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#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.


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