#UCLove Stories

This Valentine’s Day, love is in the air at the University of Cincinnati and so is the concept of #UCLove.

#UCLove represents the UC community’s love for the university in different forms. It might have started when you met your spouse in French class or your lifelong friend while living in Siddall Hall. It could have been your first visit on campus when you walked up MainStreet in awe of its architecture; or, it could have been during your childhood when your family took you to your first Bearcats basketball game.

To submit your #UCLove story for consideration, fill out the form and it could be on our site. Please include as much detail as possible about yourself, your spouse/partner and your connection to UC.

Join the conversation on social using #UCLove or check out our Facebook album here. Check out our 2016 and 2017 #UCLove Stories.

And be sure to join us for an afternoon of music and memories at Con Amore: From CCM with Love!

Couples & Spouses

Richard B. Nelson (CCM `76) and Beth P. Nelson (CCM `77)

Beth and I met in the spring of 1974 in the music library at CCM. I was checking out Vol. 3 of Alfred Einstein's The Italian Madrigal and Beth was working at the desk. We began talking, and that led to a two and a half year courtship which resulted in our marriage in 1977. We had 38 years together before Beth died suddenly and unexpectedly nearly two years ago. How I miss her! We taught, made music, and traveled the world together. We always held a special place in our hearts for CCM, our alma mater and meeting place.


Tom (Melford) Mann (CCM `68) and Ilse M. Mann (CCM `69

It has been 54 years since our first meeting at CCM. Ilse and I started dating two years later after seeing "Zorba the Greek" at the local art theatre. Our group slowly dwindled with, "Sorry but I just have other plans." By default Ilse and I were the only ones to continue the evening at Mecklenburg’s. I first noticed Ilse's absolute kindness, ability to listen, and her strong, beautiful features. Her hair was often in a bun on the back of her head. The dark brown color and the bright sunlight often caused me to just stare. I was the type described as easily distracted. As time passed we became very close as to our likes and dislikes. Without any doubt Ilse was the most brilliant person I had ever met. Her intellect never seemed to dominate whether talking about early music or the Avant Gard. I now realize how much I loved her and her love for me was genuine. We had a break up (my fault) but we kept gravitating to each other.

After we each finished our Master's Degrees, Ilse was teaching at Mt. Alison University in New Brunswick, Canada, and I was teaching at the University of Wisconsin in Superior. Our telephone bills became close to the national debt. While celebrating St. Patrick's Day in 1971, my good Irish next door neighbor asked me, "You ever going to get married?" I said there was only one woman for me but I was about as frightened of marriage as one would feel meeting a mountain lion in the uncharted wilds of Colorado. He said in a quiet voice, "You should call her, tell her how much you love her, and then ask her to marry you.” So after another drink, I held the phone with something that might be described as a mild tremor, and I asked her to marry me. She said yes! I was now in a state of wonder and fright. The telephone began to ring and friends from all over the country began to call. I can remember it was about 2 a.m. in Wisconsin and 4 a.m. in Toronto where Ilse now lived. So as the morning sun began to turn the sky into a golden wonder of light, I sat on a kitchen chair… I had done it! We would be married in August 1971 with a honeymoon in Paris.

Since 1973 we have lived in Raleigh, North Carolina teaching private piano, violin, and viola lessons to many, many students. We raised three wonderful children and three grand kids, I am a fortunate fellow. Ilse has given form to my life, listened to me in times of pain, and has been my dear wife. Her influence has made our kids bright, remarkable people with a zest for life.

To love and be loved is the sublime in living. My being a student brought from the farm country of North Carolina to that grand Victorian mansion at the corner of Highland and Oak Streets gave to me a glorious education and the beautiful, deep love of my wife.

I write in the early morning, sometimes thoughts wander. I see myself as a young man and memories of CCM encompass.


Marie McManama (CCM `09) and Daniel O’Dea (CCM `08)

My husband and I first met in 2007 while he was a grad student and I was an undergrad both in Bill McGraw’s studio. I was in the middle of my weekly voice lesson when Prof. McGraw and I both heard someone whistling in the hallway. We attempted to proceed despite the distraction. Just then a student popped his head into the studio, not realizing I was in the middle of my lesson. Prof. McGraw asked if we knew each other and introduced us before asking, “Was that you whistling in the hallway? Because it’s really annoying! Could you stop?!” I was left wondering, “Who was that guy?”

