The Iowa Veterans Home will be having its 11th Annual Don Laughlin Music Festival at 10 a.m. June 15 in the Malloy LRC. It will be showcasing the talent of 20 residents and 14 staff members as they perform a variety of songs, play a variety of musical instruments and liven up the crowd with two great bands one made up of staff members called "Staff Infection" and one made up of residents and staff called "Friends of the Earth."
Laughlin, a Korean War veteran, lived at IVH for many years. Eleven years ago, he coordinated a committee of staff and residents to provide one Saturday a year of music all day long-with as many styles of music as they could.
He was a professional musician, originally from the Des Moines area who traveled and sang in many towns across the country. Laughlin especially enjoyed performing in Las Vegas. He also lived in South Dakota for a time and composed an album of songs about the history of Deadwood called "Ballads of Deadwood, South Dakota." He continued performing and writing music over the years. About four years ago he wrote a song called "Song of Inspiration" and has since received copyrights for the song.
Laughlin has also been inducted into the Midwestern Country Music Hall of Fame. He felt it was important for people to realize how much music can impact their lives in so many ways and that's why he instigated the tradition of this festival at IVH.
The recreation department took this idea and extended it throughout the calendar year by bringing in various music groups and performers almost every weekend, so over the last few years IVH has been using the festival to only showcase its own talented staff and residents who thoroughly enjoy having the stage all to themselves.
Laughlin died in March 2010, when he was only 76 years old, and since that time, IVH continues to dedicate this annual program to his memory. Staff and residents especially look forward to this year's program because Don's family will be attending as well as performing.