believes musicians shouldn’t give up on their dreams.

“Don’t give up. It may be really difficult at times, and it is really easy to want to give up, but you just have to keep trying. That goes for everything in life,” Olah said. “Another thing is finding what you love. Music is whatever you want it to be. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing, do what you want to do. It’s your music and no one else’s. Express yourself and never be afraid to do it.”

Like many musicians, Olah finds inspiration for life in music.

“Life sucks. That’s just the way of the world. However, it’s too short to let yourself get caught up in the misery of it all, so I suggest turning to music to help you,” Olah said. “Music is life, and music is love. It’s a long and winding road, but we can all make it through this crazy world, even with all the problems and divisions. All you need is love and a little bit of music, so always look on the bright side of life.”