A few weeks went by and I went to Panera to study for bruce mcclung’s history final when I was approached by the very same whistler who interrupted my lesson. He asked if I wanted to go see the Rach 3 performed at the CSO that evening. I confessed that it was my favorite of the three (although he argued that the second was far superior) but that I had to study for my final. Daniel pleaded with me, explaining that it was his birthday and I should do it as a birthday present for him. I eventually agreed, although he made no mention of the other person who would be accompanying us to the symphony… She turned out to be my theory tutor… So there I was, the third wheel on what felt like someone else’s date. We ended up having a wonderful time and on the way home I was so embarrassed that I lived in the dorms that I had Daniel drop me off three blocks away. Mortified and worried he would learn my secret he then did not call me for three weeks. I wrote it off and moved on with life until I ran into him outside DVAC after Opera Workshop. He was on his way home to Clifton Colony with a friend and again convinced me to walk home with them. The casual walk turned into dinner and we’ve been together ever since!

We now live in Madison, WI where we both gig regularly around the Midwest and maintain private studios. Daniel got his DMA at UW-Madison and teaches at Lora’s College and I teach middle school choir in the public school district. We were married in June of 2013 and are expecting our first child in April of 2018!


James Bunte (CCM `95) and Betty Douglas (CCM `94)

I met my wife Betty Douglas in CCM Wind Symphony. She sat two rows ahead of me in the flute section and it was love at first sight. I told my saxophone stand partner that I was going to meet that girl...To which he said "You are not going to talk to her, you are a coward!" So after a rehearsal I walked up to Betty and asked her for a flute lesson. After the first lesson, I asked her if she was interested in going down to see the Cincinnati Symphony. 20 years later, we have 2 beautiful kids and we owe it all to CCM!


LeAnne Anklan (Bus '05, '12; CCM '12) & Matthew Anklan (CCM '12, '13)

It was a freezing cold Fall evening when I first met Matt. I was readying my flute and music for our rehearsal in the Bearcat Bands former band room in Armory Fieldhouse when Matt walked in. A CCM trumpet major, Matt had been invited by a mutual friend to join the pep band to which he jestingly replied that he would join if only "to meet chicks." Little did he know he would meet me on the first night. When our friend had to cancel on attending, I realized Matt knew no other band members and thought it would be best if I could introduce myself. I walked up to say hello and we had a brief chat. When I left, a mutual friend Nate leaned over to Matt and said "That's LeAnne. She's really into band." So true.

After the game, I wanted to talk more, but I was running late for a study session. I decided to put away my flute and folder and put on my jacket oh so slowly, and I timed it just right for the two of us to "accidentally" walk out the door together. We struck up a conversation in the freezing cold weather standing on the band room steps. About 2 hours later, Matt finally asked if I wanted to go get coffee. It was only then that I realized I was exceedingly late for the study session so I regretfully declined, but we exchanged contact information and had our first official date in the coming week.

After marrying in 2008, Matt and I were able to go back to school together at UC in 2010-2012. Matt had left CCM to play trumpet for Carnival Cruise Lines before making his way back to finish his undergraduate degree. In 2012, Matt and I were able to walk together at UC graduation to receive our degrees, his Bachelor from CCM and my two Masters from CCM and the College of Business. We even had a photo session around campus after the ceremony. And yes, we went back to the steps where it all began.

I am involved in several alumni groups on campus including serving as president of the UC Band Alumni Association. Matt has now since received his Masters from CCM and has served on the Bearcat Bands staff. You can see us marching together each fall at Homecoming and playing together when possible with the UC Community Band in the summer. We truly are Bearcats for life!


Karen Faaborg (Law `84) & Robert Faaborg

I was hired in 1980 as a member of the faculty in the Arts Administration Program at CCM with additional responsibility for establishing the CCM box office and running the front and back of house operations. During the early years of my time at CCM I was also a student in the UC College of Law.

In 1983 one of the students I had hired to run the box office called to tell me he was going to be late and asked if I could open for him and he would get there as soon as he could. Since it was a quiet weekday afternoon I took a casebook for an upcoming law class with me. I was actually making headway on understanding a very complicated case while making a couple of quick ticket sales to people who came to the window. I was, that is, until this guy showed up at the window and didn’t seem to have any idea what concert or play he wanted tickets to. He started pummeling me with questions such as what are all those ticket for, what group is that, what is the cost, and do you have student or faculty rates?

