Remembering Dan Fissell
The Daniel Fissell Music Foundation (DFMF) was created to honor the memory of Daniel J. Fissell, who died on March 10, 2010, as a result of a house fire. Dan was a native of Virginia. He graduated from McLean High School in 1992. In 1997, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from West Virginia University and a Master's degree in Music from George Mason University in 2009.
He joined Fairfax County Public Schools in September 1998, as an orchestra teacher at Holmes Middle School. In 2003, he transitioned to the elementary level. At the time of his death, Dan taught orchestra at Vienna, Marshall Road, Cunningham Park and Stenwood Elementary Schools.
Not only was Dan an accomplished orchestra director in Northern Virginia, but he was a strong advocate for music education worldwide. Dan enjoyed traveling, especially to the Philippines. During his visits to the Philippines, Dan developed close ties to academic universities and organizations; he immersed himself in learning about the country, the people, their cultures and their educational programs. After traveling to the tiny island of Siquijor, and learning about the culture of the healers who lived there, Dan chose to do his graduate thesis on Healing in Siquijor. During his research and focusing on his passion for music education, Dan soon discovered there was a great need for financial support for public school music programs.
In 2005 in conjunction with Silliman University, Dan arranged his first of many pilgrimages to the Philippines to fulfill his goal to support public music programs in that country. Dan organized the Capital Youth Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra included his past and present orchestra students. The purpose of the program was to bring attention to the need for more music programs in schools and to raise money for The Pay-It-Forward Foundation, a local charity in the Philippines.
Dan’s passion for music, his drive to ensure that all children have the opportunity to experience music, and his untiring quest to help in the Philippines, was the catalyst for his family, friends and colleagues to continue his vision. As a result, the Daniel Fissell Music Foundation was founded.