World renowned music composer and orchestra conductor Ian McFarland arrived in Oakdale from New York City, in May of 1979. Three months earlier, Ian's former wife, and previous principal ballet dancer for the Metropolitan Ballet, Dana, had arrived in Oakdale specifically to escape her husband. Dana had given up dancing to marry Ian and after several separations Dana had come to the conclusion that her marriage was over. Dana was a friend of Penny Hughes Cunningham, who suggested that Dana look up her younger brother, Dr. Bob Hughes. Bob and Dana started developing deep romantic feelings for each other.
However, Ian had no intention of losing Dana and went to Oakdale to persuade her to come back to him. He told Dana he couldn't write his rock opera unless she was by his side. However, Dana had given up her own career for Ian, and the more successful he became, the less she saw of him. She had no intention of wasting any more of her life. Ian was not one to give up, though, and Dana had to get attorney Grant Colman to issue a restraining order.
Finally, in September 1979, Ian agreed to leave Oakdale after he fulfilled his obligation to conduct a benefit concert. In the middle of the concert, Ian collapsed with severe chest pain. It was his heart, and although he recovered, Ian remained despondent. His spirits lifted when he was asked to compose the score for a new ballet, and the choreographer wanted Dana in the lead. Bob and Dana had already announced to the Hughes family that they would marry on Valentine's Day 1980, so Dana said no to the ballet without mentioning anything to Bob. Once Bob found out (from Ian of course), he selflessly urged her to do it, because he understood how much she loved to dance. He had learned from his failed marriages that it was futile and unfair to try to restrain a woman from her career.
In November, Dana graciously and gently bid goodbye to both Bob and Ian and returned New York. Dana was certain she was breaking Ian's heart, but Ian had moved on to a new woman, Dee Stewart (a family friend of Bob's.) Ian's doctor, John Dixon, also began to have designs on the beautiful young Dee. Finally, Dee accompanied Ian to Rome, where he was to conduct a major concert and where they planned to consummate their love. This was John's golden moment to play Svengali to Dee by telling her that Ian was not ready for a late-night schedule because of his fragile heart condition. Ironically, John's attempt to separate the lovers proved medically correct. On Valentine’s Day, after the successful concert, Ian died of a heart attack while making love (right before climax) to Dee. Sadly, as this was Dee’s first sexual experience, it left her traumatized and vulnerable to John’s advances.