He seemed nice enough, but he hadn’t actually bought any tickets when he asked yet another question about the book open on the counter, and said that looks like a law book. When I said it was, he said, “Oh, I may have taught one of your professors.” I responded that he looked too young to have taught one of my professors, to which he responded, “I’m forty-two.” By this time I was kind of intrigued by this guy, so I blurted out that I was forty-two too. He immediately said, “Well, then, let’s have lunch.” I learned that Bob, a philosophy professor, had known one of my professors, Glen Weissenberger, when he was an undergraduate at UC in the late 60’s before going on to Harvard Law, and Bob was just starting his teaching career. I became even more intrigued.

A few days later, we met for lunch at the Faculty Club where I learned that Bob had been recovering from a divorce and was looking for CCM events to begin dating when he came over to look for tickets. That lunch was the start of a whole new chapter in each of our lives. Within two months he proposed marriage and I happily accepted. These 35 years have been the best of my life, and I often think how lucky I am that the kid who was supposed to open the box office that day was running late


Gary Dean (CECH `65) & Mary Jane Dean (CCM `65)

While a student at UC/CCM my junior year, I was in charge of working with new transfer students who would live on campus. Mary Jane Stephenson was transferring from Ohio Northern University and the moment I saw her I knew she was "the one". I told my friend, who eventually was our best man, "Mike, I am going to marry that young lady." To me she looked like the Cinderella of my dreams.

52 ½ years later we are still married, have two grown children, and play music together professionally and for fun.

As we look back at CCM, we both realize that we got a terrific education, learned to love music, and more than anything, found each other.


Billy Tighe (CCM `07) & Kristine Reese (CCM `05)

Kristine and I met in the summer of 2003. I was an incoming freshmen and she was a rising junior in the CCM musical theater department. The musical theater department has a “buddy program” for incoming freshmen. Each year the upperclassmen select a new student and get to know them over the summer. The goal is to help them with any questions they may have about the program, the city or college life in general so that they come to school feeling prepared and with a “buddy.” Well Kristine just so happened to be my best friend Colt Prattes’ buddy. We were best friends, gone to high school together and were very excited to be heading to CCM in the fall. I heard a lot about Kristine over the course of the summer and she and Colt seemed to be becoming fast friends.

That summer Colt and I were working as camp counselors at a musical theater camp in our home town and just so happened to also be working with another of Kristine’s friends from CCM. She decided on a whim to come and visit her friend from CCM and have the opportunity to meet her “buddy” over the summer before the school year began. She was only in town for a few days, but it became very clear that we were going to more than “buddies.” I gathered the nerve to ask for her number before she departed from her trip and we spent the rest of the summer talking every day. I arrived at school in the fall with my best friend by my side and my future wife there to welcome us. We started officially dating in October of my freshman year and we’ve been together ever since. As of this writing we’ve been married seven years and are currently playing a married couple in the FINDING NEVERLAND national tour. See more of our love story here. (Photo credit Jeremy Daniel)


Dorothy Stolzenbach Payne (1904-1992) & Karl Payne (1903-1967), College of Music

Although I never attended UC, my parents met as students at the College of Music (now part of CCM) in the 1920s, and that experience had a powerful impact on their lives and careers. My mother, Dorothy Stolzenbach, grew up in Lima, Ohio. In high school she played solos and accompanied many others, so her teacher encouraged her to audition at the College of Music. She played for then Director Adolphe Hahn, and was granted a full scholarship, so in 1922 she enrolled as a student of Albino Gorno, the distinguished Italian pianist. She was also assigned to accompany Karl Payne, a violin student of Adolphe Hahn from Newport, KY, and that was the beginning of their romance. In her senior year she became assistant pianist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (under Fritz Reiner) and she continued to play with the orchestra until about 1950. She learned a great deal from her lessons with Dr. Gorno, who encouraged ensemble playing and the study of modern music. He even arranged many works for 2 pianos or 2-piano 8-hand versions for his students to sight read together, and required them to analyze the harmonic structure. At the college she also heard recitals by major artists of the day (e.g. Rachmaninoff, Kreisler, and many others) and attended concerts and operas at Music Hall, which was next door to the original College of Music. Upon graduating in 1926, she was appointed to the junior faculty of the College. Since Dr. Gorno did not teach children, he often assigned them to her, so she had some very gifted pupils, several of whom were chosen to perform as soloist with the CSO.

