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Morgan veteran sharing original music a half-century in the making

By Ryan Aston - | Feb 1, 2024

Photo supplied, Daniel Polad

Daniel Polad, who served as a hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War, began recording his original music five years ago.

MORGAN — As the pressures of the world, adulthood and providing for ourselves and our families set in, the dreams of our youth are often reimagined, ignored or forgotten altogether. Such was the case for 77-year-old Daniel Polad Sr., whose original music existed only in his heart and, later, on an old cassette tape, for decades.

Now, the Morgan resident can be heard singing his own songs and a handful of better-known tunes on the album “Then & Now; 1/2 Century Later,” released digitally in 2022.

Polad’s first original songs — which slot comfortably into the easy-listening genre — came into being while he was serving with the Marine Corps as a hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War, a path he hadn’t envisioned himself taking as a young man.

“I was 22 years old and thought I had my life all planned out, and then I got that draft call,” Polad said.

The forced distance between himself and his young family while he was stationed at Camp Pendleton became a catalyst for the creation of his first song, “Little Blonde Girl,” even as he didn’t know how to read music.

“One night while on duty, I began singing a song when, almost magically, some music came to me and all of a sudden I had put words to the music,” Polad told the Standard-Examiner.

Polad, who was in choirs growing up and enjoyed to sing, would serenade himself during lonely nights spent on watch or technician duty. On this particular occasion, he was thinking about his young daughter when the music started to move through him.

“I knew that, when I came home and opened that front door, my life just totally changed. My little girl would just come running to me and hugging me,” he said. “It’s (a song) for every parent that’s had a hard day and, when they come home, it’s a reprieve.”

It’s also the kind of sentiment that’s present in all of Polad’s original works which, at their essence, are about loving, living and learning to cope with the struggles both internal and external that we all face.

After four years of service, Polad returned with a mission to record his songs. To that end, he met with producers who saw potential in his work and thought it a worthy endeavor. In the end, though, the financial commitment was too great. Polad decided to put the songs on the proverbial shelf and settle into family life once more.

That’s not to say he was kicking back, though. Polad went back to school, walked onto the Westminster College football team as a 32-year-old with bad ankles and, ultimately, became a teacher. He would spend 37 years in that profession, teaching and coaching at the junior high and high school levels.

“I may be conceited, but I believe I was the best history teacher in the state of Utah,” Polad declared. “I made teaching fun.”

All the while, he was a husband, a father and even a grandfather and great-grandfather. But his music continued to roll around in his head until, one day, he was finally prompted to do something new with it.

“Five years ago, I woke up and I felt that something or someone had whispered in my ears to get all of my incomplete projects taken care of,” Polad said.

That included recording his songs and, within a couple of weeks, the funds to do so came to him in a manner he could only describe as “mystical.” From there, he was able to record 12 tracks, including new songs dealing with issues such as addiction and child abuse.

It’s Polad’s hope that these songs can be of help to people who are struggling or in peril.

“If I could, maybe in these songs, express love, that would be a dream come true. I don’t care if I make a penny on these,” he said.

Polad’s songs are currently available on Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube. His other project, the book “True Stories of the Great Depression and True Stories of World War II,” is available on Amazon/Audible.


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