Local News: Cotner honored for decades of service to Cape Girardeau Municipal Band (10/25/22)

Dan Cotner waves to the crowd Saturday, Oct. 22, in front of a dedication plaque at Capaha Park in front of Cape Girardeau’s Municipal Band Pavilion.

Nathan Gladden

Cape Girardeau Municipal Band supporters gathered Saturday, Oct. 22, at Capaha Park to celebrate dentist and longtime band member Dan Cotner.

The event celebrated Cotner’s work with the community and culminated with the unveiling of a dedication plaque at the band pavilion.

“I appreciate it,” Cotner said about all the people coming to the event.

When thinking about his favorite memories of his 77 years with the municipal band, Cotner said there were too many to recount.

One of Cotner’s daughter’s, Danel Burch, said music was always a part of the house when they grew up.

“We would go to bed often with dad playing the organ, practicing. We would wake up in the morning often with Dad, practicing the organ,” Burch said.

Daughter Danna Cotner said her dad was like the “Energizer Bunny” growing up.

“He never used to sit down,” Danna Cotner said. “He was always on the go.”

Daughter Danise Dean described her father as philanthropic.

“He has helped plan a lot of musical interface for Cape Girardeau,” Dean said.

Dan Cotner said one of the things he learned in his time in the band was not to be too critical.

“Don’t be too critical of errors,” he urged.

He said his favorite place to play music has been in church, Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Cape Girardeau Municipal Band director Neil Casey said “it’s an honor” to recognize Dan Cotner for what he’s contributed to the community.

“He’s an institution that has lasted for generations and decades,” Casey said. “He’s a wonderful man. We have wonderful stories from Dan, with Dan, about Dan — he’s a delight to work with.

Casey said he’s known Dan Cotner since Casey was a “youngster” and recognizes how much a part of Cape Girardeau he is.

“He’s an institution in the trombone section when I was a youngster,” Casey said. “That was 40 years ago. So today we have the music contingent of his life and he’s done. His faith with his church, his family, his country — he’s a veteran. I believe he served as a dentist in the military. His profession, he’s a longtime dentist. And he’s old Cape, he’s a Cape native.

Cotner also has a son, Paul.

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