In 1928, after receiving a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction from the College, she married Karl Payne. (Karl had by then received diplomas in Violin Performance and Violin Teaching from the College and would earn a degree in Public School Music from the Conservatory in 1933.) Soon after their marriage he joined the WLW radio orchestra, which in those days paid higher salaries than the symphony orchestra. In 1929 Mother traveled to Chicago for master classes with Percy Grainger, who became a lifelong friend and mentor. She studied with him many summers, and they performed together in recitals at the College and elsewhere in Cincinnati. In 1932 she earned a Master’s Degree from the Conservatory of Music and became an accomplished organist, serving for many years at the Mt. Auburn Baptist Church and later substituting in other churches. In1932 she was chosen from members of the faculty to perform Liszt’s Spanish Rhapsody with the Cincinnati Symphony under its new director, Eugene Goossens.

Eventually she decided to quit her college position and open her own studio above the Baldwin Piano Store downtown. There she gave lessons and held performance classes for her students in preparation for upcoming performances. Students enjoyed these and found them helpful, so in 1935 she decided to form a club so that her students – professional and amateur alike – could meet monthly and share their music. It was named the Keyboard Club, and after 82 years it is still going strong!

Soon after her first child was born, she and Karl purchased a home in Clifton and began teaching in the home. When their third child was on the way, they moved to a larger home nearby. For many years she taught students of all ages and levels (including group lessons for beginning students), organized piano quartets for adult students for weekly sight reading practice, held musicianship classes and student recitals, and hosted regular luncheon meetings for teachers to explore ideas for teaching. She was actively involved in many clubs, especially the Keyboard Club, whose activities included a 2-week piano camp in Michigan in 1959 and a musical tour of Europe in 1962. The club also provided scholarships to low-income students and enabled talented high school students to attend summer piano camps. She performed regularly, often in chamber music with members of the CSO. She continued to study in master classes by major pianists, and she invited Percy Grainger to Cincinnati several times for master classes and joint recitals with him. The Keyboard Club also sponsored several recitals and master classes by Vronsky and Babin, with whom she had become close friends.

Her husband Karl continued his job at WLW, also teaching violin and beginning piano students in his upstairs studio in our house, until the radio orchestra ended in the early 1950s. He joined the CSO in 1955, playing in symphony concerts, opera at the zoo, and the Brevard (NC) Summer Festival Orchestra until a few months before his death in 1967.

In 1967 Dorothy Payne was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati, and in 1979 she was named an Enquirer “Woman of the Year.” She died in December 1992, and her archives are now housed in the U. C. Library. A piano scholarship to the College-Conservatory in her name has been created by the Keyboard Club through the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, with the first recipient to be selected in 2018.

All three Payne children majored in piano and became professional musicians and teachers, Her youngest daughter, Rebecca Shockley is preparing a revised version of her mother’s memoirs entitled Is There a Piano in the House?, first published by the Keyboard Club in 1985. Her article, “Dorothy Stolzenbach Payne: Remembering a legendary Cincinnati piano teacher”, appeared in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Clavier Companion. A link to that article appears below: https://www.claviercompanion.com/current-issue/dorothypayne (create a free account to read the full article).

Story submitted by daughter Rebecca Shockley.


Bob Hockenberger (CCM `68) & Carol Alexander (CCM `64)

It all started in the Fall of 1961 when as a Freshman I was being hazed wearing a CCM beanie and washing the Pan Fountain with a toothbrush. I look across campus (old CCM at Highland Ave. and Oak St.) and see this tall brown hair beauty and say to myself, "Who is THAT?!” I asked several people and found out it was Carol Alexander. Marie Speziale was a great help in answering my questions. This Carol person was dating another guy so I was very disappointed. However I didn't give up. I worked in the cafeteria second semester and at the beverage station one day she approached and asked for an ice-coffee. Wow maybe she just wanted to say hello. It was understood that if ladies went to the neighborhood establishment (The Avalon Gardens) they were to be escorted back to the dorm. In April of 1962 after a Saturday night CSO concert, Carol and Marie were getting ready to leave and asked if someone could walk them back to the dorm. My chance had finally arrived. I yelled, "Bob Detricht and I will walk you back!” Arriving at the dorm I was at a loss for words. I had been waiting all year to say something to this beauty and I froze. Finally I spoke…"Would you like to have dinner tomorrow night? Maybe Frisch’s on Reading Road?" YES was the answer. I met her under the clock at 5:30 p.m. and the rest is history.

We dated until 1966 when on St. Valentine's Day we got engaged and married on July 2, 1966. We had two children Amy and Doug, three grandchildren Aaron, Jacob and Gabby. Many happy years and memories of spending summers at our summer place in northern MI. Carol loved to fish and take boat rides. It was wonderful. Unfortunately on Jan. 3 2006 Carol was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. She was a very strong person that year during treatment but the cancer won and she died on Jan. 10th 2007. We were married 40 wonderful and happy years. Carol taught privately flute and piano to many dedicated students. She was a loving Mom and Grandma. And the best wife and soul-mate a person could ever have. I miss you sweetie, very much.

Yours always.

Love, Bobby


Susan Hughes (CCM `78) & Tom Hughes (CCM `77)

It was truly destiny!

Our journey to meet each other included a field trip to see Brigadoon, attending a college in another state, and a chance encounter with a former professor. All of these paved the way to a marriage while attending CCM and over 40 years together.

Susan had been fairly set on attending another state school in Ohio. But after a field trip with her High School Choir to see a CCM performance of Brigadoon, she was so impressed that she knew immediately CCM was the school for her. Building on a life-long desire to teach music, and with a strong background in voice, piano, and cello, Susan’s acceptance into CCM’s Music Education program with a Voice concentration was a natural.

After leaving his previous college and taking various classes at UC, Tom happened to meet a former professor of his who taught voice in the prep department at CCM. After a few months of training, and realizing that music was his passion, Tom auditioned and was accepted into CCM in Music Education, also with a concentration in Voice.

Finally, with both of us at CCM, the magic was in place. Susan was a freshman and Tom was a (much older) transfer student also taking freshman courses. As we were in most of the same classes, we were hard-pressed to miss each other and found ourselves catching a look during Chamber Singers, or sitting near one another in Dr. Crabtree’s Music History lecture.

It wasn’t until a couple weeks into the quarter that we formally met in the hall waiting for a class to begin. The first music theory quiz had just been returned, and with much consternation, the grade that Tom earned was way lower than Susan’s. It was then Tom realized that if he was going to be successful at CCM, he would have to get to know this very cute freshman. Eventually the “The Nearness of You” evolved into “Our Love is Here to Stay”. We became engaged on Valentine’s Day just four months after we met, and were married the following year while attending CCM.


Paul Hillner (CCM `79) & Debbier Hillner

I was a graduate student in the CCM Masters Program for Wind Conducting when I met Debbie in December of 1976. She was a secretary in the CCM Prep Dept. at that time. I was teaching trumpet and conducting the Prep Dept. Brass Choir. We were married in September of 1978. We have 3 birth children - Sara, 36, Brian, 34, Lauren, 26, and 2 adopted children, Preston, 13 and Jacob, 10. Sara graduated from UC/CCM in Electronic Media, Brian graduated from UC/DAAP in Industrial Design, and Lauren graduated from UC/DAAP in Interior Design. Sara is working as a TV Editor in Hollywood, Brian is creating software packages to assist designers in automotive design and Lauren is working at FRCH as an Interior Designer in downtown Cincinnati. Preston and Jacob are attending North College Hill Middle School in grades 7 and 5 respectively.


Kingkini Arend (DAAP `11) & John Arend (DAAP`10)

John and I first introduced in May 2008 at the SAID GA orientation party at Ellen’s House. I was in the MS Arch program and he had just transitioned to the M.Arch program after finishing the B.S.Arch. I thought John was a faculty member— His beard made him look much older! I thought he was standoffish— especially when I asked him to pass some food and he ignored me (Turns out he was just really preoccupied with final reviews the next day and very nervous and didn’t even hear me). We shared only one shift together at the SAID office and I got to know him a little as a funny, goofy, but a really nice and responsible guy. And then he asked me to a movie and I wasn’t sure if he was asking me on a date. Intrigued as I was, I had a lot of things going on that summer and so I asked for a rain check, again, and again, and again. Taking this as a sign of disinterest he stopped asking and was about to leave for Boston for his co-op when I worked up the courage and asked him out...The rest, as they say, is history. Married for 7 years and with a 3-year-old, I have found my soulmate all thanks to DAAP playing Cupid!


Mark Krumme (CCM `72) & Linda Calandrino (CCM `72)

In the fall of 1968, Linda and I were cast in the UC Theatre department’s production of Annie Get Your Gun starring Pam Meyers. It was directed by Paul Rutledge and performed in Wilson Auditorium. We were both freshmen at CCM, she in ballet and I in Musical Theatre. Linda and I had exchanged pleasantries on occasion but that was about it until closing night and the cast party. I had asked another dancer to go with me to the cast party but discovered, after a thorough search of the dressing rooms, that she was nowhere to be found. Linda was there in the dancers’ dressing room standing in front of a makeup mirror looking fantastic in a brown and black striped “hot pants” suit, heels, and her show makeup that accentuated her gigantic brown eyes. This entire vision was supported by two gorgeous legs. Overall, it was an irresistible first impression for an 18-year-old boy from Cincinnati

I asked if she had seen my date and she said, in this wonderful Brooklyn accent, “Mary Lee got a ride to the party with Judy.” I was stood up!

“Well, do you need a ride to the party? I asked. “I think we are the only 2 people left in the theatre. You could ride with me”. I wasn’t sure if this was true but I didn’t want her riding with anyone else. Linda agreed and off to the party we went.

There, we danced and talked and I learned her last name – Calandrino. She was one of the ballet girls who came from New York with scholarships to the dance department. My assumption was that all New York girls were “fast” and “worldly”. Linda corrected that misconception in short order.

We stayed out all night that first night (November 16th 1968) because Linda was well beyond her curfew at Daniels Hall. I dropped her off at 6:00am. To assure her of my honorable intentions, I promised I would return to take her to Sunday mass at St. George’s. I can’t remember where they came from, but I came to pick her up with flowers in hand.

Despite her insistence that she could not get serious because of her dancing, I wore her down and we dated exclusively throughout our four years at CCM. We performed in all the major musicals which allowed us to be together at rehearsals and for many dinners before in Siddal Cafeteria. In my junior year, I was offered a scenic design fellowship working with Paul Shortt on the sets and props for CCM’s productions. This gave us the opportunity to spend even more time together in the evenings after work. We were pretty much inseparable and on our Christmas break in 1971, I proposed to Linda in Brooklyn. We married a year later in December of 1972.

This past November we celebrated our 49th year together. Linda has had a successful career as a dancer, teacher and dance studio owner, while my performance and scenic design experience have given me a fun and rewarding career as a designer and producer of corporate events and videos.

Writing our love story makes me wonder. Would we have fallen in love if we had met somewhere else? Maybe. But how would we have discovered our passion for music, art, theatre and dance? At CCM you are surrounded by artists who live for the moment that they can surrender to the romance of a La Boheme or a Romeo and Juliet. I’m not sure if that makes sense. But, in 1968, for a ballerina from Brooklyn and a singing actor from Cincinnati, CCM was the perfect place to fall in love.


Kimberly Daniel de Acha (CCM `70) & Rafael de Acha (CCM `70)

We met in CCM’s opera workshop in January 1967. I had heard about a young Cuban bass-baritone who had transferred from Juilliard to study with Italo Tajo, the new head of CCM’s developing opera program. Maestro’s first production was Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Rehearsals began days after Rafael’s arrival. He was cast as Figaro, and I was one of three sopranos cast in the role of the Countess.

Rafael teased me about my blonde hair, and I teased him about his accent. We were buddies. During the summer of ’67, I was performing in a summer stock production of Little Mary Sunshine and offered him tickets to bring date. He attended with a mutual friend. The next day I ran into him on campus and he invited me to lunch, and soon after he asked me out. With my crazy schedule, I couldn’t go, but at the end of the summer season, I invited him to our cast party.

From that evening on, we were a couple. Even though Rafael was an urbanite from Havana, Cuba, and I had grown up on a farm in Ohio, our families were very similar, and we had so much in common. We both knew we’d found our soulmates.

We eloped the following June, got back to school in time to share a club sandwich, perform in a masterclass, and open in The Fantasticks that night on the Showboat Majestic—CCM’s summer musical theatre program at that time. We were graduated in l970, went to graduate school together, and began careers that have spanned five decades—first in New York, then in Coral Gables, Florida, and now back in Cincinnati, the city we chose for retirement.

We have been blessed all our lives to have enjoyed careers in the arts—being paid to do what we love, meeting and working with amazing people, and working in many places in the world. With great support from our parents, we were also encouraged by teachers and mentors, whose training and guidance made all the difference.

In a few months we will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Now our focus is to help insure that the next generations of young artists have the same opportunities we enjoyed. We have devoted a portion of our lives to teaching. When one has received great training there is a responsibility to pass it on, and fulfilling that promise has been one of our greatest joys. And, five years ago we founded Music for All Seasons at Historic Peterloon, showcasing area talent, and donating all proceeds to C-CM for scholarships.

We have come full circle, and it all began at CCM, for which we are forever grateful.


Bill Harvey (CCM `71) & Jo Ann Harvey (CCM `71)

Few of us would state that the reason we chose to attend the University of Cincinnati and the College-Conservatory of Music was so that we could meet our life partner. But for many of us, over 27,000 it appears, that is exactly what happened.

Little did Jo Ann Opsatnik from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania know that when she was assigned as the assistant to Bill Harvey from Cincinnati, Ohio in the UC Marching band that they would date, fall in love, get married, have two children and five grandchildren. But it did, and we will be forever grateful for the fate that brought us together.

As CCM celebrates 150 years this year, Jo Ann and I will be celebrating our 46th Anniversary. Thank you CCM, UC and especially Dr. Hornyak, who penciled us into that same marching rank together so many years ago.


Tim Braun (CCM `82) & Cheryl Faul Braun (CCM `82)

While a CCM student working on an MM in Piano Accompanying ('82), I met Tim Braun (UC Environmental Health) in the Probasco Street apartment building in which we both lived. A first date of coffee and chocolate cheesecake at Zino's began a 2 year romance while UC students. We talked marriage, finished our degree programs, then life and careers took us to different states. No cell phones or emails back in those days! Expensive phone calls became less and less, and snail mail letters fewer. We married others, raised families and built careers 1000 miles apart. However neither of us forgot about the lovely relationship we formed in the early 1980s. In 2012, as a single mother of two young adult sons, a lucky reconnection with Tim on Facebook found him single. Our email correspondence began, followed by weeks of phone calls and finally an "in person" visit in October 2012. A little over a year of flights back and forth from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania to Wisconsin led to a December 14, 2013 wedding. (See photo) It took 30 years for our UC romance to turn to marriage! (We returned to Cincinnati in May 2017 for the first time together since 1982. Of course, Skyline Chili and Graeter's Ice Cream on Ludlow were mandatory stops.


Scott Dannemiller (CECH`14, A&S '14) & Jessica Dannemiller(CCM `14)

Scott and I met in Professor Frank Davis’ English 289 during the winter quarter of our sophomore year. Scott was the last person to arrive for class, so he took the only available seat, which happened to be next to me. I instantly thought he was very attractive, and over the course of the quarter, I developed quite the crush on him, but I was too shy to ever tell him. The quarter ended and we both went our separate ways. We would occasionally run into each other on campus, not-so-subtlety flirt for a while, and then head off to our respective classes. It wasn’t until the middle of our senior year that we actually went on our first date. We met up for milkshakes on Calhoun Street, and ended up talking for about five hours. We became “official” not too long after. Fast forward five years, and we are happy married (our wedding was this past May)!


Keith Morris(CCM`92) & Jennifer Morris(CCM `92)

I arrived in Cincinnati a little over a month before the Reds played game 1 of the 1990 World Series. I had just started my Master's studies in music education; had always been a baseball fan growing up in South Carolina; and was determined to host a World Series watch party in my tiny apartment on Fairview Avenue

Invites were offered to pretty much all of my new friends at CCM- and while I had plenty of snacks and beverages ready, only a tiny handful of people showed. It was an amazing game - the Reds crushed the A's 7-0.

One of the people who did attend was Jennifer Shidemantle - a junior music education major from Butler, PA. She'd been nice enough to bring me a donut during Dr. Liz Wing's welcome breakfast for the incoming music education graduate students on my first day at CCM, just a few weeks earlier. I certainly noticed her always friendly smile in the following weeks, and was thrilled she'd decided to attend my watch party.

After the Reds' game 1 victory, I awkwardly mumbled my way through an attempt to invite her to come back for game 2. Jennifer mercifully bailed me out by offering to "come back over for the next game too."

Our first real date was watching the 50th anniversary re-release of Disney's Fantasia about a week later. I proposed at the top of the Mt. Adams steps a little over 2 years later, and we'll celebrate our 24th year of marriage in July.

We've lived in Hudson, Ohio for the past 20 years. Jennifer teaches music, choir and theater at Seton Catholic School and I travel extensively as vice-president of a Sonoma winery. We have two sons, Mitchell (20) and Matthew (17) who are probably a little embarrassed that their dad just shared this entire sappy but all too true love story about their mom.

Mitchell is a junior neuroscience major and trombone minor at the University of Mount Union. Matthew sings in the concert and chamber choirs at Hudson High School - and is being recruited to play baseball in college - and it all happened because of the Reds and a pretty tasty little donut delivered with a smile on my first day at CCM.


Robert “Nick” Bennett (CCM`59) & Nancy Bennett(CCM `60)

In 1957 two CCM students met for the first time at the old Shillito Mansion Campus at Highland Avenue and Oak Street. Robert "Nick" Bennett from Tifton, Georgia and Nancy Thomas from McComb, Ohio.

Their first date was playing tennis, with Nick being the teacher, giving Nancy her first tennis lesson. The Gold Room was one of their favorite meeting places to spend time together. Special dates included attending the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Concerts at the Cincinnati Music Hall on Saturday evenings.

Both students were Voice Majors, Nancy's teacher was Fenton "Pappy" Pugh and Nick's was Robert Powell.

In addition to their music classes they both sang in area church choirs and had part time jobs off campus. Some other performance highlights were singing in the May Festival Chorus with The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Josef Krips in 1958 and yearly Christmas Concerts at the Hall of Mirrors directed by John Loessi and Mr. Beckett. Nick performed the tenor lead in "Cavalleria Rusticana" in the school performance in 1957 and Nancy was in the performance of "Archy and Mehitibel" in l959. Senior Recitals were performed by Nick in l959 and Nancy's being in l960.

After graduating with Bachelor of Music Degrees in 1959 and 1960 they were married at the Clifton United Methodist Church where they were singing in the choir with Charlotte Shockley, Director.

In the fall of 1960 they continued musical training in Boston, Massachusetts. Nick sang with the Boston Opera Group conducted by Sarah Caldwell, touring major cities singing leading tenor roles in "La Boheme" and "Suzanna." They sang in the Trinity Episcopal Church Choir located in Copley Square, downtown Boston.

From Boston they sailed on the SS United States to live in Flensburg, West Germany. There Nick had a contract to sing leading tenor roles in "Falstaff," "Tales of Hoffman," "Il Travatore," "La Boheme," "Carmen" and "Aida." It was quite an exciting experience for them to be living in that country, on the German economy and speaking German daily. All the operas were performed in the German language.

For the 1965-66 season after two years in Germany, Nick landed a contract with the Metropolitan Opera National Touring Company managed by Michael Manuel and Rise Stevens, singing the leading tenor roles in "Madame Butterfly" and "Carmen."

During the tour in 1966 a new direction came for the couple when they were challenged to dedicate their lives to fill time Christian Service. Nick was called to serve as a Minister of Music in Southern Baptist Churches where he has served in Georgia, Tennessee and Florida for these past 52 years. In addition to their church music ministry, the couple has recorded LP albums, cassette tapes and C.D.'s of hymns and gospel songs. Some of their travels have included trips to Singapore, Israel, Brazil and the Panama Canal Zone.

They have been blessed with three children, an Administrator, Engineer and a PE Teacher, and seven grandchildren, among whom the musical talent is continuing with a professional ballerina and a professional guitarist.

It has been a wonderful life together (celebrating 58 years in 2018) and they will always remember and appreciate their days at The College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio, and are so thankful for the good musical training they received there.


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